At Refining Gentleman, we believe that every self-improvement pursuit begins by adopting of the 3 Core Principles. Once you understand and accept these, each goal you create becomes easier.
What's the Point of the 3 Core Principles?
After all, self-improvement is really just another term for "developing new skills."
Self-improvement can be tricky. It's likely that all of us can think of areas in which we'd like to improve. Perhaps we want to learn to play the guitar or become better flirters. Maybe we'd like to mix drinks, speak German or increase our attention span. Or maybe we'd just like it if our eyes didn't glaze over when we tried reading a poem.
But it never seems all that easy. Tutors and instructors aren't free. Most "style guides" point us to $100 t-shirts and $10,000 watches. Even if we make a decent salary, we don't have the vacation time to spend a month in Berlin learning German. Beyond that, our work/home lives leave us with only a few hours a day of free time. Men's magazines, while well-intentioned and entertaining, often try to tackle all of these domains at once. This leads to an overwhelming amount of information, making it impossible to implement everything contained in just a single issue. And before we know it, here comes the next issue.
That's why the Core Principles are important. Simple yet powerful, the Principles provide you with easy-to-remember rules for learning any new skill. After all, self-improvement is really just another term for "developing new skills."
Core Principle #1: Anything That Can be Learned, You Can Learn.
Many of us would like to learn certain things but refrain from trying due to the belief that we can't do it. Perhaps we avoid trying to learn to dance because we "have no coordination." Academically, we may shy away from Shakespeare because we feel more suited for Science or Math. Sure, certain skills or knowledge may come more easily to us than others but no skill is out of reach. Our brains and bodies are human and are therefore capable of anything a human body can do or a human brain can learn. Every one of you reading this, "Art" and "Math" person alike, has learned English. Yes, you likely grew up surrounded by the language and were forced to learn, but that's the point! You needed to do something, so your brain figured out a way.
Core Principle #2: If You Are Above Average at Something, You Are Good at Something.
It's common for us to assume that everyone can do what we can and already know everything we know. This makes it easy to discount the depth of our knowledge or the quality of our abilities. The easier something feels for us, the easier we assume that thing is.The result of this misperception is a kind of Imposter Syndrome. But it's usually the other way around. Most of the time, things feel easy to us because we've gotten really good at them. "Average" is the bar for adequacy. If something is above average, it is "good." If something is below average, it is "not good." When you've reached the level of being above average, do not sell yourself short.
Core Principle # 3: "Average" is Easier to Surpass Than You Think.
We often believe that becoming good in something is a lengthy and difficult process. We believe this because we are using the wrong frame of reference. Too often, the people we compare ourselves to are world-class experts. But, in life, we are graded on a curve. This isn't an endorsement for minimal effort. It's an important truth to reframe your perspective. When you're shirtless at the pool, the metric others are using to gauge you is not Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. It's the other men at the pool. Being considered "stylish" doesn't mean dressing like Idris Elba. It can be as simple as wearing clothes that fit properly, ditching logos, and practicing the basic layering. Learning to be good at something doesn't require years of study or hefty financial investments. All it requires is determination, practice and guidance.
Your assignment today is to pick one thing, anything, that you'd like to learn or improve in. It can be anything from shuffling a deck of cards to painting a landscape. Once you have that, write it down and put it somewhere where you will see it often. We recommend the bathroom mirror or refrigerator door.
Make sure to check back with us for insights and tips on learning any skill, including the one you've chosen. We will also be providing tutorials on other skills we've handcrafted for the Refining Gentleman to learn. See you soon!