I've always been a big fan of self-improvement ever since I was put through the paces @ the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teenagers workshop back in my sec school days. In fact, I do think I have more books on the self-improvement and development genre as compared to any genre.
Over the years, I've come to realise that I have drawn a strong sense of personal achievement and character development through the undertaking of sporting activities. Somehow, the result of say, completing a marathon, vis a vis the process of implementing some new logical thought system, seemed more tangible and real back then, and possibly even at present. Well, the only "self improvement" sporting activity that I have completed since I started out in banking was a 42.2km run last year, which was a death shuffle given the lack of training and a hurt back.
While my past self would have marveled at that result given a lack of training and perhaps given myself a big pat on the back together with a pint of beer, my current self feels more disappointed that I didn't gain much through the event, as I didn't put myself through the entire wringer of the process to maximize the potential gains.
One of my current fears now revolve around not maximizing my potential. To kind of summarize how I feel, I do think this can be distilled into the potential to be a better human being. To be a more improved version of myself when I go to bed each day, and to push myself a bit harder each day. It's like I do feel I'm cruising at a certain altitude now, and I need to up the ante. Which maybe a good thing to feel this way, because slowly the motivation that has been beaten out of me through adopting a solely survival mode tactic when starting out in banking is making a come back.
I've always been fascinated with the human body and its limits. The ability for an individual to control his thoughts and effect this control in normal hormonal responses, the ability of an individual to run a 100 miles straight out carrying a backpack, the ability of an individual to adapt and live off the land, the ability of an individual to maintain equanimity in dire circumstances.
These challenges excite and invigorate me. Not so much maximizing my bonus and getting a top rating at work. I suppose I still do enjoy a certain bit of what I do and I do [bluff myself to] think of work as a challenge, but I guess with this capitalism challenge and financial independence mostly on cruise control till it's automatically sorted out over the next 3 years, it's about time I throw in some other physical and mental challenges in life to gain new perspectives.
Thus the 30 day teetotaler (amongst other things done concurrently) challenge that I had recently completed successfully, and a new challenge to really run (not just survive) an ultra marathon over the next 2 - 3 years. It'll be tough given my hectic schedule, but it'll be a fun challenge to undertake. After all, nothing ventured, nothing gained. And this time, it'll be largely focused on the process. Eating right, sleeping right, training, etc.
Wish me persistence and luck. And I do hope you find some inspiration to push the boundaries of your life too.