Allow me to pose a scenario. Let’s say that you’ve gone on 3 dates with 3 different individuals. Each of them goes pretty much the same. You take the same car, wear the same outfit, and eat at the same restaurant. Each one of them seems to go about like the last, and each of them ends with disappointment.

Now your first inclination may be to blame the car, the outfit, or even the restaurant. However, there is one common denominator that many fail to consider.

“Could it possibly be me?”

It is never fun or gratifying to face the prospect that something we are doing might be the root of whatever issue we are having. The natural reflex is to protect our ego and shut down to the idea of changing ourselves for the better. After all, that is the path of least resistance, seemingly.

However, this path presents challenges of its own. It may seem the easiest thing to stay the course with our ineffectual habits and behaviors, but there is always a trade off. Maybe you decide to try a new car, or a flashier outfit, or even mix up the choice in restaurants, but unless you make fundamental changes in your behavior, these things are simply different vehicles for the same old product, and you are placing undue stress and responsibility on supporting factors, that need not be.

I am not saying that the entirety of who you are needs to change. Growth is about introspection and improvement, not reinvention. We have to be able to look within ourselves and discern the weaknesses in our approach, our thought process, our philosophy, and our discipline in order to better ourselves and attain the seemingly unattainable.

Introspection is, in this designer’s humble opinion, the singular most crucial skill for anyone to have in order to reach their desired level of success. However, it is simply not enough to know yourself and your shortcomings. You can be aware of your faults all day long and it won’t do a thing if you don’t take steps to improve upon them. You wind up making justifications for your bad habits and behaviors and expecting other factors to supplement the voids that those habits create. That is not a lasting model for growth.

Sometimes that means asking for help. Just because we see a problem, doesn’t mean we know how to go about correcting it ourselves, and when we try without that forethought or input, it often just makes the issue worse. Surrounding yourself with trusted counsel can be a great tool for self improvement, but only if you listen and are discerning.

You are the single greatest force for achieving your goals. Don’t pass the buck. Own your success.

To wrap up this sermon, the greatest enemy of improvement is most often… you. This is something that I struggle with myself, simply getting out of my own way. It’s the path that starts out with the most resistance, but the road gets straighter, narrower, and clearer as you go. Supporting factors are invaluable assets to have, but they can only hold so much weight. You’ve got to carry your share. Stop making excuses not to change. Better yourself first, and the road will rise up to meet you.

– Hunter Crawford