Improvement is the path to perfection.
"Perfection" is such a nebulous term. There's no real "perfect". There's only change in the universe. Buddhist have discussed for centuries the principle that the only thing one can count on is change. The atoms around us are constantly moving, changing, popping in and out of existence ("virtual particles"). The relationships in our lives are constantly changing. Our bodies are constantly changing. Our personalities are constantly changing. Our pattern recognition used to change our response to the external circumstances in our lives are constantly changing as we learn more and acquire more memories.
In my post about Adaptation, I discussed the importance of frequency in order to tap into the fact that life naturally adapts, in order to direct that change towards specific goals. In my post about Mind Over Matter, I discussed how using choices can morph the external environment into your specific desires. In my post about Deconstructing Emotions, I discussed how excitement is simply happiness with the direction of your choices.
To get from where you are now "Point A" to where you want to go "Point Z", you must direct the change towards Point Z If you imagine the perspective of driving a car, you have a vision of the future you wish to achieve, and there are several factors to getting you to that location on the map (really the physical location in the field of choice) through your choices.
Improvement: Choosing to direct the change in the direction you want.
Frequency: The percentage of time you spend being intentional about your choices.
Hard Work: The speed with which the change you want occurs.
Goals: The end vision you wish to achieve.
What about the direction though? The GPS? You have the goal in mind. You're ready to work hard, and ready to choose to spend your time improving and tapping into that change to achieve that goal. But sometimes the direction of choice is not necessarily obvious.
You may think that having a specific goal in mind is sufficient. It is true that the more clearly you define your vision for your goal, the more your subconscious will use that to subtly guide your choices towards that vision (the closest I can ever come to believing that book The Secret). But you can help your subconscious by thinking in terms of what I call the Bisection Method.
Take the vision of a goal (Point Z). Take where you are now (Point A). Cut it in half. What would halfway between A and Z look like? Define a clear vision for Point M.
Do it again. Define a clear vision for Point G. Keep doing it again until your immediate decisions, Point B, become clear.
Here's how this "Bisection Method" can be applied to various aspects of life. Yes, some of these may be obvious "duh" moments of just moving towards goals, but stick with me; you may be surprised how effective it can be.
You have a goal to be able to run 5 miles. You can barely muster running 1 mile. Before you do that, you'll have to be able to run 3 miles with ease. Too hard right now. Before that, you'll have to be able to run 2 miles with ease. More reasonable. Before that, you'll have to be able to run 1.5 miles with ease. So for the next month, you build up to running 1.5 miles with ease. Reapply. You then use the following month to build up to running 2 miles with ease. Rinse and repeat.
You're restlessly lying in bed going over the day's events and tomorrow's to-do's. Imagine what it would look like to be peacefully dreaming. You're so far from that, it's laughable. What would halfway look like? You'd probably be slowly drifting to sleep. Too far away. What would halfway to that look like? You'd probably be thinking less and less about whatever happened in your day. Now we're getting somewhere. What would halfway to that look like? At some point, you'd probably make a conscious choice that tomorrow's activities can wait until tomorrow. Now you have a clear choice in the direction you want.
You're devastated that your boyfriend broke up with you. You're a wreck, and can't focus on work. What would the goal look like? Well, in 5 years, you'd probably be laughing with friends and looking back on that one time 5 years back when you were "going through a rough patch". Okay, too far away. Use the bisection method. What would halfway to that look like? You'd probably be having a great social life but with a few old thoughts of your ex floating around in your mind. Too far. What would halfway to that look like? You'd probably be picking up the pieces of your life, and looking forward to some personal time, or time with friends. Getting closer. What would halfway to that look like? You'd probably be embracing your newly embraced freedom. What would halfway to that look like? You'd might decide you're better off in some way without him. I don't know how you personally deal with things like breakups because we're all unique, but you can use the bisection method to figure it out for yourself.
Let's say you're an architect. You want to come up with a killer blueprint design for a new project. You have the vision of it working out beautifully and being praised by your boss. Maybe you have some self-doubt, and are getting overwhelmed by how far off that is, or how unreasonable it appears. What's halfway to that? You'd probably have some struggles along the way but found a beautiful design you are pleased with. Maybe still too far. What's halfway to that?
You get the point. I can keep giving examples, such as:
- Composing music
- Business development
- Social anxiety
- Software development
- Graduating College
Defining clear visions of the "halfway" points is essentially you helping out your subconscious to more efficiently make choices which lead you to your goal. And those halfway points are not necessarily the time it takes; rather, what would have to be in place for the goal to be realized. Notice how in the "Emotions" example, I didn't bisect the "5 years" part of the goal, but rather the "laughing with friends" part. The time it takes will depend on hard work, frequency, and just time naturally flowing. This method is simply used to help guide the direction of the choices.
Improvement is the path to perfection, and the bisection method is what I like to use to decide how to improve.