Tim Ferriss has a thought provoking quote in his newest book, Tribe of Mentors.

You can make yourself better or you can make yourself feel better.

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When I first read the quote I thought, “Yeah, either you’re growing or you’re just keeping yourself comfortable. One makes you better, one just makes you feel better.”

But as I thought about it more, I think it’s a lot more nuanced than that.

Without a doubt, when I was 350+ pounds, most of my choices weren’t making me better.

At the time, I thought turning to food made me feel better. But honestly, what I know now is that it just distracted me. It got me out of my head, out of my reality and into an escape.

But it didn’t make me feel better. It just temporarily made me feel less.

Ultimately, it made me feel much worse.

Repeatedly turning to food to escape made me tired, depressed, self-conscious, frustrated and disappointed in myself.

As I thought about this quote, I thought about what actions and behaviors make me better. Here are a few things that came to mind:

  • Working out
  • Meditating
  • Journaling
  • Connecting with people who inspire me
  • Eating clean
  • Simplifying the space around me
  • Reading
  • Coaching people through their challenges

Interestingly, all those things also make me feel better!

I wondered if there are things that make me feel better but don’t make me better. To remove my filter completely, what first comes to mind is sex. It makes me feel better for sure. But does it make me better? I don’t know, but I think probably not.

Drinking doesn’t make me feel better, neither does overeating, but they sometimes provide an escape. And, sometimes escapes make me feel better. So, maybe they do, at times.

I don’t think the key here is to avoid things that make you feel better and only choose things that make you better, but I do think the key stems from awareness.

Knowing what makes you better, knowing what makes you feel better, knowing what does both and what does neither can really help you make great choices and make faster progress towards your goal.

There are lots of things that make people feel better but really hurt their personal growth and long term happiness. Things like gossiping or telling lies to get attention.

You know I believe journaling is a powerful tool, so I’ll encourage you to take a few minutes to think & write through your thoughts on the following questions:

What makes you better?

What makes you feel better?

What does both?

What does neither?

What choices can you make today to make yourself better?

What can you do today that both makes you feel better and makes you better?

For more questions that will help you move to the next level and make change easier, check out episode 436 of the Primal Potential podcast. It’s one of my absolute favorites!