How To Become A Better Person Fast

J.R. Heimbigner

Photo by Fernando Brasil on Unsplash

We cannot go it alone. Our lives, work, and fun are always better with others. We crave togetherness. When we are connected to each other, we are better by it. The greatest lie in the world is that we don’t need anyone. But it isn’t true.

The other morning, I left a Starbucks at 9 AM after the most encouraging time with a group of men. We were a united group of men of different ages, stages of life, ethnicities, and vocations. But we all got together and were learning from each other. Encouraging each other. Being there because we need each other.

And of course, I was reminded of one of my favorite Proverbs from the Bible:

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” — Proverbs 27:17, NIV

If you have been around a church at all, you will likely hear this verse proclaimed over a men’s group. But it isn’t only for men. And I don’t even think it's only useful for Christians. I believe in all areas of life and in all lives, it can be a useful reminder.

We all need each other. We make each other better.

Two Things about Sharpening

There are two main methods of sharpening I am most familiar with. The first is a dry, grinding sharpening. And the second is a wet, polishing sharpening. Just like sharpening a knife or a tool, we sharpen each other in the same manner. Sometimes it is like the former and other times it is like the latter.

Dry Sharpening

Sharpening an ax on a grinding wheel like the picture above is a chaotic, rough, fierce experience. Sparks are flying. The ax head is getting hot. And you smell the friction in the air. And most times it is loud. It is rough but effective.

When two people sit down and have to have a difficult conversation about life it can be very similar to this dry style of sharpening. Sparks will fly, the conversation might get heated, and it won’t be fun. But in the end, each person will be far sharper than they were before.

These are the conversations we attempt to avoid most of the time. And yet, these are the most important. When I knife is sharpened like this, it happens before the fine sharpening of a ‘wet-stone.

Wet Sharpening

When you go to sharpen a pocket knife, there is a way to sharpen the knife into almost a polished finish. You use a wet stone. You take a little water and put on the stone and then you slowly sharpen the knife over it. As you go, it creates a fine sharpness to the blade.

It is a finesse style of sharpening where it is more about the care of the blade and sheen of the work. These types of sharpening among people are the sweet kind. The ones where we tell stories and lessons we have learned which can apply to the lives of others.

They are the times when we lift each other up, build encouragement into our lives and make each other not only sharper but more elegant in who we are as people.

Sharpening of People

While I am a mere 33 years old, I have seen some amazing ways to sharpen people. It is wonderful how this happens. It doesn’t really matter your age, stage of life, or race. What does matter is that two good-hearted people want to learn from each other and are humble enough to do so?

Here are three ways we sharpen each other:


When I was in college, I had a mentor. He would meet with me weekly and answer my questions. Help me with understanding life and school. He encouraged me in my faith and pushed me to become a better man. He would sharpen me in both the ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ methods.

Early on, there was a lot of grinding. Sparks didn’t always fly between us, but would fly in my own life as I learned to live differently. And in the end, it was much more of a finishing sharpening happening in my life.

Our years of friendship, mentorship, and sharpening helped shape me into the man I am today. His encouragement, steadfastness, and discerning spirit helped me understand and learn things I never knew before.

And this is mere, one way to be sharpened.

A Group Setting

Sometimes the best sharpening happens within a group. While there is a lot less friction in this style of building into people, when it happens there is a lot more support and accountability. In these settings, we are able to grow due to multiple viewpoints and life experiences. And we grow friendships that will last.

The group I talked about earlier is one of those groups. Each one of us comes to form a different background, age, ethnicity, and stage of life. But we all spoke into each other's lives. Encouragement and building happen in groups like these.

And from my experience, these are the groups that might come and go a little more, but they are rarely forgotten. These are the times we often remember with fondness. And reassures us we are not alone. There is a community available to us.

An Event Settings

These are the conferences and retreats we go to in order to get focused time for sharpening. We learn special skills and information to help us live life better, do work better, and ultimately become better people. These are the events where we might find a one-on-one sharpening relationship or sparks a group.

In these situations, it is mass sharpening by event speakers and breakout groups. They are effective because they are focused on time. They don’t happen every week or every month, but they are available for us to learn and grow quickly at times.

In these situations, we will encounter the dry and wet methods of sharpening in our own lives. And we will always leave better for it.

What Can You Do to Start Sharpening Lives?

I think your next best step is to find out where you need to be sharper and where you are very sharp. This way you can figure out where you can learn, and where you can help others to learn. Ask these questions of yourself first:

  1. Where in life am I thriving?
  2. Where in life in a struggling?
  3. What do I find comes easy to me?
  4. What do I find comes more difficult for me?
  5. Where might I find a mentor or group to help me in my struggles and difficulties?
  6. Where might there be a place for me to help others?
  7. Is a group or mentor relationship something I can commit to?

Once you can answer these question, you are on the road to a sharp life and a helping other become sharper. Now, all you need to do is start!

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My goal with my writing is to help people get everything done they want in their very busy lives. I believe we can we all can achieve our dreams and I know it starts with having the right mindset, systems, and taking action every single day. My writing shares how to do this through self-improvement, inspiration, and productivity.

Spokane, WA

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