Improving oneself in 2013

English: Comparison of typical zygote developm...
English: Comparison of typical zygote development in monozygotic identical and dizygotic twins. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Being a twin, I regularly get newsletters on media events that are recruiting twins. These are usually slightly prurient explorations of the difference life choices can make to the same genetic potential; comparing fat and thin twins’ lifestyles is unsurprisingly very popular.

The most recent programme to be made – which will be aired later in the year – concerns the influence, or lack of it, of genes on personality. I imagine it features twins who, no doubt to the viewer’s surprise, are different people whose personalities have varying effects on their success in life. I’m not sure why it’s particularly worth making a programme about, as it seems pretty obvious to me.

I believe personalities to be fundamentally unchanged from quite an early age, or at any rate I feel like I have always had the same view of the world, and my sister has had a different one. I’m not really sure it’s possible to improve or change anything fundamental, and I’m not sure I want to. There are however things I do which don’t exactly add to my quality of life (working too late, spending too much, eating junk food) and things I don’t do which just make it all a whole lot less efficient.

So for new year, we did both make new year’s “things we want to do better”. In cheesy consultant style, I suggested we use the annoying stop/start/continue listing, which now that I write it down, I find quite embarrassing, but when I did it a few years ago in 2010, I did actually follow through on everything.

Mine

Stop:

  1. Being so quick to react and speak my mind before assessing the meaning of the situation and the motivation of whatever has upset me. 
  2. Belittling myself in public (eg. “crap at that like I expected to be”). It doesn’t make you more approachable, it just makes people either believe you are a bit useless, or think you’re disingenuous.
  3. Being paranoid about social situations. I have started to think that most people dislike me and only talk to me because they feel obliged, so I sometimes stop talking altogether, because at least if I’m not noticeable, people won’t have to interact with me. Strange paranoia, and self-fulfilling as I probably come across as a cold fish as a result.

Start:

  1. Writing continuous fiction. I’m always thinking about what to write, so I don’t know exactly what I’m waiting for.
  2. Being less demanding of myself. None of it really matters all that much.

Continue:

  1. Planning for the apocalypse. It’s amusing – the idea is to work on acquiring lots of skills that would be useful if society completely collapsed. I reckon you need to be able to ride a horse, shoot arrows (guns would run out of ammo), run fast, make clothes, weave cloth and reeds, hunt animals, and climb any terrain to escape the criminals/zombies/aliens. My man can do the fire-starting.  So far, I’ve got running, riding and climbing, so it’ll be the hobby of a lifetime.

Him

Stop: feeling under time pressure to fit in life.

Start:

  1. Saving more money
  2. Making more effort with family / friends, eg. picking up the phone rather than waiting to be called.
  3. Planning long term career goals
  4. Dancing lessons

Continue: worrying less about what people think, or career / income as a measure of self-worth.

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