Continual Self Improvement is the Key to Your Success

Members of my career mentoring site know that I’m a big fan of The Optimist Creed.  Point 9 in the creed suggests that you, “Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.”

Like everything else in The Optimist Creed, this is great common sense.  I know that I have a lot to learn.  There are many things about me on which I can improve.  I’m just guessing here, but I bet that’s true for you too.  That’s why I choose to focus on improving me rather than criticizing others.

I’m not a real religious guy, but I do remember a few Bible stories.  Remember the one where people are gathered to stone a woman who is accused of adultery and Jesus disperses the angry crowd by telling them, “Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone?”  I know I am in no position to be casting stones.  I doubt if you are either.  None of us is perfect.  If we both choose to put our energy into improving ourselves – not criticizing others for their failings – we will be happier, more confident and successful, and the world will be a less contentious place.

I first learned about Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs when I was in college at Penn State.  The model was structured as a pyramid with “self-actualization” at the top.  Dr. Maslow defined self- actualization as “being all that you can be” – something the US Army borrowed for its TV recruiting commercials several years ago.

According to Dr. Maslow, self-actualization is an unattainable state, because no matter what you achieve, you soon realize that you can achieve even more.  You can take this one of two ways.  You can see it as negative and frustrating because you’ll never reach the goal of being self-actualized.  Or you can see it as positive and inspiring because you’ll always have another dream to chase, another goal to reach.

I choose the latter.  I was telling someone the other day that the rise of social media has been great for me, because I have begun really learning lately.  I’ve always kept up in my field, but I’ve felt for the past few years that most of my learning was incremental.  I wasn’t making any quantum leaps forward.

However, since I’ve begun blogging – and tweeting — and pinning, I’ve learned a lot – really a lot.  And, as the ninth point of the Optimist Creed points out, I haven’t had the time, or the inclination, to think about what others are doing, much less criticize them.  I’m busy learning and growing – and that’s cool and fun and exciting.

The point here is simple common sense.  If you want to create the successful life and career you deserve, work on improving yourself and achieving your goals.  Don’t worry about what others are doing, or comparing yourself to them.  Be too busy with your own growth to worry about anyone else.  Criticizing others is a waste of your precious time.  It robs you of the ability to set and achieve your goals and create the life and career success you want and deserve.  Besides that, you’re probably not in the position to be casting stones anyway – I know I’m not.

Your career mentor,


PS: I write this blog to help people create the life and career success they want and deserve. Now I’m going one step further. I’ve created a membership site in which I’ve pulled together my best thoughts on success. And, as a reader of this blog, you can become a member for free. Just go to to claim your free membership. You’ll be joining a vibrant and growing community of success minded professionals. I hope to see you there.


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