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The Benefits Of Self Improvement Psychology Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Psychology
Wordcount: 4736 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Doing anything correctly requires the right tools. Just as changing a tire is quicker and easier with a jack, improving yourself is much less difficult with a tool specifically developed to assist you. The LSI can be that tool. Together, the LSI and your administrator/consultant can help you accomplish your self-improvement goals.

The LSI provides you with a valuable opportunity to look at your thinking and behavior to recognize your specific strengths, as well as any “stumbling blocks”

that may be standing in your way. You can use what you learn to initiate positive changes in how you think and act: changes that can increase your personal and professional effectiveness.

The Benefits of Self-Improvement

A commitment toward improving yourself can result in:

· Greater satisfaction with personal and professional life

· More opportunities for advancement at work

· Improved relationships with family, friends and co-workers

· Increased productivity and improved quality of work product

· Reduced likelihood of stress-related illness

· Heightened self-esteem

· A fuller, more rewarding life

The Process Of Self-Improvement

Only you can improve yourself. Changing your behavior involves these steps:

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses.

Accepting yourself as you are now.

Understanding how your thinking and behavior affect yourself and others.

Deciding to improve yourself.

Committing to a plan of action to change your behavior

Your LSI Profile and Self-Improvement

After you complete the LSI, you will see a new link in the left-hand column of links called “LSI Results”. This link brings you to your completed personal profile. To succeed in your self-improvement effort, keep the following guidelines in mind when examining your profile:

Your profile can remain strictly confidential

The information you gain from the LSI is exclusively yours, to use only as

you see fit.

See your profile as new information

The LSI heightens your self-awareness, and can help you determine where you need to direct your self-improvement efforts. Think of your LSI profile as a recent “snapshot” of yourself: it captures how you are thinking and behaving right now. Your profile may confirm things you already know about yourself, enlighten you to things you didn’t know, or both. See what you learn as “thought starters”, and not final, definitive statements about you.

Assume a non-judgmental attitude

Your profile reflects only what you think about yourself. Don’t criticize or blame yourself if you feel a score is too high or too low. Instead, see the LSI as an opportunity to take an objective look at your own thinking and behavior.

Go beyond your scores as they appear on the profile

Your LSI scores summarize your thinking and behavior. For additional insight, review the words and phrases you used to describe yourself when completing the inventory. Think about why you may have selected a particular pattern of words as descriptive of you.

Look at examples of your behavior

Think of instances in your life where you may have used styles that are

predominant in your profile. Doing this will help you understand how these styles have the potential to either positively or negatively influence your behavior

Remember that your profile may change over time

Your thinking styles can change in response to new environments, situations you face, or traumatic events in your life. For this reason, consider re-taking the LSI in three to six months to identify specific changes in your thinking and behavior, and/or to determine your self-improvement progress.

What LSI measures

“The ancestor of every action is a thought” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you are to understand yourself and your behavior, you need to ask an important question:

Who am I, and what causes me to act the way I do?

The LSI can provide you with the answer. Because it measures what motivates your behavior (your thoughts and self-concept), the inventory is your tool for self-discovery. It enables you to take a revealing look at yourself and what makes you unique.

The Connection Between Thinking And Behavior

What you think and the view you have of yourself are strongly connected:

together, they have a powerful impact on everything you say and do.

Your thoughts characterize who you are and shape your life. What you think determines how you perceive reality and how you relate to others, as well as how you solve problems and make decisions.

Your self-concept is the image you have of yourself – not only physically, but intellectually, socially, and psychologically. When grouped together, all the impressions and feelings you have about yourself make up your self-concept, or the person you believe yourself to be. You will always act in a manner that is consistent with this view of yourself. Depending on how much you like and accept yourself, your self-concept can be positive, negative, or somewhere in between.

Thoughts and self-concept are the two key components that determine your

behavior. Therefore, before you can understand your behavior, you must

examine the feelings and thoughts that cause it.

The Impact Of Thinking On Performance

How effectively you live your life is directly related to how you think.

Your thinking influences:

Goals: What you aim to achieve, how you accomplish it, and the quality you seek in results.

Ability to cope with stress: The way you handle life’s changes and demands, time pressures, and obstacles in your path.

Relationships: Whether or not you are able to form healthy, positive

relationships and gain satisfaction from your interactions with others.

Leadership effectiveness: Your skill at gaining the enthusiastic

cooperation and support of others.

Your level of success and satisfaction is strongly tied to the nature of

your thoughts and self-concept. Because you can change your thoughts and view of, yourself, you can increase your effectiveness. The first step is to understand what you are like now and what causes you to be that way.

LSI: The Key To Self-Awareness

The 240 words or phrases that make up the LSI were selected because they represent specific ways of thinking, or thinking “styles.” With the LSI, you can create a profile of your current thinking styles. Interpreting your profile will tell you whether these styles are working to your advantage, or are undermining your effectiveness. With the professional help of your administrator/consultant, you can also see how all 12 styles function together to determine your behavior. Knowing your thinking styles will help you make some decisions about yourself: are you acting in your own best interest, or could you improve yourself by doing some things differently?

Depending on how you choose to use them, your thoughts can be your strongest allies or your worst enemies. The LSI enables you to examine your own unique way of thinking and how it influences your behavior Using what you learn about yourself, you can determine where and how to direct your self-improvement efforts to achieve lasting, measurable results.

The Value Of Change

Why are some people more successful and content in life than others? The answer lies in their ability to recognize and change self-defeating behavior.

Rather than merely “living” with or ignoring characteristics that impede performance, those who are most effective take action to continually improve themselves.

Developing the motivation and initiative necessary to make positive

behavior changes can result in:

Greater satisfaction with personal and professional life

More opportunities for advancement at work

Improved relationships with family, friends and co-workers

Increased productivity and improved quality of work product

Heightened self-esteem

A fuller, more rewarding life

You CAN Change

As human beings, we are capable of redirecting our lives simply by altering the way we think. It is this fact that makes change possible – if you first take the time to understand yourself, and then make a serious effort to use what you learn. Ultimately, the choice is yours: you can become complacent with yourself as you are, or explore your potential and make the most of your abilities.

Change is threatening to many people. Fears about changing, resistance to new ways of doing things, and the simplicity of sticking with what may have worked

in the past are just a few of the many ideas that prevent us from making changes.

In addition to being highly productive and rewarding, the process of change

can actually be exciting and fun. The benefits achieved through the process of change far outweigh the perceived risks.

What Can You Change?

You can’t always change the people around you, but you can control your

reactions to them. These reactions originate in your thoughts, or the way you perceive and process information and experiences. Your thoughts are powerful resources: what you think defines who you are and what you do in every aspect of your life. By modifying what you think, you can change how you behave.

Using the LSI To Initiate Change

Completing your LSI is the vital first step in the process of changing your

behavior. The inventory has undergone years of research, and has been established as a valid, reliable way to help you take an objective look at yourself. You can use the LSI to:

Understand what you are like now, and what causes you to be that way

Recognize the consequences of your behavior – how it affects yourself and


Pinpoint your own unique strengths, as well as any “stumbling blocks” to

your effectiveness

Identify more constructive ways of thinking and behaving

Decide what aspects of your behavior you want to change

Develop a specific strategy to help bring those changes about

Moving From Thought To Action

Merely completing the LSI will do little to advance your desire to improve

yourself. To receive the fullest benefit from the inventory, devote some time to

interpreting your LSI scores (using this Interactive Self-Development Guide), thinking about what you learn, and setting goals around what you want to change.

Below are some helpful change guidelines to assist you, followed by a thorough plan of action you can complete to most effectively direct your efforts.

Change Guidelines

Acknowledge and accept all aspects of yourself. Remember: the question is not “Am I a good or bad person?” but rather “What is preventing me from being more effective, and what can I do to improve?”

Recognize that your sense of self-worth is not connected to your LSI scores. You are worthwhile because you are a human being – tying your self-worth to outside factors can limit your ability to make positive changes in your behavior.

Specifically define what you want to change and why. Clearly describing an aspect of your behavior, stating the problems it creates for you, listing why you want to change it, and detailing the actions you plan to take will properly focus the change process.

Increase your confidence by concentrating on what you do well. Overcome your preoccupation with failure by focusing on your successes. Make a list of all you do well, and read it when you are feeling underconfident.

Practice using more effective behavior in your mind. These “practice sessions” will gradually begin to affect your real-life performance. Picture yourself deliberately changing what you decide to change. Then, imagine yourself as you will be after successfully making the change.

Discipline yourself to consistently monitor your thoughts and constantly test your assumptions.

Remember that you cannot change overnight. It has taken years to develop your current behavior; it will take some time to modify it. Your progress will depend on how dedicated and sincere you are in your commitment to improve yourself. Move toward an image of your “ideal self” one step at a time.

Selected Life Styles Inventory Research Articles

Cooke, Robert A. and Lafferty, J. Clayton. (1981). Level I: Life Styles Inventory Research Inventory–An Instrument for Assessing and Changing the Self-Concept Articles of Organizational Members. Plymouth, MI: Human Synergistics.

Cooke, Robert A. and Rousseau, Denise M. (1983). “The Factor Structure of Level 1: Life Styles Inventory.” Educational and Psychological Measurement, 43, 449-457.

Cooke, Robert A. and Rousseau, Denise M. (1983). “Relationship of Life Events to Symptoms of Strain.” Journal of Applied Psychology, 68(3), 446-458.

Cooke, Robert A., Lafferty, J. Clayton, and Rousseau, Denise M. (1987). “Thinking and Behavioral Styles: Consistency Between Self-Descriptions and Descriptions By Others.” Educational and Psychological Measurement, 815-23.

Johns, E. F. (1989). The Reliability of the Life Styles Inventory (LS1 1). Plymouth, MI: Human Synergistics.

Lafferty, J. Clayton, et al. (1980). Item Frequency and DistributionLevel 1: Life Styles Inventory. Plymouth, MI: Human Synergistics.

Perry, Nancy W. and Ware, Mark E. (1987). “Facilitating Growth in a Personal Development Course.” Psychological Reports, 491-500.

Ware, Mark E., Leak, Gary K., and Perry, Nancy W. (1985). Life Styles Inventory: Evidence for Its Factorial Validity. Omaha, NE: Creighton University.

*Available through Human Synergistics International.

Appendix A: Life Styles Inventoryâ„¢

Based on Lafferty, J. C. (1989). Life Styles Inventory, LSI 1 Self Development Guide. Plymouth,

Michigan: Human Synergistics International.

Constructive Styles


The Human-Encouraging scale measures our interest in people, our tendency to care about others, and our

ability to encourage them to improve. Humanistic-Encouraging people are accepting of themselves, and

accept others for who they are without question or criticism.

• A focused concern for the growth and development of people

• Appreciation of the strengths in others, and belief in their potential for improvement

• Optimism regarding what people can accomplish

• A nurturing approach to relationships

• The willingness to assist others with self-improvement

• The ability to inspire and motivate others


The Affiliative scale measures our degree of commitment to forming and sustaining satisfying relationships.

This style represents a need for social interaction and interpersonal contact.

• A tendency to value relationships above all else

• A need to build relationships that are meaningful and reciprocal

• Strong, well-developed interpersonal skills

• A tendency to motivate others using genuine praise and friendliness


The Achievement scale measures a way of thinking that is highly associated with personal effectiveness.

Scores for this style indicate our interest in, as well as our proficiency at, attaining high-quality results on

challenging projects.

• A focus on achieving a standard of excellence

• The belief that things have specific and definable causes; a lack of belief in fate, luck or chance

• The knowledge that individual effort counts

• A commitment to making things better

• A preference for setting and accomplishing realistic, attainable goals, rather than goals imposed by


• A belief in the benefits of asking for and giving honest feedback


The Self-Actualizing scale measures a way of thinking that results in the highest form of personal

fulfillment. Becoming self-actualized is the final step in one’s growth and maturation process.

• Concern for self development

• Strong instincts and intuition

• Relative freedom from feelings of guilt or worry

• An energetic, exciting approach to life

• A strong desire to know about and experience things directly

Copyright ©2005 by Human Synergistics. All Rights Reserved. Page 6/10

Technical Appendix: Life Styles Inventoryâ„¢

Passive/Defensive Styles


The approval scale measures our need to be accepted by others to increase or sustain our feelings of selfworth.

While the desire to be approved of is natural, problems occur when approval-seeking becomes a

need, and ultimately our standard way of interacting with others.

• Low self-esteem

• Preoccupation with the opinions of others

• An over-concern with being “popular” and well-liked

• A tendency to be too agreeable, “wishy-washy” and compliant

• Difficulties with conflict, negotiation and confrontation


The Conventional scale measures our tendency to act in a conforming way. While some conformity is

necessary in life, too much can be restrictive. The Conventional style represents a preoccupation with

adhering to rules and established procedures, maintaining a low profile, and “blending in” with our

particular environment to avoid calling attention to ourselves.

• A tendency to view rules as a source of comfort and security

• A preference for staying unseen and unnoticed

• A tendency to cover up mistakes

• Reduced initiative

• A preoccupation with appearing average, “normal,” and like everyone else

• Unquestioned obedience to authority figures and rules

• A reduction in originality

• Feelings of security within a bureaucracy


The Dependent scale measures the degree to which we feel our efforts do not count. Dependent behavior

originates in a need for security and self protection. Dependent people typically feel that they have very

little control over their lives.

• An over-concern with pleasing people, and not questioning others or taking independent action

• A passive attitude

• Feelings of helplessness

• The presence of rapid change or traumatic set-backs in one’s life

• A tendency to be easily influenced

• A lack of self respect, which results in feeling unable to accomplish things

• Difficulty making decisions


The Avoidance scale measures our tendency to use the defensive strategy of withdrawal. We do this by

hiding our feelings, or by shying away from situations we find threatening.

• A strong tendency to deny responsibility for one’s own behavior

• Feelings of guilt over real or imagined mistakes

• Fear of failure

• A preoccupation with one’s own concerns

• Lack of self-disclosure that eventually leads to emotional isolation

Copyright ©2005 by Human Synergistics. All Rights Reserved. Page 7/10

Technical Appendix: Life Styles Inventoryâ„¢



The Oppositional scale measures our tendency to use the defensive and aggressive strategy of disagreeing

with others, and to seek attention by being critical and cynical.

• The ability to ask tough, probing questions

• A tendency to seem aloof and detached from people

• A need to look for flaws in everything

• A tendency to make others feel uncomfortable

• A negative, cynical attitude

• A sarcastic sense of humor


The Power scale measures our tendency to associate our self-worth with the degree to which we can

control and dominate others. Individuals who seek power are motivated by a need to gain prestige, status

and influence.

• A high need for power, status, prestige, influence, and control

• A tendency to dictate, rather than guide the actions of others

• An aggressive and possibly vengeful attitude

• Narrow, rigid thinking

• A tendency to be threatened by perceived attempts to undermine authority


The Competitive scale measures our need to establish a sense of self-worth through competing against and

comparing ourselves to others. While it is largely encouraged and accepted as a measure of success,

competitive behavior is not an effective predictor of achievement in business.

• The association of self-worth with winning and losing

• A need for recognition and praise from others

• A tendency towards aggressiveness

• Reckless “hip-shooting” behavior and unnecessary risk-taking

• A “win-lose” orientation that distorts perspective and goals

• An extreme fear of failure


The Perfectionistic scale measures the degree to which we feel a driven need to be seen by others as

perfect. A dramatic difference exists between the act of perfecting something and the concept of


• A tendency to attach self-worth to accomplishment of tasks

• Repetitive, sometimes ritualistic behavior

• Low self-esteem

• A tendency to place excessive demands on self and others

• A preoccupation with detail that distorts perspective and judgment

• An excessive concern with avoiding mistakes

• An inability to deal with, or express emotion

Copyright ©2005 by Human Synergistics. All Rights Reserved. Page 8/10

Appendix B: Myers‐Briggs Type Indicator®

Based on Myers-Briggs, I. (1998). Introduction to Type. Palo Alto, California: CPP, Inc.

The Extraversion-Introversion (E-I) Dichotomy


People who prefer Extraversion focus on the outer world of people and activity. They direct energy and attention

outward and receive energy from interacting with people and from taking action.


• Attuned to external environment

• Prefer to communicate by talking

• Work out ideas by talking them through

• Learn best through doing or discussing

• Have broad interests

• Sociable and expressive

• Readily take initiative in work and relationships


People who prefer Introversion focus on their own inner world of ideas and experiences. They direct their energy

and attention inward and receive energy from reflecting on their thoughts, memories, and feelings.


• Drawn to their inner world

• Prefer to communicate in writing

• Work out ideas by reflecting on them

• Learn best by reflection, mental “practice”

• Focus in depth on their interests

• Private and contained

• Take initiative when the situation or issue is very important to them

The Sensing-Intuition (S-N) Dichotomy


People who prefer Sensing gather information that is real and tangible-based on what is actually happening. They

are observant about the specifics of what is going on around them and are especially attuned to practical realities.


• Oriented to present realities

• Factual and concrete

• Focus on what is real and actual

• Observe and remember specifics

• Build carefully and thoroughly toward conclusions

• Understand ideas and theories through practical applications

• Trust experience


People who prefer Intuition gather information by seeing the big picture, focusing on the relationships and

connections between facts. They want to grasp patterns and are especially attuned to seeing new possibilities.


• Oriented to future possibilities

• Imaginative and verbally creative

• Focus on the patterns and meanings in data

• Remember specifics when they relate to a pattern

• Move quickly to conclusions, follow hunches

• Want to clarify ideas and theories before putting them into practice

• Trust inspiration

Copyright ©2005 by Human Synergistics. All Rights Reserved. Page 9/10

Technical Appendix: Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®

The Thinking-Feeling (T-F) Dichotomy


People who prefer to use Thinking in decision making like to look at the logical consequences of a choice or

action. They want to mentally remove themselves from the situation to examine the pros and cons objectively.

They are energized by critiquing and analyzing to identify what’s wrong with something so they can solve the

problem. Their goal is to find a standard or principle that will apply in all similar situations.


• Analytical

• Use cause-and-effect reasoning

• Solve problems with logic

• Strive for an objective standard of truth

• Reasonable

• Can be “tough-minded”

• Fair, wants everyone treated equally


People who prefer to use Feeling in decision making like to consider what is important to them and to others

involved. They mentally place themselves into the situation to identify with everyone so they can make decisions

based on their values about honoring people. They are energized by appreciating and supporting others and look

for qualities to praise. Their goal is to create harmony and treat each person as a unique individual.


• Empathetic

• Guided by personal values

• Assess impacts of decisions on people

• Strive for harmony and positive interactions

• Compassionate

• May appear “tenderhearted”

• Fair, wants everyone treated as an individual

The Judging-Perceiving (J-P) Dichotomy


People who prefer to use their Judging process in the outer world like to live in a planned, orderly way, seeking to

regulate and manage their lives. They want to make decisions, come to closure, and move on. Their lives tend to

be structured and organized, and they like to have things settled. Sticking to a plan and schedule is very important

to them, and they are energized by getting things done.


• Scheduled

• Organize their lives

• Systematic

• Methodical

• Make short-and-long-term plans

• Like to have things decided

• Try to avoid last-minute stresses


People who prefer to use their Perceiving process in the outer world like to live in a flexible, spontaneous way,

seeking to experience and understand life, rather than control it. Detailed plans and final decisions feel confining

to them; they prefer to stay open to new information and last-minute options. They are energized by their

resourcefulness in adapting to the demands of the moment.


• Spontaneous

• Flexible

• Casual

• Open-ended

• Adapt, change course

• Like things loose and open to change

• Feel energized by last-minute pressures


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