GRE Issue Essay 135
“The widespread idea that people should make self-improvement a primary goal in their lives is problematic because it assumes that people are intrinsically deficient.”
No one is born perfect. There is always a scope of improvement in everyone and it can be done with efforts made towards it. I believe that self-improvement is an effort to reach a state which is more advanced than the existing one. However, I disagree with the given statement that the idea of self-improvement is problematic because it assumes that people are intrinsically deficient. The statement seems to be written in a negative perspective. I hold that there is a great difference between being unskilled and being intrinsically deficient. Self-improvement can be made the primary goal of people who are unskilled, however, they need not be intrinsically deficient.
There is no end of learning. It is a continuous process. The growth of a human being is possible only if he keeps adding to his knowledge and improves himself. It only requires a realization of the scope of improvement. A person of any age and status, independent of how perfect he is, can seek self-improvement. However, this does not mean that he is basically deficient. Self-improvement is equally required by a teacher as well as by a student. We can, however, not deduce that a student is intrinsically deficient and needs improvement and a teacher is perfect. A student can better himself by gaining more knowledge from books, teachers and surroundings. Similarly, a teacher can add to his already existing knowledge by reading newspapers, keeping company of the learned and improving his way of teaching.
A person learning the art of pottery may initially be unskilled. However, he could be trained in another art and could be a good human being. This does not make him intrinsically deficient. However, learning the art of pottery makes him more skilled than before as well as satisfies his willingness to learn the art. Similarly, a doctor needs to keep himself upgraded with new technology and changes in his field. For him self-improvement is important to keep himself up-to-date with the latest advancement in the filed of medicine. However, it does not mean that he is not good in his profession. He must be doing extremely well at a professional as well as a personal level. Nonetheless, self-improvement will help him in improving his already acquired skills. If he does not concentrate upon improving himself, just because self-improvement is a problematic idea, as is suggested in the statement, it would result in stagnation and he would not be able to progress professionally.
I would also like to add that for a person to improve it is very important to recognize the need for improvement. If we assume that we are perfect and there is no need for improvement, we would be left behind in this competitive world. Progress and advancement are possible only if there is a realization of their need. It does not require a person to feel deficient and useless without knowledge. If there is any requirement of improvement in a person, it must be viewed as a chance and possibility to advance and progress. Therefore, the need for improvement should be looked upon positively, which gives the opportunity to a person to better himself.
To sum up, I would maintain that I disagree with the statement that since it assumes that the person is basically lacking in certain qualities, the issue of self-improvement is problematic. According to me, self-improvement cannot be termed problematic since it needs a positive driving force inside the person. A positive force is sought only if a person is intrinsically strong and willing to learn new things for his own improvement.