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Over the last couple of years, I have been reading many books and watching a lot of videos about self-improvement. About how to optimize one’s life, become one’s true self, become who one wants to be, how to attract wealth, overcome negative character traits, and so on and so forth. The people writing these books and talking in those videos always make it seem so easy. Just do this and don’t do that, and you will achieve what you set your mind on.

Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the things they say are extremely interesting, feel really true to me, and have helped me in many different ways to do exactly that: slowly become more and more the person I want to be. On the other hand, they also gave me a lot of anxiety and sometimes made me feel really insecure about myself because I was constantly thinking about what I should and what I shouldn’t do and whenever I didn’t do something I was “supposed” to do, I would judge and doubt myself. I try to implement the advice given in these books and videos, but what I always ask myself is how can I know what can be changed and what can’t? What traits do inseparably just belong to who I am, deeply anchored to my personality, and which ones are learned, habitualized, and therefore changeable? What characteristics about myself should I accept as part of who I am, and which ones do I make an effort to change?

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