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Self-Improvement: All About Quality

Mar 7, 2008
People run into two major problems when they try to apply self-improvement ideas or techniques:

1) They attempt too great a change in too short a time, and

2) They expect that by changing one aspect of their life, their whole life will improve.

Major changes are always an accumulation of minor changes. You don't change the direction of an ocean liner instantly, and a life has at least as much momentum as an ocean liner. Real self-improvement comes from small, directed changes, each one designed to improve one small aspect of life.

Self-improvement must involve all parts of one's life, because all those parts interact with each other. If they are not all getting better, improvement in one small area will not be stable, as the others will drag it back down. As an example, a student decides to study much harder and get better grades. This won't be possible if he has just as many distractions from friends, just as many money problems, and his girlfriend keeps getting mad at him.

The solution to both of these problems is to learn the actual principles of quality that underlie self-improvement. To improve anything is to increase its quality. This includes self. It includes life. Without knowing the principles of quality, attempts to improve it become "best guesses" or blindly following advice that worked for someone else or seems to make sense.

Here is the first major principle of quality: Quality Is An Attitude.

This simply means that you have decided to make things better. You have recognized that better is a good direction to move in, rather than letting things stay the same or get worse. Of course, deciding to do something and actually doing it are not the same things. That is where the rest of the principles come in. This first one, though, is necessary. You know you have a quality attitude when you see something that is not as good as it could be and you want to make it better. Maybe you can and maybe you can't, but you wish you could.

Here is the second major principle of quality: Quality Leads To Opposition.

What should be a relatively simple and essentially painless process, self-improvement, is made difficult. Improvement of any kind flies directly into the teeth of many people's fear of or distaste for change. Not knowing this, not expecting this, can make a person get discouraged in his attempts to change things in his life for the better.

Finally, here is the third and last major principle of quality: Quality Takes Time.

We get back to the ocean liner here. It doesn't turn on a dime. Neither does a life. When you start to improve an aspect of your life, it doesn't become perfect overnight. What it does do is start to turn. It starts to move more in the direction you want it to go. It starts to get better.

The above are very condensed, over-simplified explanations of some of the principles of quality. Even so, they contain the kernels of the truths a person needs to begin to make long-term, meaningful improvements in his or her life.
About the Author
Don Dewsnap has been teaching the principles of quality to his children, his employees, and his co-workers for over twenty years. Now they are in a book, Anyone Can Improve His or Her Own Life: The Principles of Quality, found at www.principles-of-quality.com.
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