In this post: We look at 10 practical strategies for becoming your best self and put them to the test right here, right now.
Ironically, this blog post on “how to be your best self” has been the worst on my site since I first published it on May 30, 2020.
Most posts I publish get at least one hundred views a month. The best get thousands. This post?
Read it as I weep:
But just like you and I can do better to be our best selves, so can this post. I believe in its potential.
So what if I apply these strategies for being your best self to this post? If they’re any good, they should work, right?
And if so, they might help you figure out how to be your best self, too.
Let’s see how it goes.
Part 1: Experiment Like a Scientist
1. Less Why?, more What?
Asking Why? leads you to wallow in the past and create false narratives like, “Why are people not enjoying my post on how to be your best self?”
Instead, ask What? to focus on how to proactively deal with your situation. For example, “What can I do to make this post more valuable to readers?”
2. Blow sh*t up in your face.
If your experiment fails, that’s fine. It’s called trial and error, not trial and perfection.
At the very least, you learned what you can’t do…yet. And, as JFK said, “An error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.”
This post has been an error-fest. Too long. Too obvious. Too conventional. So I keep trying different things—photos, titles, edits, rewrites. Now, I’m trying this whole meta concept of applying its be your best strategies on itself.
And if it doesn’t work out?
I won’t cry myself to sleep cuddling one of my son’s stuffed animals for comfort. I’ll learn from it and keep trying something else to make it better.
3. Aim for the unspectacular.
“To aim at results that cannot be achieved—or that can be only under the most unlikely circumstances—is not being ambitious; it is being foolish.”Peter Drucker, Managing Oneself
Despite what best-selling self-help books positively affirm, repeating “I can do it” to yourself in the mirror every morning doesn’t mean you can. Sometimes you can’t. Deluded dreams only bring about a superiority complex and blind you from reality.
They also make for blog posts nobody reads.
When I initially published this post, I deludedly envisioned it teleporting to the top five of Google search results as the answer to “how to be your best self.”
Surprise, surprise, it didn’t happen. Currently, it’s 67th:
Rather than wait for the Google gods to acknowledge this post’s greatness, I need to be practical: pick incremental improvements I have control over, do those, and measure their effectiveness.
If they work, keep going.
And what if nothing works?
Then I’m better off accepting the reality that I don’t have what it takes and repointing my fingertips toward typing about topics I have proven results in, like fasting, floor sleeping, mind-opening, packing, and bug eating.
4. Stop your ego from coddling you.
Self-justification is your overprotective ego coddling your feeble, fragile identity with lies and excuses that back up whatever it wants to believe. It happens when you experience the pain of dissonance between two incongruent thoughts.
In the case of this failing blog post, my dissonance is:
- I think the strategies I’ve summarized for how to be your best self are worth sharing.
- Nobody cares about what I’ve written.
I could let my ego explain away the dissonance with bunk like, “It’s not your fault. It’s Google’s. The algorithm is unfair to small publishers like you.”
Or I could apply the tips from my more successful post on how to stop justifying yourself, such as:
- Turn to humility instead of ego: “Your post simply isn’t as helpful, interesting, or well-written as those that rank above it.”
- Be actively disconfirmation biased: “What other evidence can I find that proves this post sucks?”
Part 2: Exhibit Like An Artist
5. Quit mining your bellybutton.
As self-awareness sensei Tasha Eurich has written, whatever gunk you pull out of your navel-gazing is probably not your best possible self. Your actions define who you are, not your thoughts.
So, in the case of this post, rather than twiddle my thumbs worrying and wondering why it’s the worst, I’ve got to fiddle with it to fix it.
And even if it feels forced at first, if you think it could be the path to being your best self, give it a shot. “No one can tell you’re acting,” writes Ellen Hendriksen in How to Be Yourself, “Guess what else? Eventually, you won’t be.”
6. Play golf with your identities and approaches.
“The human personality invariably contains myriad personality dispositions, emotional tendencies, values, attitudes, beliefs, and motives that are often contradictory and incompatible even though they are genuine aspects of the person’s psychological make-up.”Jongman-Sereno, K. P., & Leary, M. R, The Enigma of Being Yourself
Neither you nor I have some buried “authentic best self,” so allow yourself to be many selves. Pick the self that suits your current situation like a golfer choosing a club for their next shot:
- Be selfless and sometimes look out for number one.
- Be open-minded and stick to your guns on some topics.
- Be straight and have a gay experience.
Or not. Whatever. Keep your options open and identity flexible.
The same applies to the strategies in this post. None of them are foolproof or set in stone. Sometimes doing the opposite might work better. And maybe admitting and accepting this will make the ideas seem more credible—authentic, even?
7. Make yourself unrecognizable.
“You are only unable to change because you are making the decision not to.”Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga, The Courage to Be Disliked
“Yourself” is constantly changing. You’re not the same person at 20 years old as at 30, 40, or 50. At least hopefully not.
This post, too. It’s unrecognizable compared to its first version. And who knows how’ll it’ll evolve in the future? That’s the fun of it.
8. Remember what’s better than best.
Different is better than best.
So be one of a kind. When you’re one of a kind, you’re unbeatable. And when you’re unbeatable, by definition, you’re the best.
So for this post, I need to keep finding one-of-a-kind strategies and ways to explain them. The more I do, the more likely it will stand out and catch people’s attention.
9. Only worry about one imaginary person.
“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.”Lao Tzu
Everyone else is too worried about their own sh*t to give one about you. And on the rare occasions that other people think about you, what you think they’re thinking usually isn’t what they’re actually thinking, anyway.
Want to impress someone?
Focus on your future self.
So should I not worry about what others think about this blog post?
That makes no sense. If I want people to read it, I have to worry about what they think about it.
So then is this strategy’s cliché drivel?
Cliché, certainly. And sometimes not worrying about what other people think is a bad idea. Speaking of which, I think this strategy’s worth keeping in the post.
10. Think about your great-great-grandchildren.
What would you want your grandchildren to tell their grandchildren about you?
This is one of my favorite “GPS” questions to ask yourself from time to time.
As for this post’s legacy, I guess I hope it will inspire you to do something to be your best self in some small way.
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