There are excellent books on how to improve our lives in all areas. There are wonderful seminars conducted by some of the sharpest minds about how to identify our blind spots and grow personally. Mentors and coaches and helpers who encourage people on pathways toward self-improvement are plentiful. But even though these incredible enablers of positive change abound, there is an all-too common disease that thwarts all the greatest efforts toward lasting self-improvement, and it is called: Improvement Deficiency Syndrome (IDS).
Improvement Deficiency Syndrome occurs in both men and women, old and young, across seemingly every demographic and socio-economic sector. IDS appears early in some, has a late-onset in others.
The symptoms of IDS include the following:
1. persistent resistance to a positive attitude
2. the ability to read hundreds of self-improvement books and still not improve
3. inborn selfishness that exhibits itself with repeated flareups
4. sudden anger and jealousy and the "taking of offense" based on some obscure behavior of other people
5. pervasive self-pity and the justification necessary to feed it
6. the making of excuses to cover one's lack of advancement
7. the continued placement of self at the center of the universe
8. the ability to see any self-serving action as justifiable and righteous
Yes. These symptoms are serious. If you or anyone you know appears to be exhibiting these effects, see your mentor immediately. If you detect that being in a positive environment, reading good books, and associating with uplifting people is having no effect on your attitude, heart, or service toward others - seek help fast. You may be a chronic sufferer of IDS.
Don't take this lightly. Already, hundreds of thousands of people around the world have been identified as having symptoms of IDS. It has destroyed friendships, ruined marriages, and derailed careers.
The trickiest part about identifying the presence of IDS is that the afflicted person, having read so many good books and having associated with positive people, knows how he or she should be behaving. This leads to effective masking, as the person with IDS "fakes" the correct behaviors to cover up for his or her lack of a growing heart. Bad attitudes are hidden under false smiles, anger and jealousy are shrouded in an artificial positive attitude, and selfishness and self-pity are positioned behind a platitude of positive sayings and cryptic one liners.
Beware the sufferers of IDS. Such people are among the most self-deceived of our species. They think that by doing the right things they are becoming the right person. They mistake deeds for development, actions for intent, and works for heart. They think that saying and doing the right things is what it's all about, instead of thinking and feeling and becoming the right person. In short, they think by acting better they actually have become better.
Should you encounter a sufferer of IDS, pray for them immediately. Administer love and support, but be firm in your insistence that they seek help. Although their behavior can be explained by the serious debilitating effects of IDS, it can never be justified. Get them to see their mentor immediately, and apply heavy doses of tough love and an insistence upon a change that takes place deep inside, at the heart level, spiritually. Nothing less has ever been found to work.