“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man.”
“True nobility is being superior to your former self.”
Earnest Hemingway as quoted by Harry Hart in The Kingsman
This quote captures the essence of continual improvement within the framework of Managing the Business of You. Improvement is about learning. It’s about increasing our effectiveness and efficiency. Continual improvement is how we evolve as individuals in our lives but also as a species. Our personal improvement helps those around us and ultimately connects us to something larger than ourselves and thereby feeds the meaning in our lives.
Improvement is ushered into our lives when we accept feedback. Cause and effect is fundamental to our existence. When the outputs of something is routed back as inputs into that something it forms feedback. When the doctor encourages you to exercise that’s feedback based on the information available to your doctor like your blood work, stated activity levels, job type, and body type. When a boss tells you that you’re doing great or poorly that’s either positive or negative feedback. Grades in school are feedback on how well we understand a subject which relates to how much we absorb from our school work and home work. Feedback is everywhere if we can just open our minds and manage our attention to witness it. We also have to keep our attitude open to receive information from sources we may not want to. Some of the best feedback is given to us by others who we don’t necessarily like or from parts of our environment we just don’t care about.
The key is to make a decision about the feedback. Is it appropriate? Is it valid? Is it worth doing something about? Once we accept feedback it’s up to us to do something about it. It’s up to us to take action to right our wrongs, make better what we are doing well, or simply seeking to better ourselves. Improvement is how we evolve. It helps us more fully engage with life and find meaning in our activities. It can give us a sense of achievement and drive our more positive emotions which inevitably allows more happiness to emerge in our lives.