The continuously lengthy and arduous race to self-improvement.

By now, we are all too familiar with the maxim – The road to hell is paved with good intentions. But, have you ever heard of this aphorism – The road to self-improvement isn’t paved at all. On the contrary, it’s full of gravel of all shapes and sizes.

Alright, you caught me and I can hear you whispering: “That’s not a saying at all. This guy is full of….” Before you finish your thoughts, let’s not get too hostile. Hear me out. Have you ever experienced an epiphany so strong, it naturally moved you to improve a trait or habit which you deemed for so long paralyzing or destructive? Only to conquer that trait or habit and be rudely greeted immediately by another paralyzing or destructive trait or habit you had no idea existed within you. Soon you realize as you continue to trek forward, the road doesn’t get easier. The gravel beneath you begins to increase in size and no amount of money can save you from developing sore feet.

Three years ago, I decided to embark on such a journey after experiencing what I would describe as a life altering moment. To describe my early twenties, it would equate to the famous Joker ride at Six Flags – fun and dangerous. My pride had reached unfathomable levels like the stock market today. My selfishness knew no bounds. Not to get into the nitty gritty but, let’s just say throughout my fun and dangerous moments, I was blessed enough to escape death on one or two occasions. Those eye opening experiences were enough to prompt me to enter the race to self-improvement, not knowing the arduous challenges ahead. One day, I sat in deep thought and realized I had everything I ever needed – food, shelter, clothes, a career, loving people and great health. Yet, I was missing something. Desperate for an answer, I turned to religion for guidance. A bit naïve, I saw it has a cure to all my problems. Following months of studying and spiritual growth I surely believed I was on my way to a better life.

Initially, conquering your first bad trait or habit feels rewarding. However; you slowly notice the toll it takes on your state of mind. Just as I was preparing myself to take along breath of victory, life decided to throw me a curve ball. “Oh you thought you were done?” life said. Without warning, a new challenge sprung forth. “Now fix that!” shouted life. “And this, and that, and umm, don’t forget about this one.”

Naturally, if you’re not mentally strong, self-doubt begins to seep into all the neurons inside of your brain. Inevitably, the pain travels downwards and your feet begin to hurt as you trek on the uncomfortable gravel. “How could I have so many flaws?” you may catch yourself asking. “Why can’t this road be paved already? I just want to be better!” you may shout from within.

I get it. I really do.

Luckily, it doesn’t have to remain that way. By allowing myself to be humble as I can be, to interact and be in the company of people of all ages, old and young, I am now able to see the beauty in this continuously lengthy and arduous race to self-improvement. I am now able to recognize growth, short or long term, and appreciate its worth. I am now able to calm my self-doubts and focus on one gravel at a time. And so can you! Humble yourself. Branch out, meet new people of different cultures, age and backgrounds. Build your knowledge bank. As you interact with those individuals, don’t fall in the trap of comparing yourself to them. Instead, take in the stories they share, draw out the lessons and use them as fuel to keep you going on your continuously lengthy and arduous race to self-improvement. Now is not the time to give up. We may not be able to utterly predict our future, but stay on this lengthy and arduous path to self-improvement and the end result can only be a true masterpiece.

With that said, I leave you with this – Take your eyes away from this screen. Look around you. If you don’t like what you see, then change it. Do not allow them to break your spiritual core as it is the only spark that will set you free!

School? What For.

Now, before you go off running and screaming – “Ah boy. Here we go again. Another no lifer trying to lead people astray with their bullshit uneducated opinion.”, sit tight, take a deep a breath, clear your mind and read on.

The debate surrounding the true purpose of school (or the education system, whatever you call it) has been boiling hot for the past few years. Some have been very vocal about the detriment school can have on the mental and spiritual growth of kids, while others see it strictly as a factory farm. The urge to want to join in on the “school is useless” train has been and honestly still is quite strong in me. I see it and hear it everywhere I go now – On the internet, television, work and amongst friends. It’s almost impossible to escape really. But it’s true, why aren’t you getting on the train? – You’re asking. Well, here’s your answer. It’s not that I don’t want get on, I rather just walk. It gives me time to clear my head and really think before presenting my case. I went to school (elementary, middle, high and college) for the majority of my life. The routine of having to wake up at 5:00 AM and sitting in a squared cubicle for 180 days was quite gruesome at times. But it was and still is deemed necessary for the development of not just the individual but to our “society” as a whole. To a certain degree, I can understand the meaning behind this.

School has its values. To some, it provides a sense of belonging, helps develop social skills and may even bring inspiration. The basic knowledge of math and science that we are thought in school provides others the stepping stone to possibly innovate, create and engineer things such as vehicles, buildings, food..ect. Math and science are very real. Whether we choose to believe in it or not, it is everywhere we go and in everything we do. But, (sorry but not sorry, I have to say this) that’s as far as I’ll defend it.

What about all the other aspects of life that are missing from the curriculum. As famous YouTuber Spiritual So puts it: “Self-improvement, spirituality, financial literacy and coping mechanisms are nowhere to be found in school systems.” And he’s absolutely right. The most important subjects that are crucial to our growth as human beings are astonishingly absent from school. For approximately ten years, we are told what to learn and how to learn it. We are instructed to take in and regurgitate information that are either outdated or just blatantly false. Then at the age of 18, without clear guidance and completely spoon-fed, we are told (advised) to go off to college to later be pressured into picking a major that we may or may not want to practice for the rest of our lives.

Go along with this example; you’re still here? Alright good. If 100 teenagers (because that’s really what they are) head off to college, 90 have no clue who they are as a person, let alone know what major to pick. Unsure of themselves and without guidance, they are forced to make an impossible choice. The abundance of possibly meaningless information they were thought in grade school can’t even aid them on their quest. Once you’re in college, not truly knowing yourself can be a huge crutch. Which means that you have a lot of soul searching and evolving to do. What you thought you originally wanted to practice turned out to be completely false.

But, the price for evolving is astronomically high. What are your options? Either you close both eyes and choose to further entrench yourself in debt in search of your true calling or you stick with something that will most likely make you miserable and depress for the rest of your life. (Maybe not the rest of your life if you’re blessed enough to change path later in life.) Then you graduate, and voila, you stare at the world as it greets you with a humongous middle finger. Shaken by the inhospitable greeting, you look back on all your school years and realize that it was nothing but just one big expensive life lesson.

Is it worth it? I don’t know, you tell me. I’m just on the side taking a slow and long walk as I watch the train go by.

With that said, I leave you with this – Take your eyes away from this screen. Look around you. If you don’t like what you see, then change it. Do not allow them to break your spiritual core as it is the only spark that will set you free!