Most of us think optimization is necessary, and optimizing our lives requires us to “keep up.” We may crave or seek the newest iPhone, a new job, or a new romantic partner when the steam cools off. Changing societal norms, technology, and a new era of unlimited global possibility have opened us up to opportunity. Yet, the tendency to become externally motivated by optimization leaves us accepting that the answer lies somewhere “out there.” The danger of externalizing goals, especially concerning self-improvement, is that it limits our self-agency and ability to pursue our dreams authentically and meaningfully. We may be skipping two all-important steps:
Finding your north star or “why” is the crucial building block for optimization. Your “why” is the more profound meaning and purpose behind the area you are trying to attack for growth. When we ask ourselves “why,” we tap into a more profound sense of purpose and meaning. It forces us to reflect on values, passions, and motivations, the foundations for sustainable growth and fulfillment.
Still want that red sports car? External measures of success, such as wealth, status, or recognition, often dominate our goals. However, by shifting our focus to internal definitions of success, we open ourselves up to what truly matters: how we feel about our progress, how aligned we are with our values, and how much joy and fulfillment we experience.
SEE YOUR VALUE
The second key is to see your value, what you bring or create in your life, or the lives of others. Starting with what you offer to the world and those around you and seeing how you are unique and different is where your optimization must begin. Seeing your value makes you more confident as you tap into our unique strengths, passions, and talents. It invites you to embrace authenticity and be true to yourself rather than conforming to societal expectations.
NOW YOU ARE READY
Once you have these two keys, you are ready to optimize! That is, you can start to plot a clear roadmap for achieving your goals and create a continual and conscious effort to move forward in a self-determined fashion. You can take risks and action to overcome your doubts and develop habits of your own accord. Finally, you can create habits that hone your focus, commit yourself to new practices, and become accountable to the bigger picture of the vision you have for yourself!
Remember, accurate optimization starts with our minds and hearts to lead change forward, regardless of whether we have a flip phone or an iPhone!