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To Be a Better Person, We Need to Go Through 5 Stages of Changes

To Be a Better Person, We Need to Go Through 5 Stages of Changes

Change isn’t a given.

Despite all the many ways that we all want to change and irrespective of our track record – it is never a simple process. In addition, the bigger the change you want to make, the harder it can seem to accomplish it.

Making a change, a life affirming change, that continues on for the rest of your life and not for the next year can be a cumbersome process fraught with unique plans and directives on how to accomplish it. But when broken down to it’s most simplest of components, there are really only five stages one need go through.

Stage 1: Identify What You Can’t Accept About Yourself Anymore

I want to be a better person!

I want to find my passion!

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Change starts with identifying what you want to accomplish. It doesn’t have to be specific at this point, you only need to identify the high-level accomplishments of what you want to achieve. Perhaps “finding your passion” is too nebulous and something more direct such as “I want to figure out what I really like about my job” are more useful. However, you start, you must identify what the change is you are looking to make.

Stage 2: Break It down into Baby Steps

Change begins to fail when we don’t further decompose or break down what steps we need to take to make that change in ourselves. By breaking down the steps to make the change in our lives, we are simplifying the work to create change and identifying the barriers in our way that could slow us down and hinder our progress.

What is passion?

What is being a better person?

A further refinement of these changes (re: the goal) could be – “I will write down daily what I enjoy doing to find my passion” or “I will do three kind things for three strangers every day”. We have now taken our change and attached objectives to what we are looking to change along with time based accomplishments for the when and where of what we will accomplish.

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Change is not a single, arching achievement, it is a consistent implementation of small, executable tasks.

Stage 3: Start Tracking Everything, No Matter Big or Small

Large goals – being a better person, finding your passion – can be hard to measure, but it can be done. However, what is most important is for us to track the occurrence of those changes on something as simple as a Google Spreadsheet.

How many people did I help this month?

How many journal entries did I write down this past year?

It is inevitable that we become frustrated with the lack of progress in change because we do not think we have achieved our overall goals for change when what we have made is progress. Progress towards the goal, progress towards change.

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Tracking and recording your change is an incredible way for you to be able to look back at where you started and say to yourself – “Wow, I have come a long way and I am ready to keep going.”

Stage 4: Keep Failing, and Grow Stronger Every Time

I have consistently found, my greatest success at implementing change to be the result of my ability to keep failing. This seems backward to keep failing while trying to implement a change in yourself, but I have found time and time again that it is the failure in trying to implement that change that makes me stronger and more willing to get back up and try again. As I push myself harder to make that change, to get better at something, to improve, I will fall and make mistakes and through those mistakes I will learn to get better.

If you are continually succeeding as you implement your goals towards change, than you are not really making a change, you are instead, patting yourself on the back for having not pushed yourself today.

Stage 5: Rinse and Repeat

Even when I have implemented these first four stages of change, I have often found the need to take a step back and re-examine my goals and what I want to achieve.

Is the change I seek to implement still to big?

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How am I tracking my progress?

Am I pushing myself hard enough?

For this reason, the final stage of change is for you to look back at what you are trying to change and tweak what you are doing. Oddly enough, this can be the hardest stage of change as we turn a critical eye to ourselves in what we are trying to change.

Am I really being a better person by doing something nice for three strangers a week? Has it become so easy at this point that the change I’m looking to implement really is no longer there?

Beyond all these stages of change, there is a consistent theme of will, commitment and the desire to make this change. It’s inherent in the entire process and can be the deciding factors as to whether we actually achieve change. These stages cannot imbue you with that sense of will, commitment, desire and drive but where they can help is to reduce the barriers you face, how you approach them and you do when faced them.

The rest is up to you.

More by this author

Greg Thomas

Software Architect

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Published on October 30, 2020

11 Essential Philosophy Books That Will Open Your Mind

11 Essential Philosophy Books That Will Open Your Mind

There are numerous ways to build your mindset, but none are as profound as reading philosophy books. Through these books, some of the greatest minds around ask questions and delve deep into thought.

While there isn’t always a clear and distinct answer to the many questions of philosophy, the entire field is a gateway to a higher sense of self. It gets you to think about all manner of things.

Below, we cover some of the essential philosophy books that are best for those who are just starting or looking to expand their mind.

How To Choose a Good Philosophy Book

Before getting to this list, we’ve researched ideal philosophy books to help you expand your mind.

We’ve found that the best philosophy books excel in the following criteria:

  • Complexity – Philosophy isn’t a subject that you can’t dive into immediately and understand everything. The books that we selected are great for people making the first leap.
  • Viewpoint – With philosophy, in particular, the author’s views are more important than in your standard book. We want to ensure the viewpoints and thoughts being discussed still hold up to this day.
  • Open-mindedness – Philosophy is all about asking perplexing questions and unraveling the answer. You might not reach a conclusion in the end, but these books are designed to get you to think.
  • Culture – The last criterion is culture. A lot of these books come from early philosophers from centuries ago or possibly from recent years. These philosophy books should paint a picture of the culture.

1. Meditations

    One that you’ll find on many of these types of lists is Meditations and for good reason. It’s the only document of its kind to ever be made. The book focuses on the private thoughts of the world’s most powerful man who advises himself revolving around making good on his responsibilities and the obligations of his position.

    We know enough about Marcus Aurelius to know that he was trained in stoic philosophy and practiced every night on a series of spirituality exercises. These exercises were designed to make him humble, patient, empathetic, generous, and strong in the face of whatever problem he had to face off. And he faced plenty of problems since he was basically the emperor of roughly a third of the planet.

    All of that is poured into this book, and you are bound to remember a line or more that will be applicable in your life. It’s a philosophy book staple.

    Buy Meditations here.

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    2. Letters From a Stoic

      Similar to Marcus Aurelius, Seneca was another powerful man in Rome. He was a brilliant writer at the time and was the kind of guy to give great advice to his most trusted friends. Fortunately, much of his advice comes in letters, and those letters happen to be in this book. The letters themselves provided advice on dealing with grief, wealth, poverty, success, failure, education, and more.

      While Seneca was a stoic, he has a more practical approach and has borrowed from other schools of thought for his advice. As he said when he was alive, “I don’t care about the author if the line is good.” Similar to Meditations, there are several brilliant lines and advice that are still relevant to this day.

      Buy “Letters From a Stoic” here.

      3. Nicomachean Ethics

        Aristotle was a famous Greek philosopher at the time with profound knowledge. He’s named after a form of logic as well called Aristotelian logic. Through this book, Aristotle writes about the root of all Aristotelian ethics. In other words, this book contains the moral ideas that form a base for pretty much all of western civilization.

        Buy “Nicomachean Ethics” here.

        4. Beyond Good & Evil

          Friedrich Nietzsche played a big role in the philosophical world. He was one of the leading philosophers of the existential movement, and it all came through this particular book. He is a brilliant mind. However, the issue with a lot of his work is that it’s all written in German.

          Fortunately, this book is one of the slightly more accessible ones since it’s translated. Within the book, he breaks down the paradoxes of conventional understandings of morality. By doing this, he sets the stage for a lot of the 20th-century thought process that followed.

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          Buy “Beyond Good & Evil” here.

          5. Meditations on First Philosophy

            In Meditations on First Philosophy, René Descartes breaks his book down into six meditations. The book takes a journalistic style that is structured much like a six-day course of meditation. On day one, he gives instructions on discarding all belief in things that are not guaranteed. After that, he tries to establish what can be known for sure. Similar to Meditations, this is a staple and influential philosophical text that you can pick up.

            Buy “Meditations on First Philosophy” here.

            6. Ethics

              Written by Benedict de Spinoza, this came at a time during the Age of Enlightenment. Enlightenment was a movement that dominated the world of ideas in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries and with that, many schools of thought emerged and were presented through books.

              Out of the many influential philosophy books published back then, Ethics dominated during this period as it discussed the basis of rationalism. Even though we’ve developed further beyond that, Ethics can introduce new ways of thinking from this particular school of thought.

              Buy “Ethics” here.

              7. Critique of Pure Reason

                Immanuel Kant is another great philosopher who brought together two of history’s biggest opposing schools of thought into a single book. Those schools being rational thought and empirical experiential knowledge—knowledge gained through experience.

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                In Critique of Pure Reason, Kant explores human reason and then works to establish its illusions and get down to core constituents. Overall, you can learn more about human behavior and thought processes and thus, open your mind more to how you think and process everything around you.

                Buy “Critique of Pure Reason” here.

                8. On the Genealogy of Morals

                  Another piece of work from Nietzsche that is accessible to us is On the Genealogy of Morals. According to Nietzsche, the purpose of this book is to call attention to his previous writings. That said, it does more than that so you don’t need to worry so much about reading his other books.

                  In this book, he expands on the cryptic aphorisms that he brings up in Beyond Good and Evil and offers a discussion or morality in a work that is more accessible than a lot of his previous work.

                  Buy “On the Genealogy of Morals” here.

                  9. Everything Is F*cked

                    The only book on this list that’s been written in the past few years, this book by Mark Manson aims to explain why we all need hope while also accepting that hope can often lead us to ruin too.

                    While many of the books on this list are all practical, this one is the most realistic one since not even the greatest of philosophical minds could predict things like technology, Twitter, and how our political world has shaped.

                    Manson delivers a profound book that taps into the minds of our ancestral philosophers, such as Plato, Nietzsche, and Tom Waits, and digs deep into various topics and how all of it is connected—religion and politics, our relationship with money, entertainment, and the internet.

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                    Overall, this book serves as a challenge to all of us—a challenge to be more honest with ourselves and connect with the world in a way we’ve never tried before.

                    Buy “Everything Is F*cked” here.

                    10. Reasons and Persons

                      One of the most challenging philosophy books to read on this list, Reasons and Persons will send you on quite the trip. Through a lot of painstaking logic, Derek Parfit shows us some unique perspectives on self-interest, personhood, and whether our actions are good or evil.

                      Considered by many to be an important psychological text around the 20th century, the arguments made about those topics will open your mind to a brand new way of thinking.

                      Buy “Reasons and Persons” here.

                      11. The Republic of Plato

                        Written by Plato himself, this book is the origin of political science and offers a brilliant critique of government. As you would expect, the critique is still important today. If you’re looking to understand the inner thoughts of Plato, this is one of the best books around.

                        Buy “The Republic of Plato” here.

                        Final Thoughts

                        Philosophy books take a while to digest as they provide profound knowledge and leave you with many questions. With many of these philosophy books, you need to take your time with them, and you might have to read through them a few times as well. And with every read, your mind will only expand.

                        More Books to Open Your Mind

                        Featured photo credit: Laura Chouette via unsplash.com

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