Tuesday, September 6, 2016

What I learned from Vegeta

***Dedicated to the people who continue to inspire me to be the adorable badass I know I am. You know who you are.***

About a week ago, I discovered that September is self-improvement month, which inspired this blog post. If it wasn't quite obvious already, self-improvement has become very important to me, and I think it's mainly because I've grown more in this past year than I have in the entirety of my 20s. My only hope is that it continues to be that way in the years to come. 

In case you didn't know, I have a mission statement that I strive achieve with the content I create here on my blog as well as on my YouTube channel. It has changed over the years, but the core values have remained the same: "I hope to inspire individuals to embrace their uniqueness and enrich their existence."

By sharing my thoughts through my content, I hope to make a positive impact on society and make the appreciation of self-improvement, the desire for self-confidence and happiness contagious.

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while now will know that I've touched on Dragon Ball Z themes in the past. I mainly focused on its influence on my personal wellness goals. (*cough* #HyperbolicTimeChamber *cough*) But today, I want to discuss my favorite character, Vegeta, and his influence on my journey toward self-improvement. 

Vegeta is BAE
My closest family and friends will tell you that I have a soft spot for villains. Magneto from X-Men and Loki from Thor are a couple of my favorites... BUT Vegeta is by far before anyone else. It's easy to root for the hero of a story, but in life, no one is given a stereotypical "hero" role. I cannot easily praise or relate to a loving, kind, and altruistic person like other people can. No matter how awful that may seem, I'm just honestly more drawn to characters who seem real. I want raw backstory behind why someone acts and feels the way they do. I want to see them react in a way that I would.

To me, "heroes" are unrealistic, because real people are imperfect. We all have dark secrets and inner demons. We're not always happy, and it's these unstable emotions that drive us to make poor choices. Like Vegeta, we get angry, upset, and bitter. We all make plenty of mistakes, but we can grow by defying the odds that are stacked against us and persevering. Achieving your goals requires discipline when everyone and everything seems to be against you. We all have our bad days, but it's our ability to move through the pain that allows us to get stronger and transform into who we're meant to become.

Where you choose to draw your starting line doesn't matter
No one should be defined by their past. No matter how awful of a person you believe yourself to be at the start, you still have the power to make a positive change. If you want something bad enough, you can choose to mindfully change your ways, adapt a different lifestyle if necessary, and put your past behind you. 

In your lifetime, you'll never be able to change what has already happened, but you do have every opportunity to create the future you desire. It starts with being self-aware, then focusing on what needs to be done and having the discipline to consistently work at it every day. 

My pride is my strength and my weakness
Growing up, I was constantly praised for being a self-starter. It's always been natural for me to take the initiative, be resourceful, and go above and beyond to ensure success for myself as well as the general benefit of everyone around me. 

Later in life, I found asking for help and delegating to others extremely difficult. Though I'd prefer to believe that I can still do everything on my own, I recognize that my pride prevents me from admitting my faults and shortcomings, which also prevents me from connecting deeper to those around me. Despite attempts to rewire my brain, asking for help and giving away tasks still makes me feel inadequate at times. 

Transitioning into various leadership roles over the past few years, I discovered how my pride gets in the way and causes unnecessary stress. Though I don't mind putting in over time to complete my tasks and ensure my responsibilities are met, it's become apparent that I need to properly delegate and trust in the abilities of my team. 

Understanding when I need to ask for help allows me to accept that things don't always have to be done my way. In the end, my ability to find the perfect person to delegate to and identify and recognize individual talents inevitably makes me a better leader. Seeing my faith in the abilities of others creates a deeper connection, and they in turn trust my judgement and appreciate my faith in them. 

Never aim for average
Though there may always be someone better than you, you shouldn't let that hinder your process or stop you from achieving your goals. I've found that I'm happiest when I remind myself that I don't need to be THE best, but I should prioritize becoming MY best. You may never be stronger than the "Goku" in your life, and that's okay! 

In my personal opinion, it puts you in a better position to keep growing rather than taking each step in life with blind overconfidence. A mindful step in the right direction is more important than being oblivious to those around you who are secretly hoping for your downfall. 

Even if you're not a fan of Vegeta, Dragon Ball Z, or even anime in general, hopefully you can agree that these are worthy life lessons to instill in yourself. I tend to look for inspiration to keep improving everywhere, and I encourage you do the same. Though you may not be able to see any dramatic changes over night, one day I hope you look back and realize how far you've come from where you started.