Self Improvement Is a Puzzle: We Need All the Pieces to Fit Together

self improvement

Self improvement is a lot like a puzzle – it requires that we work on many different pieces in our lives and find a way to get them to all come together harmoniously. Focusing on one area in your life can be helpful, but in the long term we need to consider this “complete picture” mindset if we want to become the best person we can be.

Gorilla Mindset is a great book that provides this “complete picture” view of self improvement. It covers all the different areas of self improvement (including our awareness, thinking, habits, relationships, and health) and shows you how each piece feeds into the next.

In the book, Mike Cernovich shares a wealth of tips, advice, and life lessons based on his own experiences and struggles with self improvement. Despite growing up poor, fat, and being a constant source of bullying and failure – Cernovich had to take an active stance in his self growth to become the person he is today.

While self improvement is a long and never-ending process, this guide provides a wonderful breakdown of the many things you’ll want to focus on to make yourself a better person. By the time you’ve finished this book, you’ll have a much clearer idea of the things you’ll need to work on in your life.

In this article, I’ll share the key pieces behind this “self improvement puzzle” and how they all fit together and work off of each other.

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Hive Mind: The Synergistic Effects of Being Around Really Smart People

hive mind

IQ is one of the oldest and most reliable measures in all of psychology.

While IQ isn’t a perfect measure of intelligence, most research has found it to be strongly associated with a wide-range of mental ability including memory, attention, reaction times, and problem-solving.

Many of these general mental abilities translate in the real world into the form of higher incomes, higher social status, better job performance, and even better relationships.

In the new book Hive Mind: How Your Nation’s IQ Matters So Much More Than Your Own, economist Garett Jones discovers that IQ at a national level might be even more important than IQ at an individual level.

Throughout the book, Jones describes the synergistic effects of being surrounded by high IQ people. He calls it the “hive mind” effect. And in fact, due to this “hive mind” effect, it might be better to be a “less intelligent” person in a “high intelligence” group rather than a “more intelligent” person in a “low intelligence” group.

As Garett Jones describes it in the book:

    “It’s typically better to be the less-skilled honeybee in the highly productive hive than to be the highly skilled honeybee in the less-productive hive: your neighbors have an important influence on what you can accomplish.”

A group of smart people can often feed off of each other and become more than the sum of their individual parts. They bring out the best in each other – and this is just as true for a business or organization as it is for a nation as a whole.

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Meditation Is A Type of Technology, Like a Telescope or Microscope


Meditation is a popular subject that comes with many different connotations. For many, it is seen as a type of magical or esoteric tool that connects you with a supreme force of the universe.

However, according to The Mindful Geek: Secular Meditation for Smart Skeptics, meditation is simply a type of technology for your mind.

We often associate the word “technology” with machines and computers, but technology is any type of process, skill, or method that is designed to improve our lives and how we navigate through the world. In this sense, meditation is no more magical than a computer or cellphone.

Throughout the book, Michael Taft does an excellent job breaking down the basics of meditation in a realistic and practical way that doesn’t involve any type of religious or spiritual doctrine. It’s a technology that anyone can use without any supernatural belief.

Taft compares meditation to other types of technology – like a telescope or microscope – which are ultimately designed to extend our awareness toward sensations that we are otherwise unable to detect with the naked eye.

Just like a telescope can extend our sensory experience to distant stars and planets, or a microscope can extend our sensory experience to cells or atoms, meditation too can extend our sensory experience to our inner world of sensations, thoughts, and feelings.

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Destroy Your Ego Before It Destroys You (And How We Make Bad Situations Even Worse)


Confidence is a very valuable trait to have, but an unhealthy ego is often an unjustified sense of confidence that can end up destroying us.

In the brand new book Ego Is the Enemy, Ryan Holiday shows how our egos can be a constant source of disaster no matter where we are in life. It can turn a good situation into a bad situation, and a bad situation into an even worse situation.

To protect ourselves from these damaging effects of “ego,” we must always be vigilant and aware of the pernicious influence it can have on our lives. In times of both failure and success, ego can rear its ugly head and make us miscalculate our choices and what we need to do next.

You can probably think of times when your ego got in the way and ruined you. Perhaps a person cancelled a date (for valid reasons), but you took it as a slight against you and decided to throw away the relationship altogether. Or you got promoted to a higher position at work, and it turned you into an entitled brat.

Ego is something we must always be on the look out for. It’s not just “confidence,” but an undeserved sense of self-importance that leads to delusions about yourself and your reality. Ultimately, it hinders your ability to be your best self.

Ryan Holiday’s new book is filled with insightful stories and wisdom on why you should destroy your ego before it destroys you. Here are some wonderful highlights from the book.

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Ride the Tiger: Transcending the Unescapable And Following Your “Inner Law”

ride the tiger

When many look at the world today, they see an existence that is fundamentally broken, corrupt, and meaningless.

We no longer have a strong center in our lives. And so many of us in modern society are driven to escape this meaningless existence in destructive ways – whether it’s overindulgences in consumerism, or drugs, or sex, or work, or fame.

In Ride the Tiger: A Survival Manual for the Aristocrats of the Soul, Italian philosopher Julius Evola shares this distaste for modern society and modern values. And he seeks to find a way to live in it as a free soul, while not succumbing to it.

He explains how our modern society has led to a general philosophy of nihilism. The values that exist in today’s world have failed to bring us satisfaction and happiness, thus we are motivated to throw out the idea of “values” altogether.

The metaphor to “ride the tiger” refers to how an enlightened or “differentiated man” can cope with modern society – not by running away from it, or trying to destroy it, but by getting on top of it and transcending it.

The goal isn’t to throwaway all of our values, meaning, or laws, but to stand from a more enlightened view where we can act out our own set of values and laws that resonate with us (even if they aren’t shared by the rest of society).

How does one escape modern values? How does one define their own “inner law” and ride the tiger?

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