How to Self Improvement

The Art Of Self Improvement  

There’s no doubt about it: Self Improvement is big business. No matter where we look we seem to see men attired in business suits and fancy haircuts. Sporting dinky little ear-piece microphones, they speak to us as though we were attending the annual general meeting of their multi-national self-development business which, I suppose, isn’t that far from the truth.

They speak to us in sound-bites; “I’m gunna show you how…”, “you just need to follow my plan: no thought required; just follow the plan”. Success and winning, they preach to the audience, are a sure thing.

But is self development a sure thing? If, like me, you believe self development is a life journey that is never completed, you know that the only sure thing is that the search for self development is far from being a sure thing. The journey will entail more failures than successes, more loss than gain and more self-doubt than we think we can endure. The only way to improve one’s self is to challenge the habits and assumptions we have gathered along the way. To go out on a limb with no guarantee of finding what we want takes courage. No ‘success plan’ would contemplate such a course of action!

So, if we can’t get succor from the self improvement ‘gurus’, who can we turn to?

The answer, I believe, is to look to the people who have always explored every single aspect of the human condition. They did not always find the answer, but they all had courage. They are of course, the world’s artists.

How can a painting help us toward our goal of self improvement you might ask? Well, some paintings help to bring serenity and a feeling of inner peace; I feel this whenever I look at an Impressionist painting, especially paintings by Berthe Morisot. She was never recognized as a great artist during her lifetime; she was relegated to the category of “feminine” artists because of her usual subject matter