Original question from Quora:

How can I make myself better each day?

My Answer:

I have a special process that I do every day to get better at things. It’s a bit strange, and most of my friends don’t do it, but it works for me.

It’s a little hard to explain, so maybe a story will help…

When I was a kid, I found computers fascinating and I wanted to become a computer programmer. But, I didn’t have a computer.

So, I badgered my parents until eventually we got one. Then I would watch computer TV shows (which I didn’t fully understand) that were on a local cable channel. I would go on AOL (this was 1995) and read forums and things for hours.

Eventually, I found some books on writing code with the C programming language. Every day I found myself reading books and trying to write code. I wasn’t great at it, but I kept working on it.

Over time, I kept learning and doing. Pretty much every day. Until I could make my own video games, web applications, and so on.

Now, decades later I am a Senior Software Developer at a successful company. I’ve pretty much become what I envisioned myself to be, through years of a particular kind of effort.

So what is the secret to how I did it?

Two things…

First, at some point I took ownership of the idea that I would be a computer programmer.

Second, I took action every day to make that dream real.

Along the way, I made myself better every day and was a little closer to the vision I set out for myself.

I don’t believe it’s any accident that I got here. In fact, it’s exactly where I was trying to go the whole time. By taking a few steps towards it each day, I arrived.

So, how do you make yourself better each day?

First, answer the question of what you want to be. What is your definition of better? Better for most is something closer to some idealized version of their future self. You can’t get better until you know what that idealized future self is.

Second, once you know what that is, do something every day to get closer to that reality. That could be reminding yourself of the goal, learning something new, talking to someone that can help you, and so on.

Do something every day and eventually your every day will look like your better version of yourself.


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