Newsflash: you’re flawed. I’m flawed. We’re all flawed. And that’s because we’re all human. Yet at the same time, we live in a culture of perpetual self-improvement – one that pressures us to be better and meet high standards on a consistent basis. Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani knows this well. As the co-founder of Mindvalley, the powerful life transformation platform used by over 20 million people worldwide, she has dedicated her life to personal development, helping individuals find their own version of self-fulfillment and lead a better life. Kristina recently joined me on the podcast to offer her professional advice to those wanting to do better, as well as discuss her recently released book, ‘Becoming Flawesome: The Key to Living An Imperfectly Authentic Life‘.
From Point A to Point B
Change is often looked at as some sort of transformative, uniform thing that can happen overnight. We hear motivational speakers talk about the value of getting one’s life together and assume it’s as easy as flipping a light switch.
You want to change, so why not get out there and do it? Right?
If only things were that simple. No matter how much we want to improve ourselves as people, the truth is that actually doing so takes a lot of dedication and work. It isn’t enough to have an idea of where you want to be in your head – without a tangible plan in place, that’s just a dream. Transformation is a journey consisting of multiple phases and requiring a holistic perspective.
Kristina has come up with an excellent analogy to explain how this works; imagine you’re setting up your car’s GPS to take you on a trip. You know the destination, but that alone doesn’t give the system enough information to get you there. You must also enter your starting point, the route and any stopovers that need to be made along the way.
Similarly, when it comes to transformation from Point A (where you are now) and Point B (where you want to be), having a plan in place is essential. This isn’t just about setting up goals, but also outlining the steps needed to get there – like which habits need to change or what processes need to be put in place to support your aims. Without this, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and miss out on what really matters; reaching Point B.
Self-Improvement and Self-Acceptance Go Hand-In-Hand
Why do you want to change? For most people, the reason is founded in something internal. Maybe you’ve taken some time to reflect and now realize that what you’re doing isn’t serving your goals. Or perhaps you want to jumpstart a new career or finally tackle something that has been holding you back for years. Either way, taking action is the applaudable thing to do. Our culture celebrates those who aim to be and do better, as it should.
But there are certain cases where aiming to ‘be better’ comes from a place of dysfunction. Continuing on the subject of the world we live in today, people aren’t just encouraged to change themselves, but also sometimes feel pressured to. Blame it on social media or capitalistic messaging that you ‘NEED’ something to be as cool as everyone else – the common understanding is that being yourself is either not enough or too much. This enables a culture of self-hate, one that Kristina often sees mixed in with efforts labeled as ‘personal development’.
In reality, personal development is an endeavor of intrinsic value. It’s not about identifying what parts of yourself that you’d like to erase, but rather accepting who you are and realizing your individual potential.
“Who says that growth and your strength comes from eradicating things that you don’t like about yourself?” Kristina argues. “Being at peace with yourself or being present with yourself is not a contradictory desire for wanting to change something.”
Changing the Right Way
So how can someone go about changing themselves in a positive and constructive way? According to Kristina, everything starts with awareness. It can be all too easy to get caught up in the distractions of day-to-day life and forget to check in on how we feel and why. Feeling lost isn’t just something that happens randomly – it’s the product of pushing things off until they become unbearable.
Despite the overwhelm that might come with doing so, Kristina encourages people to get in touch with their feelings and think about why they might be feeling a certain way. This self-exploration is crucial in understanding your values, needs, wants and desires – who you are at Point A and what Point B looks like for you.
“We all have big questions. Sometimes they’re so overwhelming that rather than dealing with my own mess, it’s much easier to dive into work, get stressed there, get anxiety there and say, I don’t have time for everything else.”
Kristina wants people to realize that while there are certain times when it’s ok to be busy, it’s important not to stay there forever. Taking the time for self-reflection and progress is a great place to start in order for us to find our way back to ourselves.
We make thousands of connections over the courses of our lives, but among them all, one of the most important is the one we have with our inner selves. Learning to love and trust yourself are two fundamental parts of personal improvement and growth. It’s just like any other relationship – the more you put in, the more you get out. With life being as hard as it is, I think we could all benefit from that extra strength.