The details of Bert Betterman’s life are quite inconsequential. Just kidding, they’re actually very consequential, at least to this blog, I’ve just always wanted to use that line.
Clearly I am not Bert Betterman; I am Brett Bloemendaal. Who, then, is this mysterious character? The name came about from a college friend of mine, a fellow Seinfeld fan, who created an amalgamation of one of my nicknames, Bert, and a twist on J. Peterman, to come up with an alter ego name so wondrous in alliteration, so bountiful in the implications of hope for the “betterment” of mankind, that I simply had to bring it to life. Since then, however, the character has grown to be much more than just a self-proclaimed clever name; he is now my optimal alter ego.
You see, I am a rather aspirational person. And while I have a healthy dose of self-motivation, I require a model towards which I can aspire. Bert Betterman is everything I want to be and hopefully a good example for anyone else too. In the process of self-improvement, I simply ask myself “What would Bert Betterman do?”
And just what does Bert Betterman do? Essentially anything he wants in light of what makes him the best version of himself. He has a gift of complete self-awareness. He understands his body and mind, inside and out, and how they are interconnected. He is able to communicate with his body, listening to feedback queues and learning what is making him healthier and stronger and what is making him sicker and weaker. He is able to maximize his strengths and shore up his weaknesses. He eats a pristine diet and knows that his pristine diet isn’t a carbon copy of anyone else’s out there but rather the one that best fits his own biology. He stays active with exercise and rarely gets injured. His immune system is near impenetrable. He is funny and confident, and he has the ability to become fully accomplished in any skill on which he sets his sights. In short he is the model – well, my model, at least – of self-actualization.
I have learned a lot through the eyes and mind of Bert Betterman during my years of existence, and it is my intention to share those lessons and stories so that they may be a stepping stone for anyone else in their own personal journey to happiness and self-actualization. I have learned that while research studies and insightful articles have their place, it is most often stories and posts from similarly-situated people that offer the best maps to my own journey. More accurately, even, they help uncover my own maps that I had all along. And that is a concept that is critically important; everyone has their own map. Self-improvement is a lifelong process of evaluating numerous things before you find the way your own body and mind respond to them.
There is so much information and product out there in the world that it’s easy to become overwhelmed and feel as though it’s all doomed to fail. Many things will help millions of people and do nothing for you. At the same time there may be something out there that helps no one else but you. The important thing is that you don’t let that discourage you into thinking that nothing works. I used to be that discouraged. I used to think that I had tried everything and that none of it worked, whether it was for increasing strength, reducing pain, improving skills, etc. But I was looking for someone else to prescribe something without really knowing me. I had become disconnected from my inner self and lost the ability to learn about me using my own, innate feedback systems. It was by reigniting this ability that I was finally able to develop intuition as to what would work for me and how I could begin to make progress in living more like Bert Betterman, my optimal alter ego.