What’s the Point of Self-Improvement Anyway? – There’s a paradox with self-improvement and it is this: the ultimate goal of all self-improvement is to reach the point where you no longer feel the need to improve yourself.
Think about it: The whole goal of improving your productivity is to reach the point where you never have to think about how to be more productive. The whole point of pursuing happiness is to reach the point where one no longer has to think about being happy. The whole point of improving your relationships is so that you can enjoy some drama-free cunnilingus in the McDonald’s drive-thru without almost crashing the car.
(Still working on that last one.)
Self-improvement is therefore, in a weird way, ultimately self-defeating.
The only way to truly achieve one’s potential, to become fully fulfilled, or to become “self-actualized” (whatever the fuck that means), is to, at some point, stop trying to be all of those things.
One of the beautiful things about Tyler Durden in Fight Club is that he seems to understand the implicit vanity and self-absorption that comes with the desire to improve oneself.
Now, before we go all Fight Club and punch each other in basements and blow up bank buildings, I do believe that there is an important role for self-improvement and all of the millions of podcasts, books, seminars, and articles that you obsessively consume. I promise.
But, as usual, a lot depends on why you care about self-improvement. So, let’s put our shirts back on and take a look.