Five years ago, I read a brilliant article on self-improvement by Rabbi Noah Weinberg. He explains an exciting personal exercise (here) for figuring out how you can be a better person and extolls the virtues of loving criticism.
I asked a close friend to do this exercise with me in 2008 and he came up with three big things:
1. “Try overlooking 3 things everyday.” In friendship and romance, overlooking things that do not really matter makes life happier and more joyful. I had to learn the hard way that I can’t make everything that annoys me a “hill to die on.”
2. “Try to not be so sensitive. I think people don’t think through things as much as you do.” I think all human traits are adaptive in a group context, but being sensitive is often a limiting, crazy-making, isolating trait in my life. Every time I see the humor in a ‘bad’ situation or respond thoughtfully to a rude comment, I feel myself growing.
3. “Be Bold.” This friend encouraged me to try out for a singing competition, start this blog, and apply to a competitive internship. I made it to the finals of Michigan Idol, gained an important outlet for my thoughts in my blog, and got the internship at the Human Rights Commission of Korea. Now, I don’t think I’m a total wiener; I enjoy new experiences and I take pleasure in risk-taking. But taking the steps to actually achieve all of my wild, unrealistic dreams is a challenge for me.
These are all things I am still working on, and I commend him for being so honest! I feel like my life-long task is self-improvement. Although hearing my flaws pointed out was jarring, I don’t think I could have articulated these personal goals myself.
What are your New Years Resolutions? What personal goals do you need to set today? Who can help you identify the things you need to work on?