The Irony of Self-improvement

So, let’s say you’re a high schooler with a whole summer of doing nothing whatsoever ahead. Yes, you’re glad to have a break, but won’t you get a little bored? At some point? Just a little? … Perhaps you’re a single mom, working a job that you don’t earnestly enjoy in order to support your little cub. But you long for something more – Anything that would provide some good old relaxation and recreation. Maybe it’s learning some video editing software to help with all those clips of said cub. Maybe you want to plant a garden in the backyard. Or maybe you just want to sit and read a good novel… Whatever it is, you should do it. Whether you’re just now hitting the stage of psychological development that allows you to think abstractly or you’re retired and things aren’t as fun as you thought they would be, the point is that, as human beings, we all have the desire within us to try something new, to “expand our horizons,” as my dad would say, to start doing the thing that we are best at or are deeply passionate about. Sometimes, though, we just can’t seem to take that first step toward the freedom that is expressing our creativity and making the most of our days, read this post here.

I think I’d win a Nobel if I answered the question of why we are many times our own worst enemy. That’s not what I’ve set out to do here… Not yet, at least! I’m also not going to give you some joke about how you can lose ten pounds in two weeks, just in time for bikini season or tell you the top five summer recipes that you just simply must try out. No. The title of my article (see that, I’m owning it) contextualizes self-improvement as an existential and self-actualizing asset. Literally, the only goal of this little piece of intellectual property is to provoke your thoughts. If you’ve read this far, first of all, thank you, and second of all, it’s almost over, so don’t look away.


… Because I want to share with you that I struggle with the aforementioned paradox. As a college student making my way out of a fairly lengthy period of depression, coping with obsessive compulsive disorder, and all the while maintaining my sobriety, I know how hard it is to realize our potential. However, I also know that we CAN do it. With the right motivation, the right support network around us, and with an ounce of courage, we CAN make a change in our lives, however small, for the better. I’ve been thinking for a little while now that I should really try to utilize my writing skills and maybe even make a little bit of money while I’m at it. It’s an interesting idea that I’ve struggled to manifest into action, because the internet is just so huge, and I’m just so small. Well, I may be small, but that doesn’t make me insignificant. So, here we go. I’m off to the races. I created an account on a popular “publish your writing” web site, for lack of better words, went with what seemed to be a pretty obvious topic for the circumstances, cranked out this magnificence, and finished in time to catch the end of the basketball game. Whether I don’t write another sentence for the rest of the summer, or I become an overnight success, I can rest easy knowing that I took that seemingly colossal step with that little ounce of courage and accomplished a loosely set goal that I had established for myself. And I’ll tell you what… It feels amazing. You should try it.

Bill Sutton
The Irony of Self-improvement