One of Gandhi's most popular quotes is this: "Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever."
Once we've gotten some much needed distance to whatever our education system forced us to remember, most of us rediscover the joy of voluntary learning at some point. Whether you like to research stocks, tend to your garden, or read books, self-improvement has many benefits.
Beyond satisfying our curiosity by regularly spending time in flow, we can use it to become better people, get what we want and solve problems. It seems so universal a tool that its usefulness feels limitless.
But that's not the whole story. No matter how much we'd like it to, self-improvement isn't a magic wand we can wave to cause whatever change we want to see. That's because no amount of reading, learning, or even discipline can ever change that life still consists entirely of trade-offs.