Six months ago, I wrote an article called ‘Becoming the Best Version of Myself‘ where I explored the meaning of becoming the best version of me. This post acts as a slight retraction.
The main issue I take with the post is the way the title is posed and the imagery of the mountain top. This is, frankly, bullshit. It implies that there is an end goal, that there is a ‘best version’ to somehow achieve, that there is a peak to climb to, enjoy the view of, and then walk back down.
What I have realised is that the statement is much better posed as being the best version of myself. And that the definition of best version needs some refining and flexibility.
Rather than a single mountain, which you can either peak or not, life is more like an ongoing mountain range, with many peaks and declines over time. Being the best version of yourself means recognising that this is the case and carrying on going, pushing forward, and having improvement overall.
This is where the mountain range metaphor somewhat falls down; our hypothetical mountain range would need to carry on indefinitely with the peaks getting increasingly higher.
Can I think of alternative imagery that is more realistic? No.
Perhaps the Penrose stairs I’ve used in this post’s leading image does a better job at demonstrating the point. Being the best version of yourself means continuing to climb that never-ending staircase. It doesn’t end.
The analogy falls down, however, as continuous self-improvement allows for reflection. You can look back and see how much progress you have made – how many stairs you’ve climbed.
Both analogies fall down because life is complex, there are multiple versions of the self at any given time and paths of improvement aren’t necessarily linear. You professional abilities may be progressing extremely well, but you may be struggling to improve your social relationships at the same pace. Many mountain ranges and many staircases are needed to reflect the multi-faceted nature of self-improvement.
Maybe I am spending too much time trying to distil the complex nature of self-improvement into a simple analogy. I have been know to over-extend analogies until the links are more than tenuous.
Perhaps I am digressing. Perhaps the digressions illustrate the point:
Since my initial post, I have realised that there is no such thing as achieving the ‘best self’. The ‘best self’ is a continuous process. You can be the best version of yourself by working to become an increasingly better person. There is always room for improvement; therefore, you can never become the best version of yourself, because there isn’t an end point, it’s an ongoing process.
For now, This is All.