We often seek to improve ourselves in specific areas. For example, to improve our elocution, we may enroll for a public speaking course.
Improving our skills is sometimes essential. Still, such improvement is superficial to the improvement of our core self, which centers on our character. Some people may be unskilled in particular areas, but if they have a strong character, they can still win others’ trust. And trustworthiness is foundational for enduring success in today’s inter-connected inter-dependent world.
To understand this, consider people who may be expert speakers. If they are foxy or just fickle, they can’t be counted on. Even if their speaking dazzles others initially, their character deficiency eventually surfaces in their actions, eroding others’ trust in them and sabotaging their growth prospects.
To improve ourselves sustainably, we need to improve our character. For that, we need to purge ourselves of the inner contaminations that make us act impulsively, imprudently, immorally. Gita wisdom explains that such contaminations are extrinsic to our spiritual essence. The Bhagavad-gita (15.07) indicates that we are souls, parts of God, Krishna, who is all-pure. In our pure spiritual state, we are naturally trustworthy, being free from sensual and mental contaminations. When we seek pleasure outside our relationship with Krishna, we get allured by the promises dangled by our mind and senses. Consequently, we act in short-sighted ways that weaken our character.
To protect ourselves, we need to harmonize with our spiritual nature. The best way to such spiritual harmony is practicing bhakti-yoga, for it connects us with all-pure Krishna. By the ensuing purification, we develop a strong character, thereby improving ourselves at our core. And whenever we need to develop specific skills, our purity provides us the composure and clarity to improve at that level too.
Thus, spiritual development is the most effective way to self-improvement.