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DIGEST THIS! THE ESSENTIAL IDEA:
Most books sell you the romanticized version of a journey towards living the life of your dreams. This is the book that DOESN’T. Instead, it takes you down the darker, less serene route to fulfilment of your ambitions. It awakens you to the negative future you’re creating, resulting in a life unfulfilled. It compels you to confront the undesired consequences of not changing. It highlights the value of pain to motivate you to transformation and reinvention – NOW.
- Your identity keeps you stuck
- To change, learn to reframe the stories you tell yourself
- There’s power in what follows the phrase “I am” – choose wisely
- Learn to think like a scientist
- Use dark motivation – feel the weight of the consequences of not changing – to transform yourself.
- “True change doesn’t happen until you decide to change. You won’t decide to change unless not changing is worse.”
- “Choices have consequences” – past decisions might lead to a regret filled future, but you can choose to change direction at any point.
- How? Choose to reinvent yourself.
- This is not merely about self-improvement or setting new goals. This is much more fundamental. This is about instigating the death of your former selves, and creating anew.
- “One has to kill a few of one’s natural selves to let the rest grow—a very painful slaughter of innocents” (Henry Sidgwick).
- It’s not the past we need to let go of – we need to let go of the identity we have created around our past selves.
- You have to be willing to discard an identity you’ve spent a long time creating – you have to be willing to lose what you already have, to give you room to grow anew.
- It’s not about the change itself – you have to become the type of person who is capable of making the change you want to see.
- You need to believe change is possible – change is so much harder when you see yourself as a fixed entity with hard-wired and inescapable characteristics. Instead adopt a growth mindset.
USE DARKER MOTIVATIONS FOR CHANGE
- Conventional motivational texts merely encourage you to “follow your dreams” – this doesn’t work. There’s a lack of urgency and drive.
- “When the future isn’t here yet, you can always put it off”. The problem with the approach of just “following your dreams” is that your dreams can easily be shelved – you easily get side-tracked by the everyday demands of life – then in years to come you look back and wonder what happened. “How the hell did I end up here?”
- Instead, to gather the necessary momentum needed to drive transformative change, focus on the consequences of not following your dreams. Envision the end result of not changing, of continuing on with the status quo.
- “One of the reasons we don’t make behavior change in the present is because we don’t feel the weight of the consequences we’ll experience in the future.”
- “If you can’t figure out what will help you live a better future, figure out what will make your future worse and avoid it.”
- “When you truly see where your future is headed, you’ll be inspired to change”. You need “your situation to hurt bad enough to want to change”. Use that pain to say yes to anything that will move you in a new direction.
- If you don’t take direction you effectively “fall asleep at the wheel” of your life, and the end result is ending up in a ditch.
- “Choke the life out of the person who continues to daydream and do nothing.”
POWER OF IDENTITY
- “The reality you’re experiencing right now is nothing more than a set of stories you’re telling yourself.”
- We humans have a great ability to rationalise our situation, committing to a started course of action even if it leads us down a less than desired path, rather than re-committing to change.
- To help you realise what you are committing to – perhaps unwittingly – you need to make your stories conscious.
- The “I am” story is a powerful one. “The words you put after “I am” determine the quality of your life.”
- E.g. “I am lazy” helps you uncover your story and beliefs. By making a subtle change in the phrase, you can change the way you view and feel about yourself. “I can work on becoming more motivated”- provides a sense of space, agency and power to change.
- “Broke is a circumstance and poor is an identity”. The former gives you more agency to change direction.
- Reframing your story helps you to reshape the identity that is keeping you stuck.
- Treat yourself like the hero in your own story. Use phrases and stories that enable you to move from X to Y.
YOU ARE ENOUGH
- Stop believing you are not enough. You do not need to find your passion “like it’s playing a game of hide and seek with you”. You do not need to get “x” to feel “y”. The key to a better life does not exist outside of you.
- “The most subtle and insidious idea in existence is that you’re not enough.”
- Getting unstuck, moving forward, changing direction is about elimination – unpeeling what’s holding you back rather than needing to add more.
- Certainty does not exist. We often settle for being an employee, feeling this gives us security over income and work, but all we are doing is putting our fate into someone else’s hands.
- “Stop waiting to be picked” – create your own path, don’t leave it to fate, don’t leave your life outcome in the hands of another. Rely on the person who knows you best – YOU.
- If you keep waiting to be found, “you’ll wait for the government to fix the economy, you’ll wait for the perfect moment to write that book … you’ll blink and years will have gone by … you’ll be a different version of yourself… [one with] a hardened heart, resignation, desperation, and repetition to the point of insanity”.
- “If you continue to wake up and go to that same mediocre job for the rest of your life while avoiding choosing yourself, you’ll regret it.”
- Develop a side hustle, say yes to new opportunities – don’t settle. Expand the breadth of opportunities that will allow you to be in the driving seat of your own life.
THINK LIKE A SCIENTIST
- “Passion doesn’t come from introspection. It comes from action.”
- Finding your passion does involve uncovering what’s already inside you, but you can’t sit alone in a room and decide – discovering your passion comes from doing, taking, experimenting.
- Interests alone are not enough to succeed – “seeds of interests [are] waiting to sprout, but they won’t grow without watering them with action”.
- “Reinvention on a grand scale comes with dozens of smaller reinventions, and those reinventions come through experiments.”
- Think like a scientist – develop a hypothesis of what you think you might like, then test that theory out. Observe what works and what doesn’t work. Discard what doesn’t feel aligned and capitalise on what does. Test further, pivot, pilot – then decide on a path.
- E.g. your hypothesis could be “If I start writing, I’ll enjoy it”. Don’t leave it there – take action – set forth and test that hypothesis out.
- Do not quit your test too early – it is challenging to stick with the early period of incompetence in learning something new – keep going unless you are sure this isn’t the right area of work for you. “The goal of your experiment is to see if it’s a path worth pursuing long-term”. Make your decision to stick or quit based on what gives you the best chance of living the way you want to live in the long term.
- How do you know if you are on the right path:
- 1) How do the “little victories” feel? E.g. do you feel an element of success or joy when you publish your first few blog posts? How you feel about the small wins along the way will help give you indicators as to whether you are on the right track.
- 2) Do you feel “on flow” whilst carrying out activities? “Flow happens when you become so immersed in what you’re doing you lose your sense of self. It’s also known as being ‘in the zone’”.
- 3) “It’s not what you do but how much love you put into it”. How much love, inspiration, or joy do you feel when you carry out your work?
- 4) Do you find yourself thinking about doing the work in the longer term or full time?
- We sometimes expect too much of passion too early on – you are more likely to feel passion after you get good at something. Building skills involves lots of highs and lows, difficulties and challenges along the way.
- “If you give yourself enough time to get good at something, you’ll feel passionate about it and you’ll have the skills you need to make a real impact.”
- When you build a valuable skill, you gain “career capital” – this gives you autonomy – you can start to set your own terms, break free and create a business that aligns with your desired lifestyle.
- “Success means you did the things you said you were going to do.”
- This means tackling the beast known as resistance.
- “Resistance is a silent killer, waiting to pounce on your hopes and smother your dreams.”
- No matter how much you succeed or how far you go, resistance will be your unwanted companion – the more you face up to this, the easier it will be to plan for its sneaky attacks towards failure. “Know your enemy and know yourself.”
- Resistance is especially powerful at the beginning of a new journey.
- How to face the enemy of resistance?
- 1) Remember your rewards – when you encounter setbacks and challenges, think about the rewards you will get from succeeding – passing the finishing line, publishing that book, seeing your children’s faces beam with pride …
- 2) Protect your mind-space – a significant element of reinventing yourself is changing the way you think – you need to protect the space between your ears – feed it with healthy information and guard it against negativity. Build your filter. When you hear something that doesn’t help you become better, dismiss it as noise – beware of what’s in it for those trying to feed you such information. Ask – “would you trade places with the person giving you the information?” If not, dismiss it.
- When you want to change, don’t just focus on the positive actions needed to get there, think about and pre-plan for the obstacles that will get in your way.
- Work on removing as many barriers as possible.
- E.g. your environment can help enhance your journey or detract from it.
- Stop focusing on negative circumstances, wishing for something different, fighting against what is. Accept the situation. This allows you to determine options and enable your power to move forward to your desired reality.
Read the book here and find out more about adopting the approach of a scientist to reinvent yourself.