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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Self Improvement

The point of self-improvement is not to reach some ideal self, but not to stay in the same place or get worse. So suppose I hadn't started to write music, hadn't taken piano lessons or sung in the choir.  I would be the same person, but without whatever growth I achieved from going into music more seriously.  I didn't need to learn to read Italian: I would have been fine without doing so. I could give up crossword puzzles and still have a satisfying life, without trying to do them faster and faster every day.

The idea that I need to find new research projects.  I could easily just coast the rest of my career, and teach things I have already learned rather than come into the classroom with things I have learned in the past few years, as I like to do.

Without self-improvement, though, the world narrows rather than expanding. I would find it difficult to imagine being in a teaching situation in which I couldn't be a learner myself. It would go stale pretty quickly, and I think the students would notice too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Although I don't think of it as self-improvement, I think of it as having new experiences, discovering new things, solving mysteries, getting better at some specific skill.

I also react poorly to the idea of the self as something that needs improvement -- but that's me.