Do you want to feel like you have a purpose?
Do you want the feeling of having an impact on your surrounding?
Do you feel like there is more YOU inside of you that is suppressed by notions of unworthiness, consciousness and frustration?
The Minute you get external in your life, you lose control of your own happiness, and external factors cannot make you happy! There is just no way!
This article is for any one person that has a clear dedication to absorb information and knowledge in order to grow, or to the person who simply wants to widen their horizon and belief in what you identity actually is and what the different components of the identity affect your life.
I know this is a long one but bear with me on this one, since I can almost guarantee that you will find parts of this article that will resonate with you. Although I highly advise you to either save the article to a time where you can read it all or to not skip any parts since this might result in you having a problem understanding some terms that were mentioned earlier in the article.
The opinion expressed in this article is by no means an “end all, be all” – and any reader is free to absorb only the parts that can be of use to their own way of shaping their identity, no opinion is in any way forced upon you and should be read like it is, an opinion.
Although I have spent about 2-3 months writing and collecting data for this article, a lot of it comes from my own struggle in finding ways to understand and how to shape my own identity and that journey has been going on for a much longer time.
Internal and External
I am using the terms “internal” and “external” extensively in this article. “External” should be read as any causes or actions outside of your mind and control that you cannot affect (but can influence, in other words striving to make it a one-way street).
The term “external” should be objective in the sense that it is either good or bad but a mere fact of its existence and presence.
The term “internal” is the thing that is only yours, that no one else can control (but affect). The term “internal” should also be objective and be no cause of any opinion. The goal with the “internal” interpretation is simply to understand that this is yours and the strive should be to control the influence the “external” has on the “internal”.
Here are the 13 steps in how to shift your identity.
#1. Notions of Identity
Tony Robbins: Notions of identity drives behaviour.
I have not taken part in a lot of Tony Robbin’s content, but this quote is something I found somewhere along my research of the identity. I decided to make my own interpretation of this expression, and not let his opinion of it affect me.
I read it as a way to tell you that if you want to change your behavior, you need to think of yourself in a different way. In doing this, you can leverage your behavior in a really powerful way by “simply” change the notion of identity.
But, if it were this easy this article would pretty much stop here.
Identity is the invisible force that too few people recognize as a driving factor. The results of using the identity as a driving factor move every external impression to your periphery (and under your control) and all the internal effects take place (which are the ones you can control).
Being consistent with this concept, this idea and understanding the worth of this is something that you owe to yourself and will inevitably become the second nature that you will never ever again question.
#2. That what you do not hate, you will eventually tolerate
This is also a quote, but this time by Malcolm X.
I think that this is something that is present in a lot of peoples lives, in other words; Your “average” becomes your slowest affixation and over time you become immune to the average you are becoming, hence hindering growth.
I know, I also had to read that sentence a couple of times since it was hard to really get this thought in writing, but what it is saying is that you are minimizing where you are at.
For example: If you have gained weight, you have to accept it and understand that this is something that might not be good for your health, and once accepting it the feeling will rise to the surface of your attention and you will “admit it” to yourself, rendering it a thought that won’t affect you, since it is not a thought you are “afraid of”.
Dealing with it through behavior such as exercise is not connected to a feeling, but an action.
When changing a thought from “unwanted” to “accepted” (note: accepted not “wanted”), you can begin to tolerate it and to let your rational mind deal with it instead of your feelings.
On the contrary, we are so afraid of pain that we don’t magnetize to what degree pain is affecting us. You’re gonna get out of life what you accept.
We don’t understand pain as the adjective (read below at p.10) and thus becomes afraid of it.
Pain should be dealt with by actions, not by feelings. It’s really difficult for people to understand how much they think they’re worth and what they tolerate.
But the truth is that what they tolerate is dependent on what they bring into their life and their attention.
Let yourself feel (“do”, as in controlling it) the pain and the difficulty of not being where you want to be, or experiencing what you want to experience.
There are 2 single motivators that you can use to take action, the drive to pleasure (achieving acceptance) and the avoidance of pain.
#3. You are Always Going Somewhere
Think about this.. I know it sounds obvious, but is there a set amount of happiness that is enough for you?
I mean will you be satisfied if you achieve x amount of pleasure and great experiences and just call it to not ever need to experience this again?
And what is taking you further? It is only one thing and it is your identity, and the notion of identity and behavior that determines where.
It’s a good idea to not only talk about the results of success but also when your life is moving in a direction in which you don’t want it to.
“I will only be this sad”, “I will never be happier, this is my state of existence”.
Trust me, the expression “You have to reach rock bottom in order to be able to lift yourself up” is not something to live by. Although I understand it, rock bottom is not tangible. It can always get worse, and if this expression is to be used, it’s not the rock bottom that shifts your future, but the motivator mentioned above, the avoidance of pain.
Another great quote from a poet and singer Conor Oberst can also shed some light in understanding what the difference in the motivator is here:
“Pain becomes pleasure, if you want it instead”
There is a difference in telling yourself “You are good as you are” and “You are good as you are, at this moment”. Big difference.
#4. I’ll Be Happy When…
Once you get this amazing home, once you get this car, this amount of money etc. THEN you will allow yourself happiness.. But the thing is that the finish line always moves and you will NEVER arrive there.
You should never wait to enjoy yourself, or your achievement. A lot of people live with the misconception of “If I enjoy myself now, I will lose my drive”.
“If I can wire myself with enough pain all the time, I won’t lose my drive and ambition” Is not a good mindset either since there is no correlation between feeling pain and your drive (as mentioned before, the motivators that should be used as a drive are; the drive to pleasure and the avoidance of pain.
There is no negative correlation between the gratification of a reward and your next award, and if there is, there is no gratification. It will most probably drive you more.
Why? Because the dopamine you get from doing something successful and rewarding will eventually drive you!
Don’t cheat yourself out of the celebration, celebrate your wins and your life, since it keeps us hungrier, not the reverse.
Feel blissful now, do not wait for a day or a situation that might not ever arrive.
#5. You’re Perfect Right Now (But Inferior to the Future You)
You should always thrive to be the next version of you.
You need to be interested in knowing how to be the next version of yourself in order to grow. As perfect as you are now, that version of you isn’t sufficient you a year from now. In other words, it is impossible to stay the same, but only you control the change.
You need feedback and input, regardless of how it makes you feel. (To not sounding as I contradict myself, I will clarify that this input should not be the thought “accepted”, not “unwanted” that you can tolerate and let your rational mind deal with it instead of your feelings.)
A big purpose of living is to know how to grow, and how to make an impact on your surroundings.
Another great saying is that your past can never be bigger than your future!
#6. Change Your Goals from “Success” to “Actions”
A goal should not be “I should have this amount of happiness at this time next year” or “I want this amount of followers on Instagram” or “I’m going to lose this amount of weight before this summer”.
Because a success is not something you can control, but an action is.
Instead, you should change these goals to “I’m going to work out x amount of times every week the next 3 months” or “I’m going to post x amount of high-quality images on Instagram” etc.
A better relationship with your mom is not an action-approached goal, but calling your mom 2 times a week is.
But how do you set your goals? Goals should be set with a reason (for example success) in mind, like “If I do x I will eventually get closer to y” or “If I don’t do this, x thing will happen”.
#7. Change Your Minds Gravitation
I believe that this is also a quote from Tony Robbins:
“Your obsessions become your possessions”
This part of the article should be read with care and understanding, so as not to be confused with the pursuit of happiness. This part should be associated with what is mentioned under p.2.
Because your mind loves what is familiar, you need to have an experience with your dream in order to help your mind gravitate towards it. Again, your dream is not your goal, but a result.
It can be as easy as walking down a street you would want to live on (Don’t confuse this with the “I’ll be happy when..” mindset, but a way to make your dreams familiar in your brain and wire your identity to your dream.
#8. How To Stack Gratitude
When you are feeling hopeless and cannot find anything good in your life, ask yourself: Is it really true that you are not grateful for anything or that you sometimes believe it hard to find things you are grateful for?
Do you think it is possible to change your belief on something that you believe you are not grateful for now to the opposite?
If you take one of those things and put them in a really deep perspective, is it something to be grateful for? And if it is, put it in the bank!
Stack the gratitude, take inventory, and do this over and over again!
If you can find those things to be grateful for, your life is going to improve when there really are external things to be grateful for, because of this habit you have developed.
I have found it really hard to be grateful for external things if I cannot first fill up the internal amount of gratefulness.
The thing that happens is that this particular activating system in our brain sends you information about things you are grateful for and those things will eventually all come into your awareness. How awesome isn’t that?
You will also be aware of the things that you WANT to be grateful for. Your health, your diet, your routines. It will almost become an addiction to stack things you are grateful for and this will result in great abundance in your life.
#9. How to Avoid being External in Your Life
The Minute you get external in your life, worrying about what other people think about you, you lose the control of your own happiness, and external factors cannot make you happy! There is just no way!
The only way external events can make you happy is your idea of these events, in other words, you will BELIEVE the preselected reaction to these, resulting in the lack of control.
The only way to combat this is not to control how the external events affect you but to understand that it is your own perception of the external events that determines how you react to them.
If this wouldn’t be the case, every person affected by the same external outcome would react in the exact same way, which is clearly not the case. More about this later.
Before moving on, I will empathize that people’s admiration and gravity towards you will never fill you up, cause if it would, every compliment you receive will affect you in the exact same way.
Example: If someone you are having a crush on tells you that you have a great smile, you would most likely be happy, and if it is true that people’s admiration of you (and those exact words) could make you happy, you would feel the exact same joy if someone you detest tells you the same thing.
So: Your internal perception of any external event determines your reaction, nothing else.
Also, a great thing to be aware of and understand is that the change comes the moment you start being aware you’re not external, not when you fulfill your internal actions.
To be internally active, give yourself credit! Don’t be addicted to “I’m not good at this, people think this about me etc.”. Instead, complement your internal actions and promises you make to yourself and reward yourself mentally.
Example: I treated people in a specific way that I am proud of myself doing.
#10. You don’t HAVE emotions, emotions are something you DO
Joy is an actual action, not just an emotion.
Depression and sadness, for example, is something you DO. By you analyzing your thoughts, your breathing becomes more shallow and you change your course of actions. You wouldn’t be feeling this if your actions (the doing) were different. (Don’t confuse “different” with right/wrong or good/bad).
With this being said, there is a clear coordination between how a feeling/state of mind makes you think, act, takes decision and move your body, meaning that you DO emotions.
And this is even BEFORE we take account to dopamine effects etc..
I mean, if pain as an emotion is something you have, then the cause for the pain would render in the exact same amount of pain experienced by everyone suffering from it, which clearly is not the case.
Pain is something that you, by noticing it and “doing it” is causing yourself. It’s not the cause of pain that sets the pain, but the cause of pain is the trigger that makes you “do the pain”.
By this, I don’t mean that you are to blame for feeling pain, or that there is something wrong with pain – or that every kind of pain is under your control, It’s just the mindset that “pain is something inevitable that you just ‘have to live with’ since the pain was ‘forced’ upon you” is causing you to not being able to shift your reaction to any outcome you would wish to change.
(And no, as some people arrogantly mention in regards to my E-book “The Intellectual Posture”, your mind cannot fix a broken back – it’s foolish to even think I believe this)
#11. You Don’t Know What is Good or What is Bad!
You don’t know what an outcome will bring you, you don’t know what something that happens will result in.
What’s good and bad is just your thoughts and experience of an outcome.
If it is not this way, everyone would experience the EXACT same thing from every possible outcome.
If 2 people break their legs and end up in the exact same hospital, being forced to lie in the hospital a week the first person misses his brothers’ wedding while the other person meets the love of his life.
The MOMENT the 2 people break their legs, it’s IMPOSSIBLE for them to know if their experience is good or bad.
Now you might think, “Oh but the first person knew that his brothers’ wedding was coming up”. Well, what if the wedding were postponed a week and the first person took another train to his brothers’ town, and end up meeting someone on the train that gives them his dream job. He wouldn’t POSSIBLE know that breaking the leg would yield in both going to the wedding and getting a dream job.
If you don’t know what is good or bad, you cannot “feel” that emotion, you can only control how you “do” the emotion.
#12. You are Like the 5 People You Most Frequently Hang Around
You have probably heard this expression before but only understood it on the surface.
I interpret this saying by how you should control external influences to influence your own behavior, with an emphasis on control.
So, if you take advantage of other peoples drives and behavior, you will easier change your own behavior through association (As I discussed above: change your minds gravitation towards a desired outcome)
If you have control of your external impact you won’t get anything out of people whose behavior you don’t want to associate with, but if you hang around people in which you admire their behavior, you can leverage this to shift your own identity.
On the contrary, if you have no control of external impact, hanging around people you don’t want your identity to be associated with, you won’t be able to control this from happening.
So, layer and control other people’s behaviors impact on you and shape them as you would shape your own identity and behavior.
For example: If a person you know to be happy is whining all the time, but you yourself don’t feel like you’re on the same amount of happiness, your subconscious might mimic her behaviour as a result of how you identify the cause of her happiness (her nagging), resulting in you trying to also fulfill your happiness by.
#13. Use Your Gifts as a Guide in your Life
It’s not about you single-handedly and completely on your own shifts and controls your identity, that would be impossible and would only be possible if you had no human interactions whatsoever.
Something that makes us identify ourselves with something good is our natural gifts, and when someone points out a gift that you also intuitively know is true, this gift becomes a drive of your behavior, identity and success.
So if you or someone else can link your gift to any success you have, you will also believe it. This will also determine the direction of your life, clearing the way of even more success and happiness, but remember that this should only be internal and not interpret as a “compliment” or “adoration”.
- It’s important to see the difference of impact of the internal and external in the shaping of your identity and behavior.
- You would want to leverage any external events to your advantage and understand that it it is your interpretation of them that makes the impact, not the event itself.
- When changing a thought from “unwanted” to “accepted” (not “wanted”), you can begin to tolerate it and to let your rational mind deal with it instead of your feelings.
- Every person has 2 motivators, the drive to pleasure and the avoidance of pain. Use these to take action.
- There is a difference in telling yourself “You are good as you are” and “You are good as you are, at this moment”.
- You should never wait to enjoy yourself, or your achievement. A lot of people live with the misconception of “If I enjoy myself now, I will lose my drive”.
- Feel blissful now, do not wait for a day or a situation that might not ever arrive.
- Change your goals from “Success” to “Actions”, because a success is not something you can control, but an action is.
- Stack your gratitude, take inventory, and do this over and over again!
- Your internal perception of any external event determines your reaction, nothing else.
- Emotions are something that you, by noticing it and “doing it” is causing yourself. It’s not the cause of emotion that sets the emotion, but the cause of the emotion is the trigger that makes you “do the emotion”.
- What’s good and bad is just your thoughts and experience of an outcome.
- Layer and control other people’s behaviors impact on you and shape them as you would shape your own identity and behavior.
If you have read this far, I’m sincerely thankful.
I know the opinions of this topic is scattered across different cultures, generations and people, and if there is something you don’t quite understand or want to remark, please do leave a comment and I will be happy to answer it for you!