In a recent study, forty-seven percent of Americans said their body needed the most improvement, 29 percent said their mind and 20 percent said their soul.

If you search “self-improvement” books on Amazon, you will find over 100,000 titles.  Self-improvement is ubiquitous. From losing a few pounds, to becoming a better friend, reducing stress or even getting rid of those wrinkles with Botox, everyone is interested in self-improvement. Between the personal trainers, dermatologists, Transcendental Meditation workshops, therapists, self-help guides, yoga classes, plastic surgeons, self-improvement is a multi-billion dollar industry.

A fabulous litany of self-improvement goals can be found in Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding. “Resolution number one: Obviously will lose twenty pounds. Number two: Always put last night’s panties in the laundry basket. Equally important, will find sensible boyfriend to go out with and not continue to form romantic attachments to any of the following: alcoholics, workaholics, commitment phobic’s, peeping toms, megalomaniacs, emotional fuckwits or perverts. And especially will not fantasize about a particular person who embodies all these things.”  These are self-improvement goals, which with we can all agree.

According to a December 2014 poll by CBS and Vanity Fair, Forty-seven percent of Americans said their body needed the most improvement, 29 percent said their mind and 20 percent said their soul. 50 percent of the people over 30 chose body, while the younger responders chose their mind. For the one out five Americans felt their soul needed the most improvement, what the hell have you done???!

In the same study, seven out of ten Americans are open to plastic surgery if it makes you feel better about yourself but one in four Americans think that it is horrifying and might make you look even worse.

When it comes to where to go for a little self-rejuvenation, 35% of the respondents said they visit a house of worship, and 34% said they hit the gym. Pray or sweat it out, I guess.

The famous French philosopher, Voltaire, wrote in his satirical novel, Candide, “Let us cultivate our garden.” How do you cultivate your garden?



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