“I don’t want to improve myself”: Living from natural feelings in the moment

I was hearing about a guy who just completely rejects the whole idea of self-improvement, self-development.
To him this is taking away from being natural.
It’s an unnatural way of being, a way to try to artificially change who we are.
And to him, it’s better to be natural and guide our behaviour- instead of guiding our behaviour from these ideas up top, where we sort of declare “This is how I should be”, instead allow our behaviour to rise up from within, come from our natural feelings.
And I heard about another guy who was against the idea of habits.
He did not like the idea of setting habits and routines for himself, because he said that this is like being a robot.
He would rather do things from his own will, from his own choice, and not from an automatic procedure to follow.
So to him, the idea of going through a morning routine is like a day in the life of a robot, living like a machine, executing your instructions one by one, rather than being a conscious being who is actually alive.
Now, I think there’s a lot of value in these perspectives.
Now, I know I would not be able to live entirely in this way, because I have in the past lived according to simply doing whatever I felt like, and it really is difficult for me to then not simply play video games and smoke and just enjoy myself.
And doing what comes naturally is not a complete program for my life, because naturally I don’t just spontaneously generate goals and direction and a program for my life.
But, you know, when I put it that way, you know, maybe that’s just my problem.
You know, maybe it is possible to be completely natural, and to do all the things that the self-improvement people talk about, about living with purpose and direction, and, you know, working hard towards goals, and all that.
Maybe it is possible to do all that naturally.
And in fact, maybe that is an ideal state to be in, the state where the things that are good for us, the things that we decide are good, and that we want, are so built in to our nature, so baked in and embedded and become part of us, that we actually naturally want to do them.
without needing this feeling of oh, what I should do.
Without having this kind of from-the-top direction saying “No, I want to live my life in this specific manner, so I’m gonna change what I feel like doing, and not do what I feel like doing.” Instead, this ideal state would be to actually want to do all the good things and not want to do all the bad things.
I mean, it doesn’t get much better than that.
That would be the state of being able to be completely natural and still do the things that I rationally, logically want to do, without having to apply this kind of rational, logical order, saying “You must do this”, like like a robot, “Follow your program.” Instead it would just naturally “I want to work hard and take care of myself and work towards my goal, because I naturally love that.
“And I don’t want to be lazy and do unhealthy things, because I don’t like those things.” I think it’s possible to get close to that.
And in fact, maybe it’s possible to go all the way to that point, to the point where you no longer need to think about self-improvement or self-development, because you just naturally feel it.
Now, I know that didn’t work for me.
I know that it’s gonna take self-development to get there.
It’s gonna take deliberate modification of my actions, to change what I do, in order to get to the point that I can naturally do it.
I did not just spontaneously feel like video games and smoking are no longer fun, and exercise and hard work are suddenly what I love doing.
So it certainly takes a lot of effort, I believe, to make that transition.
But, as it becomes my new normal, as I build in these habits, I can start to see the beginning of the change, where just naturally, I don’t want to spend my day playing video games, because then I don’t advance towards my goals, I don’t achieve things that carry on to the next day, I don’t move towards better future.
I don’t want to smoke, because I feel bad after, it makes my overall feeling of the day less.
And so on through all the good and bad habits.
If we can really feel that we naturally want to do the good things, if we can train ourselves to naturally want to do the good things and to naturally avoid the bad things, then we have really succeeded in the ideal of self-development.
So I think there’s something very useful about being reminded that this kind of discipline mindset, and hard training, you know, improve yourself, push yourself: this kind of mindset is a transition mindset, and that maybe it never reaches the end, because there’s always ways to get better, but there is this possible state of being natural in a good state, a natural good state, where I can simply be.
Stop improving. […]

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