What occupies your time? When we have the choice of choosing what to do with our time away from the stresses of everyday commitments, the temptation to sit back, relax, and go on gazing at the TV is difficult to resist. These moments are fleeting and provide us with an unmatched opportunity to explore our interests. When thinking about this, we need to ask ourselves a simple but very powerful question: What can benefit me most? The answer is different for each one of us in each stage of life we find ourselves in. Sometimes drawing can be far better for our mental health than sifting through research opportunities to enhance our resume— and sometimes the exact opposite is true. It serves us well to remember that every experience in which we apply our intelligence is an opportunity for personal growth—most importantly, the experiences which push us to think in new ways. Progression is not about a checklist made by the collective, but rather how we as individuals come to find better ways to utilize our time. What better way to spend our fleeting minutes than something that genuinely interests us?
When thinking about what to do with our time, we often fall into the flow of selecting activities that are known to be “safe”. An example of this is turning on a show that we’re binging. We know that it will entertain us for a period of time and allow us to relax, but what if instead we chose to do something new? Think back to the last time you felt that you were doing something beneficial for your own growth while feeling a sense of enjoyment. What were you doing, and how did you feel in that moment? Was it something that you felt at ease doing? Using innate curiosity—our inner sense of wonder about the world—is what enables us to make great discoveries for ourselves and form new channels of growth. The search for a project becomes ever easier with genuine curiosity at the helm of our mindset. We shouldn’t worry over failing because the only true failure is the failure to persevere when faced with challenge. We owe it to ourselves—if not to the rest of the world unburdened by free time—to try and improve our abilities, be they physical, mental, spiritual, or a combination of each.
The question of difficulty is irrelevant when it comes to doing things that will help us grow. This does not mean that we need to go to the extreme with an endeavor and proceed recklessly without regard for the proper steps that need to be taken to best achieve the goal at hand (researching how to sand wood before purchasing whatever materials we see in the store for a desk we’re designing, for example). The point here is that we need to visualize what it is we seek to improve within ourselves before leaping right into the thick of things. Of course, this does vary depending on what we are looking to improve. When it comes to choosing a skill tree such as physical fitness, it would make the most sense to first consult a licensed professional regarding proper form as well as your physician for any health concerns to watch out for if a diet plan and intense exercise are on your list. On the other hand, if you want to write and reach people through it, then reading and learning from other writers is the way to go. Both are avenues worth pursuing, but the strategy by which they are pursued is variant, and this is where the fun comes in. Finding what you’re interested in is step one because it will turn into less of a chore and more of a journey you want to go down.
Everything that molds us into better people requires sacrifice. Imagine that you were seeking to purchase self-improvement, and upon looking at the price tag, you were greeted with a word and an underscore next to it. The price of improving ourselves is only as out of reach as we make it out to be; it can be affordable, cheap even, or it can be too much for some of us. The price is simple, but requires effort instead of dollars. The price tag lists the following: Sacrifice + ______. The underscore is the space in which the time we spend dedicating ourselves to our own improvement is to be inscribed—not by a pen, but rather by our efforts. Only by pursuing a genuine interest of ours can we hope to improve ourselves, and only by genuinely becoming interested in ourselves can we begin to work towards that hope.