Monday, January 2, 2012

Self-improvement and New Year's resolutions

The trouble with New Year's resolutions is the idea that "I will be perfect from this day forward." That never worked for anybody. On the first day you are not "perfect," the spell is broken.

What does work is to notice at each moment what would be the best (right) thing to do, as near as you are able to tell, and choose to do that at that moment. It sounds so simple (and it isn't), and when you can succeed in doing it, you will succeed in so many other things, too. And when you don't succeed in doing it, it's not like a New Year's resolution where you have broken the chain. There is always a new moment, this one, to try again.

If you really want to turn your life around, in any respect, I can't recommend this book highly enough. Not an easy read, exactly, especially because understanding it requires asking yourself some hard questions and reconsidering all sorts of things about your own life and about your relationships with others, but the truth will set you free, after all. Not really a religious book either (if that's what you're thinking), even though the author is himself religious and what is taught here is basically the core teaching at the center of most of the world's great religions, or at least of Judaism, Christianity, and Buddhism, and probably others, too. A brilliant work that will do more for you, when understood, than any other so-called "self-help" book or than many hours of counseling with most therapists.

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