Change Your Life

How To Change Your Life In 30 Days

Your identity is not fixed, but highly fluid.

Your identity follows your behaviors.

How does this work?

It works based on two very important psychological concepts:

  1. Self-signaling: which means that, as a person, you evaluate and judge yourself the same way you judge others — based on behavior. So, if you watch yourself do something, you identify yourself with that behavior. If you drink alcohol, for example, you begin to identify yourself as someone who drinks alcohol. If you wake up early, you identify yourself as someone who wakes up early. If you write articles online, you identify yourself as a writer. Thus, how you see yourself is highly fluid, and based on your own behaviors. As your behavior changes, your perceived identity changes.
  2. Precognition: which means that thoughts don’t necessarily lead to behaviors, but that behaviors can also lead to thoughts. In other words,common wisdom suggests that your inner world creates your outer world.Hence, “mental creation precedes physical creation.” This is certainly true. But behaviors (and environments) can also create internal states. For example, if you jump into an ice-cold bath, you’ll begin to experience a cascade of emotions and thoughts. Or lack of thoughts. What precognition shows is that you can actually PREDICT your inner state by behaving in certain ways, and by placing yourself in certain environments. Thus,change doesn’t only happen from the inside out, but also from the outside in.

Both of these ideas are strongly related to other research in psychology, which suggests that behaviors generally come BEFORE psychological states. Again, this goes against most common wisdom.

My favorite example is the research on self-efficacy (confidence), which shows that confidence isn’t what produces high performance. But rather, that high performance is what produces confidence.

Put simply, if you want to have confidence, you can have it. All you have to do is behave in desired ways, even for a short period of time.

Why does all of this matter?

It matters, because you have the power to radically change your identity.

Even at a biological level, new science in epigenetics and neuroplasticity is showing how malleable and fluid our biology is.

The Problem With Succeeding

Most people plateau.

Even successful people.

It’s actually very common for people who are succeeding to get stuck.

Think about some of your favorite authors, musicians, and even companies.

At some point, they generally stop being as innovative.

We all have that band we love, whose first album or two had way more soul.Then, once they became famous, their music became far more tame.

The same is often true of world-class chefs.

Once a restaurant becomes highly successful, they usually stop innovating the menu as much.

Once something is working, it’s hard to go back to ground zero.

In psychological terms, your motivation can go from approach-oriented to avoid-oriented.

Specifically, all goals are either offensive or defensive.

If you’re seeking to advance your current position, you’re “approaching.”

If you’re seeking to maintain your position, or avoid something bad from happening, you’re “avoiding.”

When you’re approaching, you’re less concerned about risks and more focused on rewards. You’re willing to take risks. You’re willing to fail. You’re being PULLED forward.

When you’re avoiding, you’re less concerned about the rewards and more focused on the risks. And you have no desire to proactively confront those risks. Instead, you’re simply trying to shield yourself from any problems that come your way.

I’ve seen this with many of my role models. For example, some of my favorite authors have shifted from approach-oriented to avoid-oriented.

I can see it in their work.

It’s become far more safe.

They are making far less significant ideological attempts in their writing.Their books are becoming more mainstream. Obviously calculated and less intuitive and inspired.

When you begin succeeding, your focus can shift from WHY to WHAT. Instead of operating from your core, your simply try to maintain success.

This is how you get stuck.

This is how you get confused and lose your identity.

Are you on offense or defense?

Are you approaching or avoiding?

Are you proactively becoming the person you want to be?

Or are you holding on to the person you think you are?

The Antidote: Never Stop Re-Inventing Yourself

In the brilliant Netflix documentary, Chef’s Table, which highlights the lives of the world’s most successful chefs, one particular episode stands out.

The number one chef in Asia, Gaggan Anand, is known for spontaneously throwing out his entire menu and starting from scratch. Even when his current menu is getting lots of attention.

This may not seem like a big deal, but it is.

When a restaurant starts getting recognized and certain awards, it’s generally based on the menu and overall atmosphere.

Being literally number one in Asia, it would make sense for Gaggan to keep his restaurant how it is.

But that’s not what he does.

Creativity, and always pushing his own boundaries, is what he is about.

So just because something is working doesn’t give him permission to stop evolving.

So he reinvents himself.

Over and over and over.

No matter how hard it is to walk away from something brilliant.

A true creator never stops pushing their boundaries.

They never stop reinventing.

Once you become awesome at something, use your new LEARNING ABILITIES to become awesome at something else.

The whole notion of “finding your calling” has led people to having fixed views of themselves.

There isn’t just one thing you were born to do.

You can expand and grow in countless ways. Especially after you learn the process of learning. You can take all of your experience becoming great at something, and quickly become proficient at something else.

In this way, you never plateau. You’re always growing and evolving as a person.

The 30-Day Challenge

Given that your identity is fluid and malleable, you have an amazing opportunity to redefine who you are.

All you have to do is consistently and boldly reshape your behavior.

You can do this in the form of a 30-day challenge.

What’s something you’ve wanted to do, that you haven’t done?

Or, what’s something that would clearly lead you to a place you’d like to be?

It could be 30 days of extreme health and fitness.

That would definitely change things.

It could be facing an extreme fear: like 30 days of asking people on dates.

It could be 30 days of writing articles, or filming videos.

Whatever it is, if you do it for 30 days, your identity will change.

Your fears will become cauterized and neutralized.

You’ll adapt to your new behaviors.

Your psychological state will change.

You’ll begin to identify with your new behaviors.

Will you have to deal with some negative emotions along the way?

Will you face a load of resistance and fear?

Will you want to quit?

The answer is probably yes to all of those questions.

But THIS is how you separate yourself from the masses.

This is how you make quantum leaps in your progression, while most people make incremental progress.

This is how you consciously shape your identity and future.

Where will you be in 30 days from now?

WHO will you be 30 days from now?

Ready to Upgrade?

I’ve created a cheat sheet for putting yourself into a PEAK-STATE, immediately. You follow this daily, your life will change very quickly.

CHANGE YOUR LIFE

“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” — Tony Robbins

In the book, THE POWER OF MOMENTS, Chip and Dan Heath explain that moments matter.

When recalling memories, we generally focus on 3 key components of moments:

  • peaks (highs)
  • pits (lows)
  • transitions (shifts)

It’s not surprising that these are the memories that stick out the most. What is surprising, according to Chip and Dan Heath, is that very few people INVEST in such moments.

Most people reactively let the most powerful experiences happen. Few people continuously create those experiences.

The average person experiences almost all of their “peak” experiences in their teens and 20’s. These experiences taper-off in most people’s 30’s and are basically non-existent as a person gets older and older.

According to Dr. Abraham Maslow, peak experiences are necessary to becoming self-actualized — which is where you’ve fully developed as a person and can pursue your highest potential.

Most people plateau at a certain stage of their development. They stop dealing with the highs, lows, and transitions of growth. Instead, they seek the safety of stability.

This safety shields them from the risks, pain, and seeking that is required for growth.

Growth isn’t supposed to feel good in the moment.

Confidence and dopamine are not the same thing.

In today’s fast-paced and every-changing environment, the norm for most people is to seek short-term dopamine highs, followed by long-term internal conflict and regret.

The reverse of this pattern is to seek confidence, which is the product of consistent and congruent decisions. The common notion that confidence leads to success is flat wrong. It’s successful behavior that creates confidence. You cannot have confidence without positive behaviors.

Creating More Life-Shifting “Memories”

If you took a minute to examine your recent past, when is the last “peak” experience you can recall?

When is the last powerful “moment” that shifted how you saw the world?

When was the last time you attempted something you’ve never done before?

When was the last time you put everything on the line for your convictions?

When was the last time you made a real decision? Said Tony Robbins, “A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.”

Life-changing moments are inherently emotional.

If you’re not willing to deal with powerful (and sometimes difficult) emotions, then you’ve frozen yourself in time.

You’ve settled for what you currently have.

You’ve shifted from seeking and approaching life to shielding and avoiding life.

When you freeze yourself in time, you stop putting yourself in demanding situations that require you to rise up to a new level.

You stop taking on roles you’ve never played before — and you settle for the environment and relational expectations that make up your current reality.

You stop being willing to fail.

You stop trying new things.

You stop dreaming.

You stop exercising faith.

So how do you engineer more of these “moments” into your life?

  • You need to reconnect with what you really want in life.
  • What you want from life should align with your values and beliefs about what is meaningful and important.
  • If you’ve decided that what you want is what you really want, because you find it to be meaningful and important, then you need to convince yourself that you can have what you want. To quote Charles Haanel, considered to be the father of modern self-improvement: “Remember that no matter what the difficulty is, no matter where it is, no matter who is affected, you have no patient but yourself; you have nothing to do but convince yourself of the truth which you desire to see manifest.”
  • In order to convince yourself that what you want is ALREADY DONE, you need make a committed decision. This can’t be something that merely exists in your head. It has to be more than a vocal “public commitment,” although that certainly helps. You need to INVEST in “moments” that will alter the trajectory of your life. Those moments must either be a peak, pit, or transition. From my experience, real decisions involve all three — because growth always involves failure, transition, and hopefully success.

From 2010 to 2014, I wanted to be a writer. But I never wrote.

Two very important things happened that finally got me to commit to the dream I had lying dormant within me.

  • I became a foster parent of three incredible kids. That external pressure created internal resolve to live my life to a higher level. The opposite of conventional wisdom is true: It’s not great power that creates responsibility. It’s great responsibility that creates power. When my situation demanded me to be more, I became more. To quote historian Will Durant, “I think the ability of the average man could be doubled if it were demanded, if the situation demanded.”
  • I started INVESTING in my dream of becoming a writer. In 2015, as a graduate student, I was making $12,000 per year. The first major investment in my writing career was eating the $800 cost of buying the domain name: benjaminhardy.com. When I talked with my wife about buying that domain name, she really challenged me. “Is this just a phase? $800 is a lot of money,” she argued. I told her it wasn’t a phase. So she let me buy the domain name.

That investment created a far deeper sense of commitment within me. Had I not made that investment, my commitment would have shrunk, not increased.

I made two other important investments, which have now become “peak memories.” They are moments that stick deeply in my memory. They altered the trajectory of my life. They enhanced my commitment to my dreams. They upgraded my subconscious belief system about what I could do with my life.

I bought a $197 online course which taught me how to write viral headlines and pitch articles to big platforms.

Then, I bought 20 copies of THE ART OF WORK in order to have a 30 minute conversation with Jeff Goins, a writer I aspired to be like. He was doing a promotion trying to sell more copies. This investment was a little bit of a mental stretch at the time. Paying around $250 to have a 30 minute phone call seemed a little crazy. But that phone call opened up lots of mental doors for me. It helped me get information directly from the source — which can be more powerful that reading books or taking online courses.

Actually hearing the person talk to you. And acknowledge YOU. And for them to answer your questions directly is very powerful. Even if the answers they give you aren’t profound.

It’s the fact that you’re WATCHING YOURSELF move in the direction of your dreams.

Those are powerful decisions, with huge consequence.

Your decisions determine your destiny.

Your decisions determine your confidence, or lack thereof.

Your decisions determine your identity — who you become is the product of your consistent choice. Your personality isn’t a fixed and unchanging thing. That’s a myth of Western culture. Your personality is multi-faceted. We all have multiple personalities. And our personalities should never stop developing and changing.

Most people FREEZE in their development because they stop INVESTING in life-altering “MOMENTS.” They stop engineering peaks, pits, and transitions.

They stop making powerful decisions.

They stop creating conditions that force them to adapt in new and more powerful ways.

They stop taking on greater responsibility — and thus, are left with limited power.

The Power of Your Trajectory is Based on the Emotion Behind Your Decision

Very few people make truly committed decisions.

Very few people invest in life-altering moments.

Most people have frozen and fixed personalities — which remain locked-in-place because their environment supports their limiting beliefs and suppressed emotions.

If you want to make big decisions, you need to put yourself into a powerful state of mind. You need to put yourself into an emotional place, where you’re connected with your core values and beliefs. Where you’re really feeling alive.

I don’t have a specific prescription for how to do that. However, a few key components of getting into such a state of mind are:

  • You’ll want to be outside of your routine environment.
  • You’ll want to have plenty of time to contemplate (don’t have your phone on you to distract you) what is meaningful and important to you.
  • You may need to push your physical body hard (the mind and body are two parts of the same whole — as is the environment — none of these are disconnected).
  • You’ll need to INVEST to create a moment. You need to create some form of external demand that provokes a deep internal supply of motivation that is currently not available to you.
  • You’ll need to begin ACTING toward your goal. Confidence doesn’t lead to success. You need to behave successfully to develop confidence. Similarly, clarity and inspiration won’t usually lead to action. It’s action in a positive direction that facilitates clarity and inspiration. Finally, your personality doesn’t set your path. Your path is what produces your personality.

You can and will change if you INVEST in peak experiences, and if you consistently act in desired ways. Confidence is a byproduct. Personality is a byproduct. Your behavior and decisions determine these things.

Decisions determine destiny.