Dr. Benjamin Hardy | Creating the New You

If you’ve ever taken a so-called personality test and been dismayed by the results… you’re not alone. Dr. Benjamin Hardy, organizational psychologist, best-selling author, and entrepreneur, says those tests are far from scientific or the definitive truth about who you are. 

He says personality is not hardwired, as many think. And this limiting belief prevents most people from getting what they want out of life. His new book, Personality Isn’t Permanent, is an exploration of that concept… and we get a sneak peek.

Dr. Hardy shares some strategies for changing your way of thinking and environment which can impact personal change. It may be an uncomfortable process… but you’ll reap the benefits in your business, relationships, and beyond. 

Tune in to find out… 

  • Why selective attention can be dangerous
  • A strategy to uncover the new you
  • How to recruit your “future self” to help you in the present day
  • The dangers of your comfort zone
  • And more

Listen now…

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Transcript

Steve Gordon: Welcome to the Unstoppable CEO Podcast. I’m your host, Steve Gordon and I got to tell you, we’ve got a fantastic interview for you today. Very excited to be speaking again, with our guest, Dr. Benjamin Hardy. You will remember him from his first appearance on the podcast about a year ago. And today he’s back. He’s got a new book that we’re going to talk about. And if you don’t know who Ben Hardy is, he’s an organizational psychologist. He’s a successful entrepreneur and a best selling author of Willpower Doesn’t Work. His blog is read by millions and millions of people each month. He’s been featured on Forbes Fortune, CNBC, Cheddar, just about everywhere else you could ever think of to be featured. And he’s a regular contributor to Ink and Psychology Today. And one of the, I think real early breakthrough authors on Medium and still one of the most popular writers on Medium. So I’m excited to have him here and have him back. Ben Hardy, welcome to the Unstoppable CEO.

Ben Hardy: Steve, it’s good to be back with you, man. I’m just happy to be here.

Steve: Yeah, this is gonna be fun. So give everybody a little bit of context. You know, what got you to this stage of your career?

Reframing the Past

Ben: Just a little bit of background. I probably discussed this a tad bit on our last interview. But I did come from a rough background as far as my parents being divorced. My father being a heavy drug addict through my junior high and high school years. That was really big for me. And I admittedly, I don’t think that I would be able to handle much of what I do today if I hadn’t have gone through that experience. One of the things I talked about big in this book, personality is about reframing the past. And I’m really grateful, weird is that sounds, for the craziness of what my childhood was. Also, it’s important for me to share that my dad’s no longer a drug addict. But the only reason I bring this part up is because it was a big part of my journey. When I was 20 years old, I ended up leaving my family and serving a church mission for a few years. And that was the kind of pivotal experience for me where I learned to let a lot of things go. I really started journaling a lot on that experience. Also just kind of recounting my own, you know, the things that I was going through, but I was also writing about just my own trauma, I was writing about my future, I was just learning how to write and loving writing. And I was reading lots of books and having amazing experiences. I had great leaders who helped me to kind of build a confidence and a future. And it was during that mission experience that I decided I wanted to be a writer. I didn’t really know what that would look like. I got home from that experience about 10 years ago and ultimately decided to study psychology. It was about five years ago, though, in 2015 when I decided that I was serious about becoming like an author. So I started investing in myself, obviously, investing in education, learning how you know, I took online courses that taught me how to write viral blog posts. And I got mentors as far as to help me learn how to write book contracts or book deals or even book proposals. I mean, I really invested in that goal once I became committed to it. And yeah, I think the thing that honestly pushed me over the edge, though, to start writing was becoming a foster parent of those three kids. You know, during my first year of my PhD program, we became foster parents. And I felt, I actually gave a TED Talk on this subject. But I felt really compelled once we had those kids and I call it a forcing function, but I just felt like I needed to get moving because I now had people to provide for, and I just felt like I couldn’t be just chilling, like I was before and so I just really got serious. And I like the quote from William Durant, which is actually in Willpower Doesn’t Work that the ability of the average person could be doubled if their situation demanded it. So I just felt really compelled to get moving. And, you know, and I was committed to growth. I wasn’t just committed to blogging, I was committed to reaching my goals. You know, I wanted to become a professional. And so that’s a big part of it. And I just keep learning. You know, I mean, it’s funny now because I’ll go back and read Willpower Doesn’t Work three years later and, you know, I’m not the same person as I was when I wrote that book. As much as I like what’s in that book, I wouldn’t write that book if you asked me to do something today, I would write a different book on willpower. Not that I would say it works, but I would, I’m not the same guy. And so it’s kind of funny. I like that. I like watching the progress.

Steve: You know, I think most authors would say the same thing. I look back at all the books I’ve written and your thinking evolved so much. But I think that’s one of the real values in writing. Whether you write a book or you’re writing on a blog or writing in a journal, I think it allows you to develop your thinking in a way that is very hard to do without using writing as a tool to do that. So yeah, I think that’s pretty much par for the course for most authors. So you’ve got a new book coming out. The new book is Personality Isn’t Permanent. And, you know, for me, the title is really intriguing. You know, as I think back over my growth, I’m 48 years old, I’ll be 49 in a couple of months, and I can think of a number of really distinct changes in my life where my personality did change and change for the better, at least in my opinion. And so the title is very intriguing, but can you give us like a high-level view of the topic and what you’re trying to accomplish with the book?

Why Ben Wrote Personality Isn’t Permanent

Ben: Yeah, I’d love to. And then also, I’d be also, I don’t know if it’s fitting, but I’d be interested in kind of some of those events or pivotal moments in your life and the changes that you think you saw came out of that for yourself. I mean, that interests me greatly. Yeah, so this book, I wrote it for a lot of different reasons. But one, I’ll provide kind of a general view of personality and kind of explain. So like, personality is one of the biggest topics in psychology. You know, it impacts everyone. We all have our own opinion on it. We all have a personality, you know? And so it’s an interesting subject. There’s so many different theories on the subject. But there’s a few important things to understand. One is, in psychology kind of one of the central concepts that isn’t, it’s not always true, but it’s a pretty good rule for people. Is it the best way to predict a person’s future behavior is by looking at their past behavior, right? And so like, that makes a lot of sense for a lot of people, right? And like that lends to the idea that actually personality is pretty stable and that it doesn’t change. And I think that the general view of personality, and this isn’t actually the scientific view, but this is kind of the general view, is that your personality is innate, it’s hardwired. It’s something that is who you are. It’s your authentic self. And that your job as a person is to discover it. You’ve got to discover who you really are so that then you can finally pursue the goals that would naturally fit who you are. That’s kind of the common views of personality. And what it leads to for a lot of people is very limiting and inflexible thinking. Just as an example, there’s a lot of high school kids who refuse to do in-class oral presentations because it would be uncomfortable for them to do so. So why should they be really required to do anything that’s uncomfortable? People can become very rigid if they’re overly defined in who they think they are and if they’re unwilling to try things that are difficult. Just as a quick example, our 2 15 month old twins are currently taking swimming lessons because we live in Florida, I guess, similar to you. And it’s interesting watching these little girls go through swimming lessons, because it’s horrible for them. I mean, they hate it. But they’re learning how to do it. And I think as people age, they stop undergoing such transformational learning. They stop being required to go through such learning. And really what personality ultimately becomes for most people is a comfort zone. I think that those two words are actually synonyms of each other. Your personality and your comfort zone are essentially the same thing. And in order to become someone new or in order to actually achieve a goal, you’ve got to stop acting the same way you’ve been and you’ve got to ultimately be someone different. You’ve got to act, you got to embrace uncertainty to some extent, you’ve got to act towards a future self, a future version of yourself that’s well defined. And so the goal of this book, honestly, and there’s a lot of really good science on this. Now, first off, there’s huge science on the idea that your personality is going to change over time, whether you try to or not. Your personality is different in different roles, different contexts. There’s no just flat version of who you are, you’re different in different situations in different roles, and you’re going to change over time. But if you define a future self, you know, and it’s actually impossible from a decision making standpoint to make quality decisions today, if you don’t know who you want to be tomorrow because if you don’t know who you want to be in the future, then it doesn’t really matter who you are today. So this book kind of explains a lot of the science on why people get stuck, but it also helps people to live intentionally towards a future self because the goal is that the past isn’t the thing that’s predicting your future. The goal is is that actually your future is the thing predicting who you’re becoming. That your future self and the person you’re striving to be, is the person you’re working towards becoming, rather than just living on repeat of the person you’ve been yesterday.

Steve: You know, as I’m listening to you, and sort of reflecting on all of this, and of course, with the context of, of all that is happening, you know, in the world at the moment. But, you know, you said something, I think really important there that, to me, just jumped out that people who take sort of this traditional view of personality see themselves or put themselves in a position where they’re very rigid. And anytime you go through a great deal of change in the environment around you, you have to be very adaptable. Being very rigid is not a good way to succeed. And I think, you know, even before, you know, the health crisis that we’re dealing with, there’s a lot of change happening in the world, we were changing the way the economy worked. And you can tell the people who are having the most success with that change are the ones who were most adaptable. That’s very interesting. So I think this is a very relevant topic for every entrepreneur because really what we have to do is kind of look ahead at who we need to be to reach the goals that we want and then kind of chart the path to grow ourselves there, if I’m understanding you correctly.

Ben: 100%. Yeah, I mean, it’s not a radically new idea but it’s interesting how fast people pigeonhole themselves into an identity. I mean, for successful people, it’s even, you know, one of the things that, you know, our shared friend, Dan Sullivan often says is that you should always make your growth greater than your status. You know, your persona or your personality can also be locked up in status, which can be, you know, based on success in a career. You know, so just as an example. I mean, I was very successful for a long time writing on medium.com. But it became clear to me at a certain stage that what got me here won’t get me there. And so I could stay in that status or that persona and, you know, I could keep feeling successful. But at some point, I realized that the next level of growth for me was that I couldn’t keep being that person. I had to let go of my former identity in order to go to that next level. And I think that in new situations, and, yeah, I mean, this situation with COVID-19, obviously, is requiring an enormous amount of adaptability. I’ve asked a lot of people, you know, how is your future self helping you get beyond this situation? And I think when you’ve got a vision, and if you’ve got, you know, something you’re striving for, you can remain, obviously, you got to be flexible to the situation but you can remain focused, even when things get crazy. Whereas if you don’t have that vision, then the distraction just can destroy you. So yeah, I think there’s a lot to this.

Steve: Well, you talk about the idea that the personality tests that are often used out there, and you’re speaking with someone who’s taken just about every personality profile. I mean, I’m maybe I’m a profile junkie, I’ve got a full

Ben: A lot of people are. A lot of people are.

Steve: And, you know, and over the years, they’ve just sort of accumulated you know? And so you talk about the idea that these are actually somewhat harmful. So help me understand because I always look at these and, you know, you get them back and you go Oh, yeah, that looks like me.

Ben: A lot of people love them. People in business really love these things. I’ll share my perspectives, you can take them for what they’re worth. They’re not the definitive truth. I will say, one of the things that I learned going through a PhD in psychology, and by the way, from a pure psychology perspective, people are not as just nuanced as a single score. Like for example, whatever your strength. Like let’s just say the Strength Finders example, you have certain strengths, but let’s just be honest, in certainly situations you don’t display those strengths. You know, you may display those strengths in your business, but maybe in your personal relationships, you don’t display those to that same degree. And so the, you know, from a psychological perspective, we view people more in context. Whereas a very, let’s just say, simplistic view of people is to focus on content. So these tests, they provide content. You know, they’ll get, you can get a score, you know? You’re an INFJ, or whatever. That’s content. What that score ignores is context. It ignores the context that the test was taken in. And it also it just ignores every, and so I guess I’ll quickly explain. I was really surprised when I was going through my PHD program to find that type-based personality tests are non-scientific. They’re not valid. They’re not necessarily reliable. They’re not reliable, so in order for something to be good science, first off, it has to be measuring what it claims to be measuring The second thing is it needs to actually be able to get the same score over and over again. Like if you’re measuring your weight on a scale, if you got, if you stepped on the scale once, you know, and you got it, you know, you got a weight. And then a few hours later you stepped on the scale again and you got a different score, it would probably wouldn’t be a good scale. Now, these tests, obviously, they’re not that extreme, but you’re not going to get the same score every time you take these tests. I mean, there’s a lot of research that shows that even the conditions in which you take these tests influences the scores you get. There was a test, for example, one group took the same test twice over about a week period of time and they had the same test administrator give them the test. A second group took the same test twice, same time interval about a week, but the only difference was that there was a different test administrator. And just by shifting those conditions that little bit interestingly, the scores were completely non correlated. And also if you took a personality test, Steve, this, whatever one you love the best. If you took that, and if you took it five years ago, you’d probably actually get different scores. And there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s actually totally normal. But there’s

Steve: Well, I was just going to say I’ve had that experience. So, you know, I think the first time I took Myers Briggs was probably in high school and ended up on the very much on the introverted end of that spectrum. And then I took it a number of years later after I’d been in business and was running a company and I came out as much more extroverted. And

Ben: Great. I mean, that’s really normal.

Steve: Well, I just chalked it up to Well, my life has changed. You know, I’ve grown.

Trauma and Personality

Ben: And you have. I mean, if you are growing, your personality is going to change. I mean, that’s completely normal. Actually, what’s not normal is this to be the same. Often trauma can trap people into on them, you know, limiting beliefs, where you’re stuck in what’s called a frozen personality or you stay in the same roles, or persona or in the same thing. social groups. If you’re not actively achieving goals or seeking growth and learning, then you won’t change as much even though you’ll continue to change. The inherent kind of problems with these tests, or at least a few of them, so there’s a lot of research from Harvard. There’s a lady named Ellen Langer, her name, you know, and she’s been studying mindfulness for about four decades. Her work is amazing. Her book, Mindfulness and her book Counterclockwise are two books that I couldn’t recommend stronger for anyone and everyone. They’re just such inspiring books. But anyways, one of the things that she spent a lot of time studying is what leads people to being mindless, and mindless, being mindful is about being aware of context, being aware of yourself being aware of change, you know, in order to be adaptable, you have to be mindful. And so anyways, there’s things that lead people to being mindless and one of those is overly assuming a label. Like, so she’s studied, for example, people who view themselves as depressed. And when someone views themselves a certain way, they’re mindless to all of the times when the label isn’t true. So for example, someone thinks that they’re depressed, they’ll think that that they’re always depressed. Even though actually, there’s a lot of times when they’re not, there’s a lot of times when they’re actually happy. But because the label is how you see the world, when you have a label, you have tunnel vision. In psychology, we call it selective attention, but you only see things that register with the label, and you ignore everything else. And so like, I’ll give you a different example of this. Like, so with selective attention, you only notice things in the environment that are relevant to you. So like, if you buy a car as an example, you’ll start to see other people on the road who have the same car. Have you had that experience?

Steve: Oh, of course. Yeah.

Ben: Yeah, like so like I recently got out of Mini Cooper. And like, now I see Mini Coopers all over the place. Like, but I didn’t see Mini Coopers a few months ago when I didn’t have one, you know? And so this is what selective attention does is you notice the stimuli in the environment that seems relevant. Here’s what you don’t notice, Steve, you don’t notice the 500 other cars which are also there. And so this can be really good for goal setting. You know, Dan says, your eyes can only see in your ears can only hear what your brain is looking for. It’s really good for goals, you know? And you can use labels to help you achieve goals. And you can set a future self and you can train your brain to look for only what you want. I mean, that’s really part of goal achievement. But when you’ve assumed a label, first off, you don’t notice all the time when the labels not true. And there’s a lot of times when it’s not. But the bigger problem is this. You end up trying to defend the label in all that you do. You set goals to confirm the label and then you become really inflexible to anything beyond the label. You know, if you’ve defined yourself a certain way, like I’m an introvert as an example, you’re you’re going to be, you’re gonna have a fixed mindset towards trying to be social because you’ve defined yourself a certain way and now that’s your identity. Acting outside of that identity, you’ll be rigid, and you’ll be inflexible and you won’t be a learner. And so the reason why this is so crucial is because as you’ve described, you’re not the same person you used to be. Well, the research goes the opposite way as well, your future self isn’t going to be who you are today. So like, just as I used to read Willpower Doesn’t Work and now I’m like, I’m not that guy. In two or three years from now, I’m not going to be the guy who wrote Personality Isn’t Permanent. There’s probably going to be things in this book that I actually agree with, and that’s actually a good thing. And so, the problem with overly holding your current identity so tight is it stops you from actively seeking growth.

Steve: You know, I feel like though, that for the vast majority of human beings, the desire to kind of hold that tight as if I hold it fixed and steady, then you know, I’ve got sort of some security in that. I feel like that’s kind of a, you know, like a default move and maybe a comforting thing for a lot of people. I mean, when you look around and look at the population in general, I mean, what trends do you see there? Do you see people sort of holding that more? Or are they pushing that boundary and kind of getting out of the comfort zone?

The Cruciality of Uncertainty

Ben: Well, your personality is your comfort zone. And there’s reasons why you don’t want to go out of it. Your brain is literally designed to keep you out of your comfort zone. Your brain is designed to keep you in predictable situations. You know, we form memories and things like that because we, you know, we want to be able to predict the outcomes of our behavior. And when you step out of your comfort zone, there’s uncertainty. There’s, you know, there’s potentially fear or, you know, there’s potential for failure. And so, what’s interesting is, is that trauma actually shrinks your comfort zone. You know, when you’ve had negative experiences that you, you know, trauma leads to a fixed mindset. You know, and trauma is, it could be a million things. It could be failing a business, it could be, I mean, trauma is really any negative event that shapes you and shapes how you see yourself and it creates ultimately a limiting perspective unless you reframe it. Trauma can either be something that debilitates you or it’s something that turns into growth and learning, you know? There’s either post traumatic stress or there’s post traumatic growth. But if you haven’t resolved it, if you haven’t resolved whatever happened, so like, there’s a lot of research on the subject of math trauma. Just as one example, most high school kids in America have what’s called math drama, where they genuinely don’t believe they can learn math. Like, they had an experience at some point in their past. It could have been they were told by a math teacher they’re not good at it, they were, or they just had a bad experience where they failed a test or couldn’t solve a problem. And they didn’t work their way through it. They didn’t either get help from a teacher or they just, but what happens is when you have a negative experience, and you internalize it, then what happens is it’s called a cognitive commitment. But you essentially form a narrative about yourself that I can’t do this anymore. And so if you can’t do this, then you’re not going to be flexible or imaginative to try. You know, and flexibility and imagination are both required for learning. They’re also required for growth and for setting goals. You wouldn’t set a goal if you wouldn’t imagine. You wouldn’t be flexible to being outside your comfort zone and dealing with challenges or growth or complexity if you weren’t flexible. And obviously confidence is a big part of this. So yeah, I think that a lot of people, you’re right, their current identity is a security blanket. It’s some, it’s also ego, but their current identity is their way of avoiding going outside their comfort zone because they can just easily explain that this is just who I am and I don’t do that kind of thing. I’m an introvert, I don’t do social situations. And because our culture has this huge value on what we call authenticity, which is like the you’re true to your current self. You know, it’s that idea that people are afraid to, you know, the high school kids that are trying to be authentic to themselves, so they don’t want to give in class presentations. It’s really a huge limiter of growth. I mean, I would have never, just as an example, it wasn’t necessarily my objective to become a foster parent of three kids. That wasn’t something that I wanted to do before we did it. That was my wife’s desire. But we were on the same page because we, you know, when you’re married, you know, and if you have a shared vision, you’re on a team with each other. And so my wife really wanted to do it and so I’m like, yeah, I’ll do this because we’re on a team, and we’re on a vision. But admittedly, it wasn’t my personal desire. And it was not natural to me. And, you know, I don’t think being apparent to anyone is easy. And I don’t think even starting a business for anyone is necessarily easy. It’s not easy for me to write books. But a problem, but just to pull this through, like, I eventually did transform through that experience. And I’m really glad I did it. And I’m actually, I have totally different perspectives because I did this then if I hadn’t done this. I have different priorities and different values because I did this. And so I’m glad I did it, even though initially I didn’t want to do it. And I think the big problem with how people define themselves these days and overly labeled themselves these days, isn’t that it stunts them from doing the experiences that would elevate them and expand their confidence and flexibility so that they can then do other things. Instead they pigeonhole themselves into only what the label would allow them to do.

Steve: You know, if you really take this to kind of a base kind of philosophical level, you almost take away your ability to be fully human.

Ben: You take away your agency, hundred percent Yeah, you do. That’s really what all this is about. That’s really what personality tests do. They focus on who you are, they take away your ability to make choice, because they say that’s not who you are so you shouldn’t attempt that. It would be delusional to do something like that. That’s against who you are as a human. And so you become rigid. Yeah, you’re right.

Steve: Yeah. To me, that’s where these things become really a tragedy is that you look at somebody who you know is capable. That’s one of the things I’ve learned over the years that, you know, I’ve built two businesses so, I’ve always felt like I’m, you know, my number one job is developing people. And so you begin to pay attention to some of these sorts of things. And you see people who are completely capable run into that wall that they’ve put up, you know, around themselves as their comfort zone. And they’re just struggling to wrap their head around how do I move past it? So for somebody who’s maybe either working with someone who is trying to, you know, push outside those boundaries, or trying to do that themselves, you know, like most of us are, what are some of the ways that, you know, and maybe what are some of the scientific based ways that we can look at that boundary and transform that boundary?

Human Beings Are Works In progress

Ben: I think that the first place is always to start with your identity. And your identity should honestly be based upon who your desired future self is. The interesting thing that most people do is they’re radically concrete about how they define their current self, which then becomes at the expense of them being able to become someone different, or at least dramatically different. From my perspective, your current self is far less interesting and far less important than your future self. You know, who I am today is temporary. You know, my future self is more important than my current self, in other words. And so I think the, you know, what they say the number one deathbed regret that people have is that they didn’t have the courage to be who they wanted to be. Instead, they lived up to the expectations of those around them. And it takes courage to be who you really want to be, even if you’ve already achieved big goals, even if your life is measurably good, there’s, everyone wants to make certain changes. Everyone wants to do something. I mean, even you, there’s certain things that you want to do that you haven’t yet done. Maybe there’s certain aspects of yourself that you want to become as well. Actually, what the research says is that over 90% of people want to change aspects of themselves, whether that’s to become more confident, or maybe more caring there’s, we all want to make changes in ourselves. And so kind of going back to that idea that the number one deathbed regret is that people weren’t courageous enough to be who they want it to be. Instead, they lived up to who they thought others expected them to be. We all have relationships around us, a context around us. We all have, we’ve all been someone for the last while and it can be easy just to be consistent with who we’ve been so we don’t shake up the expectations of those around us. Human beings do have a desire to be consistent or seen as consistent. But if you ultimately want to start making change, you know, whether you’re a drug addict or whether you’re already someone successful, you know, like, we all want to make progress. You’ve got to be honest about who your future self is. And honestly, this is not someone you discover. You don’t discover your future self, you decide your future self. And you get to decide and define it. I mean, one of the things that Daniel Gilbert said, he’s the person who studied this, and I would point your listeners to the TED Talk called the Psychology of Your Future Self. It’s like a six minute TED Talk but it really describes kind of personality change over time. But one of the things that Gilbert has found in his extensive research is that even though people think that they’ve changed a lot in the past, they downplay potential change in the future. One of the things, so people don’t think that they’re going to change very much in the future, even though they’ve maybe changed a lot in the past. And he says, so he’s got a great quote, he says, human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished. But then he also says, The reason people don’t predict the future well is not because they can’t but because they don’t. It’s a lot easier to remember the past than to imagine the future. And so your future self is someone you really need to take the time to conceptualize. This is why I’m such a big fan of journaling, morning journaling, just writing about who you want to be. You know, there’s a book that super old school called As a Man Thinketh. I don’t know if you ever read it.

Steve: Yes, I have a couple of times.

Ben: Yeah. It’s like, it’s all about training your thoughts because your thoughts shape your character and your circumstances and so like, Your future self can and should become the basis of how you see yourself. And so you define that, you know, you set, you know, and I think honestly, two to three years out is such a great timeline as far as who you want to be in two to three years. And you just define your circumstances, your characteristics, what’s different. Also how you show up in the different roles in your life, because in each of your roles, you actually have a slightly different persona. So it’s like, you know, if you’re a husband as me, just as a husband and a father, who do I want to be in those roles in two to three years? And I don’t have to be, I don’t have to define them based on who I am today. Like, I define them based on who I would desire to be. And admittedly, I’m not that person yet. You know, like, your future self has different preferences and priorities and a different level of maturity and perspective than you have today. And it’s really good for decision making to say what would my future self want versus what do I want today? You know, just as one example. You know, yesterday, I came home and I was fried after work, and my son really wanted to go swimming. Like he was, and I was dead, you know, and like I, and you know, sadly too many times I just say no. But yesterday I was thinking about living intentionally. And just thinking like, when, would the future version of me look back on today and would, If I was watching myself sit on the chair and watching my son swim, like, is that what I would want to see? And the answer was, no, I was like, No, I want to be out there swimming with my kid. And also that would change my subconscious as well. Because then I’d be watching myself be who I want to be. So I went out and swam, of course. But kind of pulling all this together. Define your future self, because without defining your future identity, it’s actually really hard to know who you are supposed to be today. The second thing you need to do, and this takes a lot, a little bit of courage but there’s a lot of research on how your identity is shaped through your stories, through the stories you use to explain yourself. This is again, why personality tests can lock you in, is because we just, if you describe yourself the same way for years and years, oh, I’m an introvert or I’m bad with people’s names or whatever, you’re describing yourself and that’s how you shape your identity. And so the more powerful, profound way to do it is honestly to describe your future self. It takes a lot of courage because you’re not that person yet. But if you start telling everyone your goals, who you’re trying to become, you create an environment of a little bit more accountability, and also a lot more encouragement. And that actually compels you to start acting towards your future self rather than acting how you’ve always been. Those are a few big steps, Steve.

Steve: Well, I think those are very practical as well. I mean, that’s what

Ben: They’re very practical.

Steve: Yeah, that’s one of the things I love about all of your work. It is very grounded in the real world and in what people have to go through every day. That’s, it’s not go to the top of the mountain and sit there and it’ll come to you, it’s here’s things you can do now in your environment and move yourself forward. And I think that’s important because if you don’t bring it down to that level for people, it’s really, it’s great information and trivia but it’s not actionable. And I’m a big fan of actionable stuff. So thank you for sharing that. For folks who want to check out the book, the new book, Personality Isn’t Permanent, what’s the best way for them to find the book and find out more about you?

Ben: Yeah, well, the book is pretty much anywhere you want to buy a book. This book’s with Penguin Random House. So I mean, it’s kind of when bookstores reemerge, they’ll be in bookstores. But obviously, Amazon most people buy books online now anyway. So, you know, you can get the book anywhere you want. Amazon, Audible. It’s on audio, Kindle. My website’s benjaminhardy.com and there’s free blog posts and things like that. For anyone who buys the book, there’s actually a ton of free resources that we give, you know, as just bonuses that you can find on benjaminhardy.com. There’s an additional deep dive course on Personality Isn’t Permanent. What’s cool about this book is actually there’s about 150 journal prompts through the book on like, obviously had to reframe trauma, how to re-narrate your story, how to frame out your future self. There’s about 150 journal prompts throughout the book. And, you know, we have a course that walks people through that. There’s a journaling course, as well that we give away for free. I have a journal mastery course that about 10,000 people have gone through just teaching how and where to journal, to upgrade your subconscious or to like reframe your identity to clarify yourself to make decisions, just to like, remove the daily fog. And then for anyone who’s interested as well, there’s a blog, of course. You know, my blogs have been read a lot. I was actually asked by Joe Polich that allowed me to get millions and millions of views and we’ve sold that for a lot of money, but we give away these three courses for free for anyone who gets the book. But I mean, that, from my perspective,the main thing I honestly want people to do is read the books. I think it’s so important, but there’s goodies you can get at benjaminhardy.com if you want them.

Steve: Well, wonderful. Thank you for sharing that and I’m excited to dive into the book and get it out to all of our folks. I imagine we’ll get copies and send them to all of our clients. And I know they’ll get a lot of benefit out of it. This, to me, is such an important topic for anybody running a business. I just think entrepreneurship is one of the most challenging things you can do on the planet. It forces you to continually grow, continually get outside of your comfort zone. And so being exposed to ideas like this, I think is just hugely valuable. So thank you for sharing that with us today and thanks for being here.

Ben: You’re welcome, Steve. Yeah, I love entrepreneurs because I feel like there’s such a unique population of people who invested in a vision. You know, investing, by the way, investing money is one of the fastest ways to commit to a future identity, investing at the level of your future self. But I love entrepreneurs as well. I feel like it’s such a great group of people who are stepping out of their comfort zone, taking risk, being courageous. I mean, all those things really do move you forward.

Steve: Absolutely.

Ben: So, very happy to be with you. It was just a pleasure. I always love chatting with you.

Steve: Thanks, Ben.

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