In life we all rely on metaphorical tools. We could substitute for the word “tools” such things as intelligence, talent, skills, etc.
When we look at life, most people complacently go through the motions. They are willing to accept whatever happens with a pessimistic perspective and an unwillingness to work to change or improve.
In effect, most people refuse to improve the tools that they use throughout life. They continue to use faulty equipment and struggle to gain any sort of upward momentum to help them reach a better level of themselves.
In 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson, the author says, “People create their worlds with the tools they have directly at hand. Faulty tools produce faulty results. Repeated use of the same faulty tools produces the same faulty results. It is in this manner that those who fail to learn from the past doom themselves to repeat it.”
But what if there was an easy, logical way to improve our tools? What if we could look at a tool and then find a way to fix the tool or replace it with a better tool?
I think looking at life in this manner can be incredibly beneficial. Many people assume there is too much that is static in their life. There is too much that they can’t control and simply have to accept.
But changing to thinking about tools that we utilize gives us empowerment over them. They become easily changed-out components that we use to help us achieve some type of goal, not fixed attributes.
Just as a good shovel will help us dig a hole or a good screwdriver will help us unscrew a screw, the ability to effectively communicate will help us connect with others. The ability to maintain good health will allow us to live longer and more pain-free.
But people tend to accept these attributes as concrete, immovable forces. They don’t understand that they are simply tools. And there are numerous ways to upgrade our tools and improve our abilities.
We need to shift to thinking of these as tools and then start to learn how to upgrade them. There are many processes to do this. The systems and habits approach to improvement is one that often gets overlooked but often is the best way to get better at something.
This requires slow, steady improvement. It means we start with something small and easy and work to incorporate that slight change regularly into our lives. Then it slowly transitions to habit. It becomes part of our routine. It becomes automatic.
Then we move to another small change and follow the same process. Then another. Then another.
This allows us to spend the right amount of time to fix and improve a tool for the long-term. It allows us to then shift our focus to another area but still gain the benefits from that initial area.
At first it seems to take forever. It seems like we have to keep going longer than we anticipated. But keeping it small and easy allows us to keep moving.
The benefit doesn’t appear initially. The benefits of this approach come later, after doing the work. At this point we start to leverage our tools in new ways that allow us to gain more and more from them, instead of having to fight and work to maintain any sort of change.
From this we gain a method to use to upgrade our tools in life. We can slowly work to improve in areas that are holding us back. We can leverage the areas that we call strengths to get more out of them. In time, we can become who we want to become by continually upgrading our tools in life.