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11 Key Principles I Learned From Reading 60+ Self-Improvement Books


Self-improvement books have the power to single-handedly change a person’s outlook and purpose in life, but sometimes, people don’t have the money, motivation, or time to sit down and enlighten themselves on what these books have to offer.

If you’ve been curious as to what invaluable knowledge these self-improvement books contain, then look no further. After reading 60 books, I’ve noticed 11 recurring pieces of advice that can help you on your journey.

1. Apply these ideas to your life

The first piece of advice, which is arguably the most important, is to apply the information you consume to your everyday life.

If you want to truly seek change in your life, simply reading about these different ideas and tips isn’t enough; you can read hundreds of books about self-improvement and productivity, but if you don’t apply any of the information you learned to your own life, all of it will go to waste.

“But what can I apply if I haven’t read any books?”

I mean, there are still 10 other ideas to go through ;)

2. Discover and work towards your purpose in life

Before starting the road to self-improvement, have a clear understanding of what kind of life you wish to live.

Make sure your ideal life is truly what you want, not what your parents, spouse, or any other external factor that isn’t yours. By truly being passionate about your destination, you’ll naturally have the desire and motivation to work towards it.

For example, since I want to become financially independent and start my own revolutionary business by the time I’m 30, I’m eager to learn new skills and adopt new mindsets that help me work toward such an ambitious goal.

If you have the time, I would recommend reading “It’s Not About You” by Bob Burg and John David Mann. It’s only 96 pages, but it reminds us of a fundamental purpose we should always be striving for.

Anyways, once we do manage to find out our life purpose, what should we do?…

3. Be proactive

Instead of waiting for the perfect opportunity to work towards your life purpose, be that change instead. If you’re wasting away your life doing things you have little to no interest in, the only person who can spark drastic change to avoid such unfulfilling situations is yourself. You have a choice to either continue living on like you always have, or take that first step towards pursuing your dreams.

One practice to help keep us proactive is the act of memento mori, to remember our finite time on this earth. By always remembering our inevitable death, we feel motivated to make the most of every day in the things we care about.

Not sure where to start? Hmm, I wonder what you could do…

If you’re wasting away your life doing things you have little to no interest in, the only person who can spark drastic change in your situation is yourself. You have a choice to either continue living on like you always have, or take that first step towards pursuing your dreams. Not sure where to start? Hmm, I wonder what you could do…

4. Weekly goal setting

A good way of being proactive is to set weekly goals to work towards your end goals and overall purpose in life. End goals are the final achievements we desire, and most of our goals are only attempts to satisfy our end goals.

For instance, a goal of becoming a millionaire could satisfy one’s end goal of financial freedom.

A good first step is to define the different categories in your life and think of goals for each category. When setting my weekly goals, I try to think of 1–2 goals for programming, self-learning, hobbies, and relationships. Then, once the week is over, reflect on your progress and set some new goals for the first week.

I especially like weekly goal setting since you’re given a more flexible deadline to accomplish your goals, so you can either cram the time you spend working towards them or spread it out throughout the week.

To complement weekly goal-setting, you should also…

5. Set up good habits

Incorporating productive habits throughout the day can help you slowly but surely reach your goals.

On top of creating good habits, it’s important to try and cut down on the bad habits you’re probably guilty of, and use that free time you have now on better habits. For example, as soon as my day starts I begin my morning routine, a series of easy yet effective habits that energize my body and prime my mindset for the day.

Furthermore, by having uncomfortable habits like taking a cold shower or working out first thing in the day, I’m able to exercise my willpower, helping me have better self-control over any temptations.

Picture this: for the past 5 days you’ve built a streak of going to the gym before work, but today your laziness gets the better of you. How should you feel, knowing that you ruined a productive streak out of pure laziness?…

6. Be okay with failure

If you don’t reach your goals, don’t resort to beating yourself up or complaining about the external factors that may have influenced your defeat.

Instead, view the experience as a learning opportunity to locate the weaknesses in your character, and think of ways you can work on them.

Then, by using your emotions as your fuel, you can come back even more prepared with your newfound learnings and determination whenever the next opportunity arises. Success and failure are merely labels, and it’s our decision on how we interpret them.

However, what happens if you keep making the same “mistake”?

7. Solve the roots of problems rather than the symptoms

Sometimes, we tend to deal with the side-effects of an underlying problem and pay no attention to what’s causing it in the first place.

It will take some creative thinking to identify the root cause of your problems, but it’s way more effective than slapping a band-aid onto a cavernous wound. For example, if you’re always finding yourself being neglected or manipulated by your friends, your underlying problem might not be in yourself, but rather in your friends.

As a result, you can solve the issue by re-evaluating who your friends are and how you choose them. However, as much as we may want to solve all the problems in our life, we must remember one thing.

8. Understand what you cannot control, and make do with what you can control

By knowing what is in and out of our control, we can put our effort solely into things we can change.

The effort you put into a resume for your dream job is within your control, but the choice of the employer to hire you is out of the question. Instead of worrying about the anticipated outcome, just be realistic and appreciate the work you put in to stack the odds in your favour, and as noted in idea 6, learn from your failures.

“But I can’t do that, I’m not good enough”…

9. Detoxify your mindset

To discover our true potential, we must disregard any limiting beliefs we have about ourselves. Most of the time, when we think we aren’t good enough to do something, it’s just our fear of change or fear of being judged that’s speaking.

Why should you be scared of doing something that can change your life for the better?

Who cares if one person doesn’t agree with what you have to say? It’s time to free yourself from your invisible shackles and live the life you want to without any regrets. For if you don’t, you’ll end up in an unnoticeable but life-threatening trap…

10. Complacency

Complacency has become more prevalent as we surrender our dreams and ideas to the endless amount of instant gratification promoted by societal standards.

It wasn’t until the first time I picked up my first book that I realized the lame life I was living; whether it be through excessive amounts of time scrolling through TikTok, binge-watching anime, or playing video games, I was wasting away my precious time on activities that provide no progress towards my goals.

Instead of discovering my true goals and desires, I was stuck in a vicious cycle of pleasure.

I’m not trying to say that partaking in such activities is bad, since they’re still a part of my everyday life; instead, I want you to look at how you spend your time and energy on a daily basis and determine whether you’re okay with it.

Nowadays, I use up all my mental juices before spending time on such activities to help recharge and reward myself for my efforts.

When you finally seek change and free up some time for yourself, consider the last idea out of these 11…

11. Learning is a lifelong journey

Adding on to the previous idea, we can devote our lives to constantly learning and evolving into versions of ourselves that we may never imagine ourselves becoming. After all, this is the embodiment of self-improvement.

By spending some time each day reading a book or learning a new skill, you can learn more about yourself and the world around you each and every day. I personally find such a concept truly mesmerizing, and by committing to reading an hour every day, I hope to live a life full of achievements and knowledge.

The insight within the books I’ve read had an indescribably profound impact on my outlook on life; I’ve reached peak levels of confidence and determination to pursue my goals, and this desire will only further grow as I continue my path to self-enlightenment.

By adopting a learning mindset, I’ve primed myself to live the best life I possibly can, and I wholeheartedly encourage you to also do the same.


So, that’s all I have for you. If you’re interested in learning more about the ideas I discussed, I would recommend you dive headfirst and find time to start reading some of these books. They can better explain the concepts in far greater detail, and provide a resounding impact through various examples and stories that may spark change within your own life.

If you’re pressed for time though and want a more condensed form of consumption, I like to use the app Shortform for digestible summaries, which you can try for free here (affiliate link).

Alternatively, consider following my newsletter to hear about content and ideas that resonated within me during my daily media consumption.

Inspired by James Clear’s newsletter, I also include a 3 2 1 summary of the books I read via:

  • 3 key ideas
  • 1 prompt or actionable tip

Anyways, thanks for reading my first blog post, and I wish you the best in this always-expanding game called life :)

Want more of the ideas and thoughts in my mind?