In this interview I talk with Dr. Benjamin Hardy, author of the new book coming out soon ‘Personality Isn’t Permanent’ and my personal writing mentor.
When the Why is Strong Enough, You'll Figure out the How
In this interview, Benjamin takes us back to the beginning of his writing journey and the steps he took to become a successful writer. In this interview we talk about:
- Why Setting Specific Goals Gives Your Brain Something to Actively Focus On
- How Results Over Process Lead to Success
- Why a Morning and Evening Routine Build Confidence
- How Tangible Change Can Take Place in 2 – 3 Years, if You’re Consistently Focused On Your Goal
- Why Personality Tests Give You a Very Limited View of Yourself
- Why Context is Important to Apply Not Only to Your Former Self, but for Every Situation You Encounter
- Why You Need to Shift to Looking at Your Past as ‘How Can it Serve Me Moving Forward’ vs. How Does My Past Limit Me
The Four Levers of Personality from 'Personality Isn't Permanent'
In his new book, Dr. Benjamin Hardy, debunks the pervasive myths and fascination by pop culture regarding personality tests. Instead he focuses on science-based strategies for reframing past memories, becoming the scribe of your identity narrative, upgrading your subconscious, and redesigning your environment.
This includes going into detail the four levers of personality and how they shape who you are:
2. Identity narrative.
This book will change how you think about yourself and inspire you to be intentional about change. You an pre-order your copy of Personality Isn’t Permanent here.
Learn more about Dr. Benjamin Hardy on his website.
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If you are ready to take the next step and launch your freelance writing career, I would love to help you build momentum!
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Speaker 1 (00:02):
All right. And I have the intro already done. Um, so I’ll just have my team sync that up so we’ll be good there. So we’ll just kind of start from there. Sound good? Yeah, let’s do it. Okay, perfect. Well, Dr. Hardy, thank you so much for being here with me today on inspire your success podcast. Happy to be with you, my friend. You’re an awesome guy. Been fun to watch you over the last few years and fun to watch each other, I guess, right? Absolutely. Well, that’s where I have to start and just give you so much. Thanks. Uh, because when I found you in January of 2018, uh, I was in at the time really the worst spot of my life. I can honestly say that I quit my six figure job. I was going to prove to the world I can make money online and my blog was failing miserably.
Speaker 1 (00:42):
And, uh, I really just got down on myself, uh, went through actually. So depression, looking back and, uh, had I not found you, I don’t know really where my life and career would be. Uh, joining app, uh, helped me make my first six figures writing, uh, learn about the subconscious. Now. I absolutely love writing about that stuff and, uh, it’s allowed me to pursue professional golf. So just want to extend my thanks. I know you’ve impacted people all around the world, um, but just thank you so much on two years. Like I said before, uh, we went live here. It’s amazing how much can happen. So thank you for being the catalyst for that.
Speaker 2 (01:16):
Yeah, I love your story. I love watching people who just take an idea and go with it. You know, so it’s, it’s super, uh, it’s fun to see the gains and it’s also cool to recognize that 2020 is going to be a huge year for you, man.
Speaker 1 (01:30):
Thank you. Well, I really, really appreciate that and that’s what, uh, you know, anyone on the show, I love going back to where it started and I think that’s really inspiring for a lot of people, hence the name, inspire your success. And, uh, it’s really fascinating to me how much you’ve been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time. So take us back to like 2014 I was reading some of the book and you’d mentioned that you were, you’d made $13,000 that year as a grad assistant and uh, yeah. How did that transition into like writing on medium and how did you really get your start because that seemed to be the, uh, the beginning point for you.
Speaker 2 (02:04):
Yeah, so I, I began my PhD program in the fall of 2014 so my wife and I moved to South Carolina.
Speaker 1 (02:13):
Speaker 2 (02:14):
August of 2014 started into my PhD program.
Speaker 1 (02:17):
Speaker 2 (02:18):
what you do in a PhD program is you’re usually a grad assistant. You either do research or administration, you work basically just
Speaker 1 (02:24):
a crappy part time job to be honest with you. And it allows you some form of work while you’re going to school.
Speaker 2 (02:33):
So usually graduate research assistants make between like 11,000 and like 13,000 bucks a year. Just, I mean, you’re literally getting like
Speaker 1 (02:42):
a thousand bucks a month. It’s like so cheap how graduate students live. Um, so that was kind of where I was at when I was first like learning about
Speaker 2 (02:53):
stuff like genius network as an example, my aunt Jane joined genius network in 2014 right around that time. And I was able to just like watch her grow her business and I became really interested in that and that exposed me to something new and it allowed me to set a new goal. Mmm. And so in 2015 is when like early 2015 is when we became foster parents of our three kids. And that’s when I started to really think about like my writing career, like blogging. I had wanted to be a writer for a few years, but hadn’t done anything about it yet. Was pretty busy with school and just trying to get into graduate school. Um, that was kind of my major goal at the time was I just want to get into a PhD program and then I’ll figure out the whole writing thing.
Speaker 2 (03:33):
And I had tried writing like a book here or there, but nothing like it just got shelved. And so in 2015, it was probably around like March or April I, I bought the course by John Morrow. And, uh, that’s when I started to learn about viral headlines and about platforms like medium. One of the big things that I think is crucial that allowed me to elevate fast. Whereas I think a lot of other people are still like just blogging away, slamming out hundreds of blog posts. I’ve written probably 150 to 200 blog posts over the last four years. Like I have the volume, I mean 150 to 200 is a lot, but over like four years, that’s not extreme. You know, most of that was within like two or three years. But the volume of my writing isn’t what set me apart. Um, I think the focus and the purpose of my writing is what, what set it apart and I’ll explain that.
Speaker 2 (04:29):
So when I was around that time, early 2015, I was very clear that I wanted to become a professional writer. Like that was something I knew that I wanted to do. I decided that earlier and I was like, I want to, I want to be a published writer. I want to make six figures or more to provide for my family through writing and I wanted to get a traditional book deal and so like what I was describing was my future self at the time. Like I wanted to be someone who was making good money providing for my family through writing and I want to be a published author. I didn’t, this was just for myself and my own goals but I didn’t want to. Although I did self publish a few books along the way, I wanted to be in the traditional houses.
Speaker 2 (05:06):
That was something that I personally wanted. I don’t think it’s necessary for everyone. That’s just what I wanted. And so that, that future self then allowed me to articulate a specific goal, which for me ended up becoming, after getting a lot of information, asking literary agents, asking other authors, I ultimately decided that my goal or my objective was to figure out how to get a six figure book contract with one of the major publishers. And so then once I had that goal and the brain really needs specific goals because, uh, you know, goals create tunnel vision in a lot of ways. They create perspective, they create selective attention, they create, they allow you to focus on something and see it, and it’s gotta be tangible enough. So six figure book deal is tangible enough. I could actually see that and then I could reverse engineer.
Speaker 2 (05:49):
And so I then ask a ton of questions to authors, bloggers, how do you get a six figure book deal? And the kind of theme that I kept hearing was, you gotta, you gotta have a hundred thousand email subscribers. And so once I got that information, that’s then kind of the mindset that I went into when I first like first off, like got the John Morrow, of course I, I went to that John Morrow course before I ever started blogging. Like before I ever wrote a single post, I was like, all right, if I’ve got to get a hundred thousand subscribers, I got to learn how to write viral stuff. I got to fake. And so like my whole process was very intentional. Like it was like, I need to figure out how to get a hundred thousand emails so that I can get my book deal.
Speaker 2 (06:27):
And that’s literally what I did. I got the book deal in like January of 2017 and then the book came out in 2018 or in March of 2018 as far as willpower doesn’t work. But, um, I think that having a very specific goal, um, and then owning when the process isn’t working. So like one of the concepts in personalities and permanent is, is that in order to engage in deliberate practice, like deliberate practice is the type of learning that leads to desire change. Like deliberate practice is real effortful learning. It’s not just doing the same thing over and over and over again. Like it’s not routine learning. It’s, it’s difficult transformational learning. You can’t engage in that type of learning without having a specific vision of a future self in mind with the attributes you’re trying to get. I think as a golfer you can totally relate.
Speaker 2 (07:17):
You know, you, you can’t engage in the type of practice that it was called deliberate for a purpose. Um, and motivation requires also a really clear goal. Um, and also then breaking down the path to getting there and then building the confidence along the way that you can do it. And so for me that was, that was a big part of my path was just, I’m going to get that. Like when the why is strong enough, you’ll figure out the how. And to me, because I was so committed to the outcome, the process kind of took care of itself and I was constantly adjusting my process based on the results I was getting. So I’m very much a results over-processed kind of person. I think that the result really determines the process. It determines the intensity of the process, the clarity of the motivation, the ability to, to engage in deliberate practice.
Speaker 2 (08:07):
And so, uh, I think a lot of writers, I think their problem is that they over-focus on process and they, and they think that that’s enough. They think that if they just keep hacking away at it, that eventually it’s going to open up for them and it’s not, um, things change, you know, like the platform as it is now. Yeah, you can make money on medium, but you’re not going to ever be able to do what I did on that platform again. But you can make a good living there. You know what I mean? As a writer. But you’ll never be able to like put yourself in a position where you can make millions of dollars because of that platform. Yeah, no, I mean you were able to go, I think it was a zero to 400,000 on your email list. I mean that is those kinds of numbers like in like three and a half years.
Speaker 2 (08:46):
You know what I mean? Big companies can’t even get that with paid ads. No. And I was getting 25 to 30,000 a month for like a year and a half, two years, you know, so I mean 400,000 is what it landed on. But you have to realize in order to get to 400,000 I actually probably got about 700 or 800,000 because you get so many unsubscribes. I mean, I burned through and I’ve, I’ve probably burned through four or 500,000 you know what I mean? Because is that when you’re getting that many a thousand opt out on every email that’s like, I guess my numbers pale in comparison to that. So what I’m saying is, is I think that the commitment to a vision and you really have to start with identity. Yeah. Let’s start with who is the V, you know, who is your future self? If you start with identity and then you come up with a tangible result, then you can reverse engineer the process. And as you go through that process, your, your future self becomes your current self.
Speaker 1 (09:37):
Yeah. That’s perfect segue because you taught me a lot about identity and uh, self-image and really the subconscious, and I think we talk about it so much in the personal development world, but I think a lot of people still are like, wait, how does this really impact my life? Like for me, when I read Psycho-Cybernetics, uh, that book really clicks with me for some reason. And so I think that’s really important that you talk about that because like how do you feel that your subconscious does impact your personality and that
Speaker 2 (10:03):
ultimately what you achieve in life? Yeah. So subconscious is, is you on autopilot? It’s, it takes it, it makes up 90% of 95% of what you do. You know, like you’re breathing right now. That’s subconscious. You’re not thinking about it. There’s so many things you’re doing out of habit. And your subconscious is essentially your current habits. Um, it’s, it’s, it’s just you without trying. And so I think that the subconscious is basically a reflection of your current personality, you know, it. And so it’s very much triggered by and channeled by your environment, the roles you’re in, your current identity. Um, and it just plays out over and over. So this is why I want, this is one of the reasons why I’ve personality is so repetitious for people is because they’re on autopilot. They’re just living reactively, I guess you could say, or just without intentional thought.
Speaker 2 (10:50):
I think this is why morning and evening routines are so big is because from my perspective, a key aspect of the morning is to, to not live on autopilot, but to actually put yourself in an intentional frame of mind where you maybe would re envision your future self and say, what am I going to do today to move my life forward? And so, you know, rather than living on autopilot and living subconsciously, you actually want to live consciously and intentionally. And what you do when you actually define a future self and when you every single day give yourself the space to move forward towards. A specific goal is, you know, by living with intention, you have what are generally called peak experiences or just learning experiences. And those experiences uptick your, your subconscious, they reset the new normal where you’re not just on autopilot, but you’re, you’re living up towards your future and your subconscious follows along. And so for me, I’m all about aggressively acting towards my future self, um, which is, uh, by nature acting above your subconscious. Um, and so I do things all the time to Uplevel my subconscious. I mean, I actually believe in the idea of just investing in your subconscious, investing money into your future identity, investing money into your goals, into your mentorships, putting yourself into transformational learning environments, um, doing anything and everything you can to shatter your current perspective of what you think is normal.
Speaker 1 (12:14):
Yeah. And you, you taught me so much about that and that first few months, I mean, I was just like a sponge. Anything you gave me, I just was like running with it and now I, I still go back and through those notes because it’s, it’s made such a big impact. Like you said, investing in yourself, morning routines and that has led me to all kinds of things from meditation, self, hypnosis, hypnotherapy site. No good. I went down, you know, all kinds of things because I’m fascinated by the fact that so much of our identity is shaped at a young age and we can run on autopilot for the rest of our lives unless we change it. So the future self to me is, I like this is a really powerful exercise I think people can do because sometimes it might be a little bit too far out there for some people that aren’t as into spiritual things and stuff like that. So can you talk about the like future self exercise? Like what would that look like? So say you’re listening to this and you know you want to get somewhere but you’re not there yet. Like how far out do you think about your future self? I know for you, you said in 2015 to 2017 it was like a two year thing between basically getting your book deal. So is that like a good timeframe, like two to three years?
Speaker 2 (13:15):
Yeah, I think so. I think, I mean I think you could have a broader version of your future self about like you on your death bed as an example. Like I think it’s healthy to think about what you are ultimately striving to become. But I think on it, on a practical level, I think three years is really, really a good amount of time, two, three years because that’s enough time for tangible change to occur. You can actually do a lot in two or three years. As you and I are both talking about, you know, you’re, if you think about who you were two years ago, like you’ve gone through a lot like uh, and so you can do a lot into or three years. And so you can set a pretty big ambitions and big imaginations and then you can, if you’re, if you’re intentional on a daily basis and if you’re making courageous steps forward and if you’re putting yourself into new experiences and actively learning, like you can be shocked by how much you can, how much you can accomplish in two or three years.
Speaker 2 (14:10):
Like I’ll just be blunt and honest, like my, uh, my, my current goal, my current big goal, which would be equivalent to me wanting the six figure book deal back in 2015 is to sell 10 million copies of this book. Like, and like, I don’t say that flippantly, I’m not trying to say that like, like that goal is absurd. Like, um, just to give some context, like atomic habits has sold about 1.5 million copies. Well, so, and that’s been one of the bigger books like, um, in the last couple of years. And, uh, but I, I, but, um, but I like the idea of committing to 10 million books, um, because, and I’m very clear on why I want that. Like that’s a tangible outcome that would allow me, the version of me that I’m striving to create at the next stage of the next chapter of my own development.
Speaker 2 (14:55):
That would be that. That’s the thing that would enable it. And so I have no clue how I’m going to do it. It’s fundamentally beyond my current capacity, way beyond my current confidence, way beyond my current identity. But, uh, I wrote this book with that in mind and it took an extra year to write it cause I was like, if I’m going to even attempt that, the book’s got at least have, it’s gotta be at a level where it can give that a shot. And so I think the reason why I think this is important is because the thing you’re going for determines how you do what you’re doing right now. Like even how you’re filming this podcast is influenced by what you’re striving for. Like if you’re very clear on what you’re striving for, then this podcast is going to lead to more directed learning. And so I think you need to be clear on what you want because it determines it. And being clear on what you want, that may be scary, but really just deciding what you want. Where do you want this to take you? Because how you, where you want something to go, orients how you deal with this current situation. Um, and so it’s, it influences how you see what you’re doing. It influences how you do what you’re doing and it influences what the experiences you have along the way turn you into.
Speaker 1 (16:09):
Gotcha. So is that something that you feel like they should, like someone should write down and then as part of a morning and evening routine, just constantly think about it, visualize it, and really just stay in that process. Because a lot of times it’s three year vision sounds great and you’re excited about it. But then like you said, life happens bad day, things like that. Is it the morning and evening routines? Do you feel like really ground that and cement it into your subconscious?
Speaker 2 (16:32):
Uh, I think that, I think that that’s really where you build your confidence. Yeah. I think that, I think you, I think it allows you to be intentional, which then allows you to do the things during the day that update your subconscious. I think just doing a morning and evening routine and in and of themselves may not be enough. But I think that what they do is they paved the path for you to live intentionally and maybe even potentially courageously. And those are the things, the experiences that Uplevel your subconscious. Um, so yeah, I think that morning and evening routine just allow you to, to set a path. So on a daily basis you can, you can actually make steps forward. It’s the steps forward. They create peak experiences and the peak experiences are what creates this reframe the subconscious.
Speaker 1 (17:14):
Absolutely. And I remember still one of the Thomas Edison quote and uh, it’s amazing still when I will, I will ask my subconscious a question and sometimes it won’t come the next morning or even the next week. But man, those answers seem to come to me. And so it is a powerful exercise is adding a few little things at night before you go to bed. And really just priming yourself for success.
Speaker 2 (17:33):
Yeah. I really think it’s literally just directing your brain. I think it’s, I think, I think the big, one of the big problems with just all of us, this is that we, we have these brilliant tools, our brain, our mind, all these things, but we just don’t direct them. Like we just, they just like are dormant or directionless and so we don’t get as much out of them as we could. And so I think that these exercises are really about just channeling. Like one of the things that Dan Sullivan says that I like is, and this really goes with selective attention is, is that your eyes near your, you know, your eyes can only see in your ears, can only hear what your brain is looking for. And so one of the reasons why setting goals is so big is because it literally just gives your brain something to actively work on and chew on.
Speaker 2 (18:14):
Like for me, for example, I didn’t have to write this book, um, but because I was writing this book, my brain spent two years thinking about personality. Like, if I had chosen to do something different, my brain would have spent two years thinking about that. And so I think what you do when you have a goal is, is you just give your brain a direction of something to work on. Um, and then obviously it can become an identity and it can reshape your subconscious, your biology, et cetera. So I just think we are responsible for what we direct ourselves towards. And then we’ve got amazing tools and systems that help you along the way. Subconscious brain, et cetera.
Speaker 1 (18:52):
Right, right. Yeah, no, I think so many people just don’t spend the time getting clear about what they want and then they just go through the same week, month, year, and then they look back and they’re like, what happened with my life? So yeah, I think intentional has really helped me. So you talk about the book, obviously you had willpower doesn’t work in March of 2018 you said now, uh, coming up here, you’re going to have your next one. Uh, what was, what really inspired you to write this book? Was it something during the last one or was it just another experience?
Speaker 2 (19:18):
It was, um, to be honest with you, it was reading the book. The body keeps the score, the body keeps, the score is a really big book. I read it and I think the fall of 2018 maybe even the summer of 2018 and one of the big, by the way, that book the body keeps the score is like the number one book on trauma. Just a big old media book. But one of the things that that book talked about is that trauma creates a frozen personality and I had never really set up set out to write a book on personality. I actually think that this topics a lot thicker and harder to work with then like willpower and habits and things like that. This is a lot broader but also a lot deeper. Um, so I wasn’t really thinking about writing this book, but when I was listening to that book, um, it just helped me realize that there’s, there’s things that need to be addressed in order for people that go through the personal development changes that I know are possible.
Speaker 2 (20:09):
And, and there’s asks, there’s things that need to be explained and address so that people can, uh, set themselves up. So that change can happen because there are things that make it very difficult, almost impossible to make desired changes. One being trauma. Um, even the subconscious, like you need to understand various things about it in order for you to really leverage it to make big jumps in your life. So I just wanted to write the book that helps people understand why it’s so easy to get stuck in the past. Why it’s so easy to get stuck in patterns. Why it’s so easy to go on autopilot. Um, you know, environment roles, you know, your story. Just like literally laying it out from the foundation so that Mmm. And personality really is. And, and what’s interesting about personality as well as just what a popular, trendy topic it is.
Speaker 2 (21:01):
You know, like personality tests are a multibillion dollar industry. Like people really are trying to understand who they are. Uh, and I think that the mainstream perspectives and the general approach of people is really a limiting mindset about what all this is. And so I just, I wanted to kind of bust some of the myths and cause a stir with this book. Okay. I like it. Disrupting the industry. So what are some of the common myths with personality? Cause I know that’s something that I’ve had a few coaches talk about. Knowing your personality and working with people that are, uh, you know, for the right role if you’re outsourcing and things like that. So what are some of the common ones that we, uh, and take us back, I’m in the first major one is that there’s such thing as personality types. Hmm. Like that, that’s like, that’s a very low level way of looking at people.
Speaker 2 (21:53):
Holotypes you’re talking just like broad, like extrovert, introvert, ambivert, things like that. Well, yeah, I mean, to some degree like those, those, yeah. Like to throw people into that category and assume it’s always true. Like you may actually consider yourself an introvert, but that’s not always true. Like I would argue that context which would show that there’s some situations where that’s true and there are some situations where that’s not. Uh huh. Um, and so personality tests like Myers and Briggs that give you a score and then they put you into a category or as a type of person, uh, are not scientific. Like they’re, they’re scientifically flawed. They’re not consistent, they’re not valid. And what the research shows is that if you take those tests over a long enough period of time, your scores are going to change. If you take those tests in different environments or with a different emotional, you know, and you’re in a different mood, like you’re gonna get different scores for a million different reasons.
Speaker 2 (22:43):
Um, you know, one, one study showed that there was two separate groups. One, one group took the same test over, uh, you know, two times over a period of time with the same test administrator. The other group got the same test, same amount of same time interval, but with two different administrators. And that alone led to like totally different scores. Like with a different administrator, you get way different scores. Whereas in the other group it was a little more consistent. Um, so these are really finicky tests. Um, the reason people really love and like them is because what they do is they provide people with a sense of identity. If you haven’t spent the time to clarify and define your own sense of self, these which I think very few people have, um, then these tests can provide a lot of relief because then you feel like you can explain yourself to other people.
Speaker 2 (23:32):
Oh. Like, you know, you get a score and it allows you some form of constraints to be able to explain yourself. Like, Oh, I’m this, not that. And I think that’s really it. It removes a lot of, um, like confusion or ambiguity for people. It allows them to simplify their life. And explain their identity to people. So it gives people an identity. It also gives people labels and it creates tunnel vision where you assume that the label is where you assume the labels always true. And then you overly come to defend the label and you use the label as the basis for your goals rather than seeing that it’s a snapshot and a perspective and that it’s going to change. And that, you know, rather than basing your whole life on this score, what if you chose what you really wanted? Um, and you know, and so I think it leads to a fixed mindset.
Speaker 2 (24:19):
Um, so, but the general consensus just to pull it all together is, is that your personality, you, and it’s something that must be discovered. Uh, and so this is what leads people to taking personality tests is because they’re trying to discover themselves. Mmm. The other, you know, main, main perspectives are that it’s generally unchangeable and that it’s based on your past. And so this leads people to go search themselves out to get the right tests. And then once they’ve discovered themselves, then they can build their whole life around this personality so that they can be happy. Um, it’s a very plain, very pain versus pleasure way of looking at people where it’s like, you should only do those things that bring joy or you know, that bring pleasure and you should avoid everything that creates pain. But I think, you know, thinking about you, like I guarantee you’ve gone through huge amounts of pain mentally, emotionally, et cetera, to become the golfer you are, right.
Speaker 2 (25:15):
Yeah. Would you argue it, has it been the hardest thing you’ve ever done? I would, I would argue it’s either golf or entrepreneurship. And those are the two things that you keep pursuing. Like none of them are easy for you, right? No, no, absolutely. I mean, I was the worst golfer in high school, worst golfer in college. I actually barely made the team freshman year. You basically the coach said, I see something in you. And then four years later I was the best player on the team. So, uh, it’s, and it’s constantly having to level up. So yeah, a hundred percent. I mean me writing is not easy for me. Like yeah, sometimes I can get into a flow state and sometimes I can just bust it out. But like that has nothing to do with my innate personality that has to do with like the rules that I’ve put myself through to develop these skills and perspectives.
Speaker 2 (26:01):
And so the idea that you should just find who you are and then pursue what’s natural is totally a very limited perspective and it leads people to mediocre not only identities but mediocre pursuits. And you see this in pop culture these days, like teenagers these days are boycott, boycotting, having to do like in class oral presentations because it’s too scary and they shouldn’t be required to do something that causes anxiety. They should have, they should be able to, we tailor the education around like what’s comfortable to them. This is the type of thinking of, I have an innate self, I have an authentic self and I should only do what’s comfortable to me. And like that’s a very limiting view of personality. How do you think your personality has changed over those six years? Now that you’re, that you’ve been doing all this, what kind of big transformations or shifts have you seen? Oh my goodness. Mmm.
Speaker 2 (27:01):
Just so I’ll start with the biggest and the most obvious being of going from zero to five kids. Like how does that not change you? Like, um, going from zero to three kids out of the gate and three of these kids are foster kids. Like that’s been such a transformational journey, so difficult for the first year of being a foster parent. I didn’t want to do it like it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and it’s still the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Uh, but over time, if you invest in something, you start to develop purpose in it. And so like, I’ve now come to get a lot of purpose out of being a father and it’s, it’s reframed my goals. It’s reframed what matters to me. It reframes my perspective, uh, and, and gives me a sense of purpose that then shifts what I do.
Speaker 2 (27:52):
Um, so, you know, like if I didn’t have these kids, I would be in a different place. I don’t know who I’d be or where I would be, to be honest with you or what I’d be pursuing. But because of these kids, it alters my goals. It alters my focus. Uh, and I think that I’ve become a lot more mature because of having to go through this. Mmm. Going even through a PhD program has made me a lot different of a thinker. Um, one of my favorite quotes from Robert Kiyosaki is that intelligence is the ability to make finer distinctions. And I think finer distinctions is just the ability to see things differently than other people see them. And I think my PhD program led me to, to looking at the world very differently as a psychologist where I can, where when I even look at my old writing, I think it’s radically overly simplistic.
Speaker 2 (28:44):
And like I disagree with even a lot of my former writing, um, because I don’t see the world the same way. Like I love the course. I, you know, you’re evolving, right? Yeah. I mean, I love the quote from a Landay button. If you’re not embarrassed by who you were 12 months ago, you didn’t learn enough, but this same line of thinking should be applied to your future self. Your future self is not you. If there, hopefully they see the world a lot better than how you see it right now. Hopefully they’ve got a lot more mature perspectives, mature goals, or more mature values. Hopefully they value and spend their time in better ways. Hope, hopefully they’ve gained some harder and wisdom through wins, losses, failures, learning experiences. And so if you realize that your future self is a different person than you, and then you can hold more loosely your current identity and you don’t have to overly defend it and assume that who you are right now is the finished product like the Harvard psychologist.
Speaker 2 (29:41):
Mmm. But what’s his name? Daniel Gilbert. He, he’s got a great Ted talk called the psychology of your future self. Brilliant Ted talk. Definitely check it out. It’s like seven minutes long. It’s short. He talked about, one of his core quotes from that idea is that human beings are, works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished. No human beings think that who they are right now is the finished product. Not true. They’re going to change whether they’re intentional or not. Um, and so if you think you’re a finished product, I mean you’ve got this fixed mindset already and so I liked the idea of owning the fact, but yeah, you can see some big change in the past but hopefully you’ll see that same level if not bigger change in the future. And if that’s true then your current views are wrong or at least they’re wrong from the perspective of your future self. And so that would require updating yourself and having experiences and continuously learning and not overly holding onto who, who you think you are or your identity.
Speaker 1 (30:40):
You feel like as people go through this journey they have to like learn to forgive themselves for the past and really just get intentional about the future. That seems to be the biggest theme that I’ve found so far in my own life and obviously just with our talk today is that you really just need to get clear about your future self and understand that you are going to change. And that your environment, the people around you, all that will change. Is that kind of come with the territory?
Speaker 2 (31:02):
I think that forgiving former self is huge. I mean one aspect of the past is that it’s not objective. Like just as an example, like there’s the Stephen Covey quote, we don’t see the world as it is and we see it as we are. And so like the same is true of our past. Like we see the past from the perspective of our current selves. Mmm. And so if you still view the past the same way you did, like let’s just say various experiences the same way you did the moment they happen. What that means is that you have a frozen personality. What that means is that you haven’t adapted and developed and matured your perspective of those former experiences. And so yes, it’s huge to forgive your former self. Yes. It’s huge to have empathy towards your former self because they’re a different person than you there.
Speaker 2 (31:45):
They were in a different situation. They were handling things differently. They, they uh, they didn’t have the knowledge you have. They didn’t have the situation. You haven’t. So it’s good to refer first off, realize that that’s not you right now. Um, and it’s good to be incredibly empathetic towards that person and to further realize why they were the way they work. Cause you’ve got different contexts and so you know, there’s good content and you have context and the context is always more, more powerful. Um, and so when you change the context, you actually changed the content. So I’ll give an example. My, my mother-in-law was recently at the gym to tell you the story or no, I don’t believe so. Yeah. So my mother in law was recently at the gym and Mmm, like literally like a couple of weeks ago and there was a very obese woman in the gym, like working out, you know, and this woman wearing incredibly tightly fitted workout clothes.
Speaker 2 (32:42):
And it was like awkward for a lot of people cause it was like, what? Like it’s something you just don’t really see every day, you know? Um, but this, this girl looked pretty confident. Like she was just holding herself even though like people were maybe giving her like terrible looks in. My mother-in-law was intrigued. And so like they’re working out kind of closely to there. My mother in law was asking her some questions and she found out that this woman has, you know, over the last year or so lost 150 pounds. Wow. So just a quick question for you. How does that information change how you would view this? This, this girl?
Speaker 1 (33:15):
Oh yeah, a hundred percent different.
Speaker 2 (33:17):
So did the content change? Did, did you, did your, did she change or did your view of her change? Yeah, just the view of her change. So that’s, that’s what we’re talking about here. How context changes. Content context is so much more important than just the thing. And so memory is the exact same way. Your memory is flexible and it’s always changing as is your story of the past. And as you become kind of a more conscious and emotionally developed person, you, you become the narrator of your former experiences. You shaped the context, you shaped the meaning of, of what your experience has meant. And so yeah, the, your past should change. It needs to change even your current version of the past. Uh, hopefully your future self sees it differently, better, more mature, and can use it. I mean, one of the things that you want from your past is you want your past to be information.
Speaker 2 (34:07):
You don’t want it to be emotion. If it’s emotion, then that means you’re still being driven by the past and you’re still making decisions based on the pain of former experiences and you’re probably pursuing more limiting goals. But if, but if you’ve gone back and if you’ve addressed it and if you’ve altered the context and the meaning of your former experiences, then you can use the experiences you’ve had as information to make better decisions in the future. So from that standpoint, your past can be something that’s happened for you, not to you. It’s something that could be incredibly valuable, a huge resource that you can use to make better decisions and, and to avoid a lot of problems and pain in the future. But if it’s something that you haven’t addressed, then chances are because you’re avoiding it and haven’t dealt with it, you’re going to just be repeating it.
Speaker 1 (34:51):
Yeah, that’s, I love that you said life’s happening for you. I think that that’s something I always carry with me and I remember like you had mentioned, if you look at a past event the same way as you do now, like there’s something wrong, and I remember at the time it was like 2015 and I didn’t get this job promotion that I thought I deserved and I was so upset I was going to quit. I was having like the worst day ever. I felt ashamed, embarrassed, everyone thought I was getting the job. Instead I started writing my first book and a year and a half later I got the job and then I quit right after that because I had already become a different person. I became a different person and now looking at that moment, it was the worst thing that could happen. I was so ashamed and embarrassed and now I’m like, that’s,
Speaker 2 (35:29):
and having that perspective because it made me
Speaker 1 (35:31):
get out of my box and begin entrepreneurship and starting this whole journey. But yeah, sometimes it’s really easy to get emotional. So I, like you said,
Speaker 2 (35:38):
stay objective, look at the past and how it can serve you, but don’t let it limit it and uh, really have that fixed mindset for obviously what you can do for the rest of them. Yeah. That’s great. Awesome. Well, I know, uh, we got a little bit of time last year, but one thing that you briefly mentioned and I’m curious about as well as speaking of these past events and you mentioned trauma and in that book, uh, what, you know, if there are, seems like some people have these big events that really have shaped their life and is that something that no, usually usually they’re negative. Sometimes they’re positive as well. But a lot of times those really hold us back from reaching our, our next future self and our true potential. So is that something you talk about in the book and find ways to help people get over past events that have really shaped their lives?
Speaker 2 (36:24):
Yes, there’s a whole chapter on trauma. Uh, so just just for overview, there’s four levers of personality. One is trauma, two is your identity narrative. The way you explain yourself, three is subconscious, four is environment. These are the four things that shape who you are. Um, and if you don’t address or change these things and you’re going to keep showing up the same way. And so trauma, I would try, I would argue that the probably, I honestly don’t know if I could say any of them are bigger than the others. Mmm. But trauma is huge. I mean, trauma, unresolved trauma is definitely, it influences you. So there’s, there’s a few quotes here. One is from Peter Levine. Peter Levine said, trauma isn’t what happens to you. It’s what you hold inside in the absence of an empathetic witness. Um, so Peter Levine is a, yeah, he’s an expert on trauma.
Speaker 2 (37:14):
He wrote a book called waking, waking the tiger. But the idea is that it’s not what happens to you. It’s what you hold inside in the absence of an empathetic witness. It’s what you hold inside. You internalize it. Some negative event happens to you and you internalize it into a story. And that’s, they call it a cognitive commitment in psychology. But essentially you commit to an idea, um, and in that story then forms your identity and that identity then forms what you do. And, and so the other quote is from Robert Brault and he said, we’re kept from our goal, not by obstacles, but by a clear path to a lesser goal. And so the idea is, is that, let’s just say you, let’s just say you want to be a professional golfer and you, you have some massive defeat. Something happens. You either get hindered or you just straight up lose a contest and it’s just brutal, brutally painful.
Speaker 2 (38:04):
Um, yeah. Basically. Or let’s just say some pros that you admire just tells you, walks up to you and just says, do I just want to let you know, I’m just going to try to save you some pain. There’s no way you’re going to make it in this world. Like, you know what I mean? Like one of your favorite, what’s your favorite golfer walked up to you and said that to you. Um, and so the idea is, is that trauma could be an event. I mean, something bad happens, but it could also just be something that someone said to you. The idea is that you internalize a story and that would, that happens. That story is that it completely shuts off your imagination towards the future. It was so painful and internalized as a fixed mindset. And the commitment is that I shouldn’t do this anymore.
Speaker 2 (38:45):
Or, or whatever limiting form that is. And it leads you to pursuing something different, generally pursuing lesser goals. Because there it’s just easier. You just, you would re you’d avoid the pain of dealing with that again, they, and so obviously this is why you need an empathetic witnesses is why in order to go kind of big and foreign things, you need coaching. You need mentoring because there’s so many ups and downs to learning and development and deliberate practice and things like that that Mmm, you can’t really do it on your own. Like you need literally lots of people to support you through the emotional highs and lows. Otherwise, some events can occur. It can be framed as a trauma and you’re going to say, I just don’t have it in me. This is my level, this is the max. I can go with this thing.
Speaker 2 (39:29):
I can’t, like I’ve hit my peak when that’s not necessarily true. It’s just, it’s just you. You’re now, you’ve, you’ve lost your imagination. You’re no longer pursuing a future self because now it’s just too painful and hard. So trauma shapes what you do and who you are. And if you’ve had hard experiences in the past, chances are your future is incredibly limited as far as how you see it. And, and you’re dealing with it in negative ways, whether that be addiction or other coping mechanisms. And so how a lot of people explain it is that your personality is generally or often the coping mechanism to your former trauma that you haven’t resolved.
Speaker 1 (40:10):
Wow, that’s really good. I love the third, like you said, having that third party. Like I remember when I had a hot seat call with you and I said something and you, you don’t know my past, you don’t know any of this stuff and you just told me what to do. And I had never even thought about it. I was like, Oh I should just double my rates. And from then on I’ve only had double end rates and they went higher. But I would so limit still I think and I wasn’t good enough or experienced enough, all that stuff. And now I have coaches and masterminds and things like that. And it’s amazing what that objective party can, can help you out with. Cause if you can’t do it all alone,
Speaker 2 (40:40):
- And you get so in your head and you box yourself in with all the emotions that you need, an outside perspective and an outside witness to give you a different perspective and to help you realize that your views aren’t totally, totally great in the moment and that you can, you can change how you see this thing and you can change your perspective. So you definitely need outside parties to help you, uh, to reshape how you see even former experiences or how you deal with future experiences that are going to be difficult as you’re pursuing some future self.
Speaker 1 (41:12):
Nice. Well, I’m excited for you. I know personality isn’t permanent, is going to be a great book July 16th there. So, uh, I’m excited for you to hit that 10 million copies. I’m happy to contribute to those as well. Uh, before as my last question, what is the best place that people can follow along and get constant, uh, Benjamin wisdom in their lives?
Speaker 2 (41:30):
Yeah, Benjamin hardy.com is the current, you know, blogging situation is, who knows what it’s going to be in the future. But a personality is impermanent is the thing to consider. It’s a, it is a book that I think will transform your life and your thinking and you can get it on Amazon, Barnes, noble, audible, Kindle, wherever, wherever you like books. Perfect. Love it. And off of the last question, what do you still is something that people can run with obviously besides just reading the book, uh, that someone can really start to begin to reprogram their personality. What’s like the first step they could take? Um, I would say be freaking open and honest about what you really want. You know, like for example, your, you’ve told me for a long time you wanted to be a professional golfer. I think that that’s very admirable that your story is based on your future self, not on your former self and you’re striving to be consistent with that future self.
Speaker 2 (42:22):
And I think that that’s rare. I think that, uh, often people are not explicit and blunt and fully open about what they truly want. I think that often we, we hide what we really want so that we can be accepted by peers or things like that. So my, my, my challenge would be to really think about what would you truly want choose if you could have it, you might not ever get it and you might fail along the way, but what would you, what would you choose to pursue? Because you want it that bad. And then to turn that interior new year, new narrative that’s you’re feeding yourself and that’s now how you describe yourself. But this is who you are and this is what you’re going for. And what once you start to say what you’re going to do and who you’re going to be, rather than defaulting and saying who you’ve been and what you’ve done, uh, then you start to get a more clarified identity and your identity becomes more focused on the future self that you genuinely want.
Speaker 2 (43:16):
And then your behavior can become a lot more clear and you can become a lot more intentional. How about taking active steps in that direction, having the transformational learning experiences along the way. So I would, I would challenge people to be explicit and honest about what they really want and, uh, to start telling that to everyone and then start using that as your, kind of, your metric for how you live on a daily basis. Incredible answer. I could go on and on with you as a man. Thank you so much for being on the show and I’m so excited for your book launch. Yeah, man. Absolutely. We, I think we sent you a PDF so it’s all yours. Yes. I just got it. I’m super excited about it, so thank you again. Yeah. Happy to be on your show, brother. Perfect. Cool. No, I’ll hit pause there. Okay.
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