Updated: Oct 24, 2020
We are nothing more and nothing less than the stories we tell ourselves and the repeated headline in our mind is the headline the frames our time.
Best-selling Author Benjamin Hardy is launching a new masterpiece this month called, "Personality Isn't Permanent". Being an acquaintance of Ben and supporter of his former book, "Willpower Doesn't Work" he graciously gave me the opportunity to have a sneak peak at his latest piece which did not disappoint.
Before I dive in on Ben's amazing book, I want to provide some context as an author who writes in the personal growth space like Ben. In my second book second book, "Your Best Decade" I dedicate a chapter to the concept of rewriting our narrative through the stories we tell ourselves. Along with our stories, if we redefine our time, we redefine our prime. In believing the stories we tell ourselves (whether for good or for bad) we inherently live according to those stories.
If we feel like we aren't going to get that promotion because of X,Y and Z, we probably won't get a promotion.
If we think we will never be financially free, well you guessed it, we likely won't become financially free.
Ben takes this idea about rewriting our personal narratives to a whole new level in his latest book. Having a strong background in psychology and leadership, Ben brings deep insight into the fluidity of our personalities. Turns out, we can in fact change.
Think about it - are you the same person you were 10 years ago? What about 4 months ago before this pandemic swept across the globe? Are you different now? I bet you have picked up a new hobby, recipe, or a new book that has changed you and shaped you in some way.
In his book, for example, Ben dives deep into the dialogue that we should be having between our former self and our future self. We all talk to ourselves and about ourselves, so why not learn from those stories to grow, learn and become everything that we were created to be?
In shaping what your future self can look like, here is a list of questions Ben asks around imaging your future self three years from now:
By going through these questions, you begin to shape a new story and lay the foundation for what your future self can look like, regardless of what your past story has been.
Inversely, if we look back to our former self, we can often see the breadcrumbs that have landed us to where we are today. But that doesn't mean you should stay there.
To quote Ben, he says this, "By looking at your past, you will change your past. Every time you look at your past it will change. Every time you look at yourself in the mirror, you will change."
He also goes on to say, "Your former self is not gone. They are alive and well. You carry them around with you wherever you go, just as you carry your future self with you wherever you go. However, you’re probably carrying around a bruised and broken version of your current self, which is greatly limiting your current and future selves. It’s time to heal and change your former self."
I couldn't agree more. When I turned 30, I was sitting on a terrace having brunch with my wife and a couple of friends in Ottawa, CA when one friend asked me, "Ryan - what is so different about turning 30?".
I paused for a second and replied, "Nothing necessarily feels different in terms of age, but my approach to life has changed. I take life and time way more seriously and who I choose to spend my time with more seriously as well."
My former self (pre 30) did not do those things. In thinking ahead to the future self and the future of my marriage and my family, things had to change in my life to get us to that future state. My old story wasn't going to get me to where I wanted to go. In looking ahead, it forced me to think critically about who I spend me time with, how I spend my time, and how I approach my life. Simply put, I had to begin acting in accordance with my future self rather than resorting back to my former self. Once the vision is cast, the how becomes clear.