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Compete with yourself on following to become best version of yourself

Manish Kumar
8 min readDec 30, 2023

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Everyone aspires to be the best in the world. However, their method of determining whether they have achieved this is often flawed. They tend to compare themselves to others in their immediate circle, using this as a benchmark for success. Once they outperform their peers, they then elevate their standards by changing their reference group. This approach is inherently problematic, often leading to envy and dishonesty when you are not performing as well as others.

This article aims to emphasize the importance of self-comparison in becoming the best version of oneself. It will also highlight areas for self-improvement to ensure well-rounded growth, rather than focusing only on domains where one’s peers excel.

As a child, I was consistently focused on excelling in my studies. This mindset wasn’t self-developed; it was instilled in me by my parents. Now, when I look back, I realize that they should have focused more on instilling good nutrition and health habits in me. Academic success would have naturally followed.

The next phase of my life began when I started earning money. I found myself relentlessly pursuing wealth. While it did bring some financial freedom, it also led to significant anxiety and poor mental health. This was largely because everyone around me was also solely focused on accumulating wealth without considering other aspects of life.

These anxieties troubled me deeply, prompting me to address them at their roots. I am grateful to my friend Rohan for introducing me to Ankur Warikoo, my mentor, who provided guidance on the areas I will discuss here.

One strategy that significantly contributed to my progress was persistently seeking solutions. I have always believed in tackling problems at their root, and I strive to do so quickly.

Sleep

I’ve struggled with sleep for much of my life, until a few years ago. As a child, I felt tired all day. I assumed it was a health issue and sought remedies in ayurvedic and homeopathic treatments, but saw no improvement. I was making a fundamental mistake: I focused solely on my waking-up routine, neglecting the importance of a proper bedtime and sleep environment.

To learn more about sleeping better, refer to the following article:

But why stress the importance of sleep habits? Because they significantly influence how your day unfolds. Hence, better sleep is fundamental to becoming the best version of yourself.

Reading not anything but books

To be honest, I never enjoyed reading as a child. To me, reading meant studying textbooks, which was especially unenjoyable for subjects I disliked. This fueled my aversion to reading. Additionally, teachers suggested reading English newspapers to gain knowledge and improve my English. However, this practice ended up being more harmful than beneficial. The fancy language used in these newspapers made it difficult to understand the content, and the news often created unnecessary anxiety. I’ve elaborated more on why it’s advisable to avoid news in this article:

It was much later in my career that I realized that reading books is what people mean when they suggest reading more. The books I recommend focus on fundamental life aspects such as life, health, diet, and philosophy.

While it’s true that children might not be able to comprehend philosophy, they can certainly read about health and diet. Books, backed by extensive research, contain a wealth of proven wisdom that can benefit you in various aspects of life. Reading them can provide clarity and enable you to discuss topics you’ve read about more effectively. It can also help you see nuances that people often overlook.

Writing

As a child, I remember several good teachers encouraging diary writing. Although I respected these individuals, I didn’t understand the importance of this habit, so I didn’t maintain it for long.

A few years ago, I truly grasped the benefits of writing. I started writing to clear my mind and eventually began sharing my learnings, as I am doing now.

I began with daily journal entries and gradually transitioned to writing on Medium.

Writing can help clear your mind. With a clear mind, you can focus on the task at hand. Essentially, by putting your thoughts on paper, you can think more clearly.

Diet

One thing my family never understood was the importance of our diet. Looking back, it feels like much of my childhood was misguided. Here are some of the dietary mistakes my family made:

  • Eating heavy meals late at night
  • Overeating when ill, in the belief it would speed up recovery
  • Consuming few fruits and vegetables, with a primary focus on grains
  • Eating to the point of fullness as a sign of having eaten enough

There are many more examples specific to my body type, but I will not mention them here. Although one such practice was drinking hot milk for breakfast, which severely disturbed my digestion and gut health,.

I only gained this knowledge about three to four years ago when I started following Ayurveda. Ayurveda taught me that our health significantly depends on what, when, and how much we eat. You can learn more about it in this article:

It’s clear that our diet significantly influences our productivity. Let me provide an example. If I eat something made of maida in the morning, even though it doesn’t cause any immediate noticeable health issues, I feel the need to visit the restroom frequently for the next 3–4 hours. If something like this distracts me during my morning hours, how can I focus on becoming the best version of myself?

Health

A healthy person has a thousand wishes, a sick person only one.

This quotation, which you may have heard, encapsulates a core philosophy that I adhere to. It emphasizes the critical role of health in our ability to aspire and achieve. Without proper health, a person’s only wish is to regain their wellbeing.

  • Physical Health: I am fortunate to have understood the importance of this from an early stage, thanks to my father. However, I didn’t always manage it well. For instance, during childhood, I would either play excessively some days or not at all on others. This pattern worsened in college, despite its importance. It was only when I started falling sick frequently that I realized the need for regular physical exercise. You can find more about my journey towards consistent fitness in this article:
  • Mental health: This is a topic that’s seldom discussed, not just within my family but in our society as a whole. In an age filled with distractions, maintaining focus has become the new measure of success.
    Many individuals possess high IQs, but without focus, they often get distracted. For high-IQ individuals, overthinking is one of the key drivers of failure.
    You can also find additional insights on mental fitness and how to perform at your best without distractions here:

In short, maintaining both physical and mental fitness is equally important to becoming the best version of yourself.

Routine

While it may seem self-evident, implementing a proper routine in life can be challenging. Despite knowing its importance, like many people, I struggled to establish and maintain a disciplined lifestyle due to poor eating, sleeping, and study habits. Observing my friends’ successes, even without a disciplined life, made me overlook its significance.

However, after facing several failures, I came to realize that a disciplined life is a surefire way to success. As the saying goes,

You can’t be motivated throughout your entire life to achieve success, but you can be disciplined.

Once I understood its importance and decided to follow it, below are a few techniques that helped me achieve it:

  • Pomodoro Technique: Developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s, this time management method involves breaking work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes long, separated by short breaks. The concept is based on the belief that frequent breaks can enhance mental agility and productivity, thereby improving task focus and time management.
  • Learning to Prioritize Things: Prioritization involves making choices about what tasks to undertake and what to set aside. To prioritize effectively, you need to discern which tasks are urgent and important. This process requires evaluating each task based on how closely it aligns with your goals, the impacts of completing it, and the consequences of neglecting it. Mastering this skill can help you focus on high-value activities, manage your time better, and reduce stress.

Fix your finance

Attaining financial stability can lead to a more peaceful mindset, thereby facilitating personal growth.

Once you start earning, it’s crucial to establish a clear financial goal. Ideally, your money goal should be roughly 30 times your current expenditure. It should not be an attempt to out-earn your peers, and this is a never-ending process. Understanding this can prevent anxiety caused by comparing yourself to others.

Financial stability not only frees your mind for self-improvement but also provides an emergency safety net and aids in achieving long-term goals, which can be “giving back to society.”

Final Thoughts

In summary, to become the best version of yourself, you must excel in the above-mentioned areas. Remember, improvement takes time, and you may not see immediate results. However, trust the process that has proven effective over the centuries. Even if you believe you can outperform the established methods, it’s wise to first imitate, then innovate. By adopting these habits, you may not attain immediate success in your current endeavor, but you’ll certainly achieve success in life.

Although I enjoy sharing my experiences to help others going through similar phases of life, I primarily write about productivity and healthy lifestyles. If you’re interested in learning more about these topics, please follow and subscribe. If you find my content helpful, show your appreciation by giving me a clap. Your support encourages me to create more!

I also offer free 1-on-1 advice on how to become the best version of yourself. Simply say “hi, I need advice” in the comment box below.

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Manish Kumar

Sharing wisdom on how to become best version of yourself. Topic includes physical/mental fitness and food habits. Reading, writing, meditating along the way!