Psychologist Shows How to CHANGE the Way You THINK About LIFE | Benjamin Hardy | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "Psychologist Shows How to CHANGE the Way You THINK About LIFE | Benjamin Hardy".


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Intro (00:00)

I think it's helpful when you look at your past self to actually regularly analyze how your thinking is different from your past self, how your decision making is different from your past self, how what you care about, maybe your money habits, maybe how you do anything, how you talk with your wife. It's really good to appreciate how you're evolving regularly so that you can see that actually my entire mental model of the world is different. That allows you to actually see that things are different than how they used to be. And so you can then start to project forward. Yes, my future self is going to be really, really different. That takes your current self off the hook. It immediately eliminates a fixed mindset. And that allows you enormous flexibility for your current self. Growth mindset is willingness to learn, make mistakes. You're not so caught up in being right. It doesn't matter exactly what happens right now. You're going to change. And so it allows you immediately to be completely flexible in the present. Dr. Benjamin Hardy, welcome back to the show. Yeah, man. Good to be with you. Our first time in person, very excited.

Discussion On The Concept Of Future Self

'Your Future Self' (01:00)

And we've got a new book, Be Your Future Self Now. Talk to me about your future self. There's a sort of interesting twist in the book about which we actually talked a tiny bit about in the last episode. But what's the idea of your future self and how do you pull it into the present? Yeah, actually, interestingly, like that's that's kind of the secret to being in the present. So like the stoics would have like memento mori, which is basically the idea of always thinking about your death so that you can actually like appreciate this moment. What do you think about that? Does death really make the now better? I don't really know. I just know the idea of actually appreciating that that is a reality to some degree from the stoics perspective makes you believe that the present is more valuable. That's just one example of like a future cast allows you to be in the moment more. So Hal Hirschfeld, he's a UCLA psychologist. He's been spending a lot of time studying future self and what his perspective is, is that the more connected you get to your future self actually contemplate who your future self is, what they're up to. The more connected you get to the future self, the more able you are to actually appreciate this moment. The more you're able to see that what you do here and now matters. But you can also use future self as an example of me thinking about hanging out with my kids. Like in the future, 20 years from now, my kids are going to all be adults. And so if I actually appreciate that and how my future self would say, dude, Ben, be present, hang out with them. This is going to be over soon. You can kind of use your future self to be right here, be right now. So it's counterintuitive. You tell a really cool story in the book about that exact thing. Walk people through that idea of being your future self now commenting on how to frame this moment. I think you just had like a really busy day. You come home, kids are in chaos. So there's a Frankel quote that I kind of used to frame this. And I didn't even know about the Frankel quote until I was studying this. But basically what Frankel said is that what you should do is imagine that you've already lived this moment and that it was over and that you acted as poorly as you're about to act. Like literally. Like it could be in any situation. And then that you could come back and redo it. And now you have more awareness. And so that's one way of looking at it. But basically for me, that example that you're talking about was me just driving home. I come home, six kids, house is crazy a lot of times. I'm tired from work. And frankly, I just zone out. You know, I'm just tired. I'm not the best dude sometimes. And I was just thinking about my own self 20 years into the future, you know, 33. My 53 year old future self would be, you know, all these kids are adults. This moment in time would be gone. And so I just thought, I know my future self would look at this situation a lot differently than me. Like I think from my future self's perspective, everything has more weight than I see it right now because they've got a much deeper perspective. And so just like I see things radically different from my former self, even a year ago, I don't see things the same way. And so if you can tap into if my future self could just come back. And this is what I was just thinking while driving home. If my future self could come back, 53 year old, all these kids are gone and just live in my shoes for an hour or just for the rest of the day, how much differently would they see it? How much differently would they handle this moment right now? And so I was just thinking about that. I'm like, I'm just going to mess with this. I'm just going to be my future self for a minute and just imagine that I'm back here in time, kind of like Marty McFly style and just actually see what it feels like. And I pulled up and my daughter was just hanging out, three year old girl, Phoebe, and she just wanted to play. And I think in a lot of cases, I might just pick her up, hug her, go inside and not really think about it. But I was just like, if my future self was actually here and actually got to relive this moment, this is really a special moment. And so I just enjoyed it. And it was really interesting because I do this now more regularly, but this is just one episode. But then I go into my house and it's a mess and usually I'd be upset. But instead, I'm just like, none of this definitely matters. It's just cool that I'm here and that I have this life and I have this situation. And so I think that often we miss this moment because we don't connect it to the future. And what a lot of the researchers on meaning say is that this moment only has meaning because of what it means in the future. And so it's kind of interesting because a lot of people don't think that-- a lot of people think being present means you block out the past and the future. But this moment only has context if you connect it with what's going to happen in the future. So it's a different lens.

Concept 7: Bring your future self to you (05:22)

Part of what makes the idea that you go through in the book interesting is that it isn't just contextualizing it to the future. It's taking control of what you paint the future to be like so that you can really impact the present. What is that process like? Because I imagine-- in fact, I know from your own story, there was a period in your life in your teenage years where the future just looked like shit. You weren't interested and you thought this is going to suck and that was that. So how do you take control of constructing the future in a way that pulling that into the present is actually useful? Yeah. I mean, one thing that I think is super important to note is that everyone is being impacted by their view of the future. If you have a pessimistic view of the future, if you have a lack of hope towards your future, like that's dramatically going to impact who you are and how you're being. Like if you think that the future is going to suck, that's obviously going to impact who you are right now. And so any form of hopelessness or just a lack of anything, even if you think that today is going to be a terrible day, is going to impact who you are through it. But as far as there's a lot of different approaches, I'd be interested in your take because obviously you've achieved many goals. But there's a lot of different approaches. One is bring your future self to you. And obviously, a lot of it's just thinking about where you want your future self to be, thinking about the context of your future self. Hal Hirschfield's perspective is it's a lot easier to bring your future self to you. So one way you could do that is simply by just imagining some future case scenario. It could be three years, five years. You can kind of choose a time frame based on whatever next context you're thinking of. It could be me in five years after my kids have moved, some of them have moved out of the house. I can choose different time frames for my future self. But then you can just put yourself in your future self's shoes, think about the context. And one of my friends literally films videos talking as his future self and just saying, "This is where my life's at right now. This is what's happened in between. These are some of the unexpected that happened between now and then." So you can actually... I don't really film videos. I usually just do things by journal. But you can write a letter from your future self to you and just paint the picture. Get as into the moment as you can. What this does is it builds empathy. It builds the ability to actually see that your future self is a real person. They've got a different perspective. They see things totally different than you. They care about different things than you. And then they can be talking to you. And that kind of brings them to you. You said that one mistake people make is that they think their future self will be like themselves now. Why do you think our future self is so different? So that idea is actually called the end of history illusion in psychology. Daniel Gilbert, he wrote Stumbling Upon Happiness. He came up with that concept. But basically, this is just kind of a psychological thing that people do. They can see that they're not quite the same person they were five, 10 years ago. That as a whole, we lack imagination towards our future self. It's a lot easier to just remember who I was five years ago and that I had different goals, different habits, maybe different priorities, different values. I don't listen to the same music I did exactly five, 10 years ago. But people have a really hard time imagining their future self as a totally different person because they just don't really think about it too much. The changes sometimes happen subtly. They happen systemically. And so, yeah, people just don't take the time to think, actually, my future self is going to be a really different person. They're going to see things very differently. But the truth is they will be. They will be in 10 years from now. And you encourage them at that point to start, okay, since you know your future self is going to change anyway, don't think of that as being glued down. Really don't think of it as being based on who you were in the past. And now take control of who you want to become. And as you start writing that journal or whatever, is it an optimized version of the self that you encourage people to aim for? Because if you're right, how they begin to imagine their future self and somewhat solidify those elements are going to be pretty important to how they'll act today. How they act today is the only thing that matters in terms of becoming that actual version. I think, first off, you can get really stretchy with it. So I like what Albert Einstein said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge." So I think, first off, just coming to the grips. And I think it's helpful when you look at your past self to actually regularly analyze how your thinking is different from your past self, how your decision-making is different from your past self, what you care about, maybe your money habits, maybe how you do anything, how you talk with your wife. It's really good to appreciate how you're evolving regularly so that you can see that, actually, my entire mental model of the world is different. How I make decisions is different than my past self. That allows you to actually see that things are different than how they used to be. And so you can then start to project forward. Yes, my future self is going to be really, really different. And you can actually get as stretchy as you want. How different?

Future self: what does matter? (10:08)

What are the ways in which they're different? How do they see the world differently? What matters? What skills do they have that you don't have now? What's their environment? That's where you can start to imagine. But what it does for you, because you can appreciate that they're very different, that takes your current self off the hook. It immediately eliminates a fixed mindset. Because basically, a fixed mindset is the belief that who you are right now is primarily who you're going to be. And so once you realize future selves are already going to be very different, even if I don't do much, but they can be radically different. They can be way-- the change in my future self can be way beyond, compounded beyond, anything of changes that I've had in the past. And that allows you enormous flexibility for your current self. Growth mindset is willingness to learn, make mistakes. You're not so caught up in being right. It doesn't matter exactly what happens right now. You're going to change. And so it allows you immediately to be completely flexible in the present.

How societies collapse (11:02)

You talked about something in the book that I found-- I'm obsessed with it right now. And I was very surprised, though, to find it in the book about future selves. I'm super curious. You go into detail about how societies collapse. You quote Ray Dalio. What can we take away from that idea in the book? Yeah. It reminds me of sports teams who get to the top. Even like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this year. They weren't that great this year compared to last year. They just won the Super Bowl. And so that's kind of the idea that success often leads to their complacency, lack of vision, conflicting goals among the parties. When things start going really well or moving forward, that's where often either your goals change without you realizing it. Maybe the people in the box, a lot of the players, maybe they didn't really need another Super Bowl. Honestly, if they were honest with themselves, maybe their goal changed. But they were still kind of playing that part. And so from a societal perspective, yeah, there's lots of different beliefs about how a business can go really well. And then things are killing it.

Your future self and self sabotage. (12:10)

And it can be hard for them to maintain that. And on an individual level, you can get really successful in some area and then you can start to throw it away. And what do you think that is? Is that goals change, not being honest with yourself? Is it you were doing it for the wrong reason? I don't think you were doing it for the wrong reason. I think that so like Gay Hendricks and certain other psychologists would call it just you subconsciously self-sabotage. You might be moving forward. You achieve a lot of things and it's outside of your homeostasis. And so you subconsciously wreck it. That's one way of looking at it. You're going to have to define the idea of homeostasis, that people have this idea of how big they are, how great they are, whatever. Yeah, so homeostasis is how I would see it. It's just your subconscious baseline. It's what you're comfortable with. It's where you're at at your emotional development. It's what your comfort zone is. And so if you start advancing way beyond that, like Gay Hendricks would call that an upper limit problem. And advancing how? You could advance in any way. Maybe you're someone who grew up in a bad situation or just had repeated bad unhealthy relationships and all of a sudden you start getting in good relationships. And so it's a little outside your comfort zone to actually be happy in a relationship. And so because it's outside your homeostasis, it's outside your comfort zone, maybe you don't think that this is something you deserve. Maybe it's just that this is uncharted territory. So you're a little uncomfortable with what's going on. It's past your vision. You can revert back. I think that's one way of looking at it. I think another way is just honestly you reach a certain place where you become unclear of your goals. I mean, often you achieve goals because you have clarity. You work towards those goals, you achieve them, and you reach a certain place where you lack a future self. You lack clarity about your future. And then there's all sorts of things coming at you. Because you're in a more successful place, you've got more options. And so one of my favorite quotes, which I share multiple times in the book, but it's just honestly my favorite quote comes from Robert Brault. He says, "We're kept from our goal not by obstacles but by a clear path to lesser goals." And so I think the more successful you become, the more options you have. And so there's a lot of lesser goals that can be quick dopamine hits. You can get quick wins and you think you're making progress, but you're not actually clear on a direction anymore. And so you just start breaking things apart.

How to determine what goals to pursue. (14:37)

Okay. So getting into that idea, the clear path to a lesser goal is I think really interesting. I've told entrepreneurs like a million times, people don't end up failing because of a lack of opportunity. They end up failing because they pursue the wrong opportunity. How do people orient themselves in such a way that they understand what goals to pursue? And then what is it just the ease of the lesser goal that makes them go after it? Or are there some other warning signs? Or is this all tied to self-sabotage? So motivationally, there's two theories that really helped me with this. One is it's called expectancy theory. It's one of the core motivational theories in psychology. The other one's called hope theory. They're essentially very similar. Hope and motivation are very connected. But both of those theories basically have three similar elements. One is in order to have motivations and hope, you need a clear goal. You need to see some form of pathway of getting there or some mechanism, some means. So you see a goal that compels you, that's exciting. The more clear, the more compelling personally, obviously the more motivating. You need to see some pathway to getting there or be able to create a pathway to getting there. And then you need the confidence or sense of agency that you can actually fulfill on whatever is required. So it makes sense that simple, like lesser goals with clear paths would be motivating. There's a clear path. Often, your future self or some big goal doesn't have as obvious of a pathway. And you've got to adjust pathways all the time. And so if you're presented an easy path to a lesser goal, often you take it. Maybe it's a job that pays really well or it's a relationship that you're already in and there's some cost bias, but it's an easy-- so it's easy to take clear paths to lesser goals because the reward's easy, the path is straight. It's just easy to get that quick reward. And that's actually one of the fundamental problems with future self that Hal Hirschfeld has found is that the present is so much-- such a pole that often you'll-- it's hard sometimes to invest in your future self when you can just get dopamine hits right now. So how do you invest in your future self in a way that's useful if you don't see that clear path?

How to overcome friction and find momentum. (16:49)

I mean, I think that most paths are not clear initially towards a really cool, big goal. Just as an example, my own writing career, there was not a clear path. There's not a clear path for you. You kind of invent the path as you go. I think that's what breaks most people. They legitimately don't know-- they don't know how to create momentum, which is already a huge thing. They don't know how to set a goal, which is already wildly problematic. And then they really don't understand what I call the physics of progress. And so they think, oh, I got it wrong. I guess I'm never going to be able to do this. So what advice do you give people in that moment knowing that there's a lot of friction that they're going to have to overcome, but if they don't overcome it, they're sort of dead in the water? Yeah. I think that your last question about choosing something, you have to take the time to actually know what you want to commit yourself to, in my mind. If you don't get committed to it, you won't be able to go through the process of finding the path. And so taking the time-- and you don't have to commit to something for the rest of your life, but what do you want to commit to for the next three to five years? What are you going to start really investing in and start figuring out? Because right now, where I want to get to in five years from now, I have no clue how to get there. But if you start to clarify, what are you committed to? What do you actually want to do? We're all committed to something. One of my favorite quotes or ideas is just, you can know what you're committed to by the results you're producing. And so you and I were obviously committed to having this conversation because we're both here. And behavior is evidence that we've committed to this. And so anything that a person does evidences their commitment to something. So if they're going to their nine to five job and they hate it, if they're still going to that nine to five job, they're committed to it. And so I think taking a step back and just asking yourself, what is it that I would commit myself to? And it's not for the rest of my life, but it's what's the most important thing right now? What's the absolute most important thing I could accomplish right now? And maybe you need to journal. Maybe you need to take an extra 30 or 60 minutes to start reading books and giving yourself space away from the noise to start to clarify that. How I like to look at it is with the Jim Collins quote, if you have more than three priorities, you have none. Like, what are the three areas of your life that matter most? I think that people can clarify where they want to go in the next three to five years if they just gave themselves the space to be honest, write, journal about it, and then stop worrying about what everyone thinks. So there's a lot in that one little sentence.

Why should people care about journaling? (19:14)

So one, why journaling? How journaling? And then how do people really detach from what other people think? Yeah. So all three such cool concepts. But why journaling? Journaling is the place where you can be honest with yourself. It's the place where you can start to play with your imagination. I think walking too, exercise, but giving yourself space to be alone. There's so many, you know, obviously inputs coming in. And so space to actually just be by yourself. And is the journaling for you a stream of consciousness? Usually, yeah. I think all journaling is stream of consciousness. You can have prompts, but it still just comes out. And so, yeah, I have just blank pieces of paper. And you can structure it. What do I want to accomplish in the next three years? Who do I want to be a year from now? But I think just actually giving yourself the space to address yourself. When I was 19 years old in a traumatized state, I started running. And so when I was running by myself, that was the time alone with my thoughts where I could actually address some self honesty that maybe I don't like where I'm going in my life. Or maybe I don't, where do I want to go? Start thinking about my future self. Start thinking about the repercussions of what's going on in my life right now. So I think the why of journaling is that it kind of clears you up. It gives you some space to think. The how of journaling, for me, a lot of it's just writing things down. Writing down what's going on in my life right now. Writing down maybe what I would like to change. Writing down the areas of my life that I want to learn more about. The areas I want to accomplish. Writing down my goals. Thinking about my future self. There's not extreme structure, but it's just giving yourself the space to think about it. So I just think, think about it, write about it. It clears your thinking. It gets you clear on where you want to go. It also, obviously journaling can help you emotionally regulate. You can start to reframe. Obviously emotionally? I think can help you emotionally regulate. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. I don't know if I'll give it obviously. I agree, but how do you get people there? And then we'll definitely still get to the how do you stop caring about what other people think. But I'm really curious. So journaling. I think it's one of the most, sorry I didn't want to cut you off. No, please. You're answering the question. Well, I think that from a research standpoint, journaling, gratitude, journaling, stuff like that, that's one of the most clear cut ways to emotionally regulate. Because it externalizes things? It does. I mean, you get the, if you don't get things out into an external form, like a narrative, a structure, then it's just swirling in your head. It's impacting you subconsciously without you knowing it. But really, everything is about framing. A book is a good book if it's framed a certain way. It may be saying the same thing as a different book, but it's the framing that matters. And so everything's about framing.

Everything in life is about framing our experiences (22:08)

And so how you view a past situation may have been framed by your former self a certain way. And so the current self can reframe it and look at it from a different lens, which gives it an entirely different perspective, different meaning, different emotional set of cues. And so yeah, I mean, journaling is just a way for you to actually structurally reframe anything that happened and then turn negative events into positive growth. It's just actually thinking about it, choosing a lens, choosing a frame. In psychology, they call it psychological flexibility, which is just the ability to look at things from different angles, emotionally detach from it, or just connect to it in different ways. And so I find it a very useful tool for just looking at past scenarios and looking at them from different lenses, looking at them from different angles, and thinking, why am I better because of that? Or what do I now know that my past self didn't know because of that? Why is that to my benefit? You can just look at it from a bunch of different angles. You read a new book, you got a new lens. You can just look at a different experience with a ton of different angles. I think that is one of the most important ideas in trying to improve yourself. If you don't understand what I call frame of reference, which sounds-- 100%. I mean, framing is literally everything. Is literally everything. Getting people to understand that. So I just-- in my NFC journey, I've created this thing called the life map for people. And as I sat there and I'm asking myself, what is the most fundamental thing that if people don't understand this, they're never going to be able to make progress? It was frame of reference. And getting people-- did you hear David Foster Wallace's This is Water? No, no, no. What is it? You got it. You got to say it. All right. So well, it's a whole-- it's like seven minutes long or something.

The story of the fish in water (23:56)

OK. But the idea is that the fish is the last one to realize that it's in water. And so he starts with this joke where an old fish swims by these two young fish and says, hey boys, how's the water? He swims past and they look at each other and go, what's water? And that to me is frame of reference. People don't even realize that they have a frame of reference, let alone that it was a choice, as you said, to choose the lens that you have. And even if they understand that they have a frame of reference and they choose it, they don't realize how distorted their frame of reference is. And so getting people to understand, OK, everything you think, feel, your dreams, your nightmares, they are all a reflection of your frame of reference. And your frame of reference has been created over a lifetime, often in invisible moments and moments of trauma. You're making a decision about what is true about the world. But because you mistake it for objective truth, you don't realize that, oh, I actually decided that the world works this way just now in this moment right here based on this trauma. And you just get all these layers of distortion. And because people aren't aware that they're living inside of that frame of reference, even just to get to the point where people are like, oh, I see what you're saying, it really takes a lot. Yeah. I mean, it reminds me of two different psychologists. One is obviously Adam Grant more recently with his book Think Again.

Robert Kegan (25:28)

I think he spent a lot of time helping you see that your current self just has one frame of reference. Even yourself five minutes ago, 10 minutes ago, may have had a slightly different nuanced frame of reference. And so he calls it the joy of being wrong. And that, again, is I think one of the appreciations I have about future self is just my current self has just one frame of reference. In a week from now, I'm going to have a totally different frame of reference. But have you ever heard of Robert Keegan? From you. OK. But otherwise, no. OK. So yeah, Keegan was a Harvard psychologist back in the day. He studied organizational structures. And he had a different model. It was similar to Covey's dependent, independent, interdependent model. But it was a lot more psychological, where he talked about how he called it, I think, a socializing self that a lot of people go through, high school kids, where their whole actions and behaviors are motivated by pleasing others or fitting in or something like that. Then you reach this authoring stage, which is a lot more competitive, where everything you see is just to further your own aims and your own agendas. But you can't see outside your frame of reference. And so from Keegan's belief and perspective, only 8% of people reach this level that you're talking about, where they can actually-- he calls it the transforming self, where they start collaborating with people. And they can see that they have a frame, that other people have frames, and that you can consciously step out of your frame and look at different frames of the same situation. You recognize that your frame is just one frame. It's one way of seeing things. It's very limited. It's very inaccurate. But if that doesn't limit you, then you can try different frames. You can learn different things. You're always seeking to reframe and get new perspective, new angles on the same situation. It kind of reminds me of a tennis player who goes into a lesson actually wanting to learn. It's like that beginner's mind where you can learn something from every situation rather than just, I know what I'm doing. But from Keegan's perspective, only about 8% of people get to this place and organizations where this is just one frame. My future self will see things different.

How do I see things (27:20)

There's a lot of different angles on this. But I think that that's a skill you could practice. No doubt. How? For me, one is just recognizing that my current self sees things different, again, than my past self 10 minutes ago and just regularly being open. I think this is, again, another reason why to journal. How do I see things? I can't ever see from your frame. I could ask you, though. I could ask you how you see things and I could be more curious rather than competitive. Rather than me trying to prove that my perspective is right, actually ask you what you think about it. Be more of a curious learner and actually have a more flexible frame.

Importance Of Honesty In Learning

Learning is Honest (28:03)

For me, I really like referencing back to my past self regularly and just asking myself and actually analyzing why things turned out the way they did. Not being judgmental towards my former self, not being mad if I get angry at one of my friends, rather than being upset about the past, just actually what was the frame that led me to coming to that conclusion and how do I see things differently. It allows you to actually squeeze more juice out of things you learn. If I read a book, I can actually analyze how did my frame of reference change or can I see things differently because I now have this information. I think that this is an aspect of learning is if you actually learn something that is a little outside your current frame of reference, are you willing to be honest with that new learning and start to apply it or are you going to reject it and stick with your current, your former way of learning. I think learning new frames but then being honest with the new information you get and letting go of old ways is a big aspect of learning. Did you see the movie The Sixth Sense?

Film Example (29:07)

Yeah, but I have not seen it for probably 20 years, like 15 years. Do you remember the ending I'm assuming? Maybe. Tell us. Seriously, dude, it's been that long. Dude, it's been that long. All right, well, this is fun. This is the perfect example to me of what frame of reference is. So spoiler alert for anybody that hasn't seen it but the whole movie, you're watching it unfold and everything seems normal and you're not thinking anything of it but this guy keeps having these weird run-ins with like his wife and it just doesn't go the way you're thinking it will go and then you finally get to the end of the film and you realize that the main character that you've been following this whole time is dead. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I remember. And he's a ghost and then they play back little snippets of the movie so that you realize no one ever actually had an exchange with him. You feel like they kind of do but when you play it, I have the chills right now and that's frame of reference where you suddenly see the exact same moments but when you thought he was alive, you read the interactions one way. When you realize he's a ghost and wasn't actually there and so they were just having a lonely moment where they went to their favorite restaurant on their anniversary to mourn but because you see it as he's sitting there with them, you read the exchanges, this really cold exchange where she's basically ignoring him and sort of dumping him and that's frame of reference and it can be that profoundly like jarring where you're like, "Whoa, there is this entirely other oblique angle with which I can look at my life for good, bad and different whatever." But suddenly like these vistas of possibilities open up before you.

Honesty is Key (30:49)

For instance, to bring this back to letting go of what other people think, I think so many people construct their life around, "Okay, what are they going to think?" One, you have to be honest like you've said multiple times, this is so important. You have to be honest with yourself that you want their approval, seek their approval or have historically sought their approval, whatever so that you can now begin to look at the world, what would this look like if I actually didn't care what they thought and how differently would I move and would I act? I think people would often be startled to see the answers if they were journaling honestly what their life would look like if they didn't worry about their significant others thoughts, the social media people's thoughts, their parents' thoughts like that their life would look dramatically, dramatically different. Yeah, so many things come to mind and now I do remember that movie.

Changing Past Perspectives (31:40)

One thing that I love about that is that once you get the new frame, it changes everything. In the past you look back at all the old perspectives now with the new frame and that's really how memory works, they call memory a reconstruction. You never actually see the past as it is but only as your current self perceives it. There's a really great quote from Brent's life, he wrote a book called Time and Psychological Explanation, you would actually really love it but basically he said that it's more accurate to say that the present causes the meaning of the past than the past causes the meaning of the present because the present causes the meaning of the past because it's the present frame and so whenever you pull up a memory it's from the frame of your current self and so you get that new information like at the end of the movie, boom it changes the meaning of everything that occurred in the past and so that's one nice part is as you get new information, new perspectives, you actually automatically reframe the whole past from the present and so any view you have of the past is actually just a reflection of where you're currently at which is really interesting. What's up everybody, Tom Bilyeu here and I have a question for you.

Tom Bilyeu's Mindset Workshop Plug (32:47)

At the start of this year you likely set some goals for yourself and I want to know how those are going. Most people give up on their goals and dreams by February but I have some good news. If you're not on target to succeed at the things that you want to achieve this year, it's not too late and trust me when I say you are not alone. Everyone gets stuck and loses momentum towards their goals at some point, myself included. If you know what you're doing and you're willing to take massive action though, you can get back on track. The trick is not to think about being stuck as a problem with your motivation or to interpret your lack of results that you're getting as a sign that you're not smart enough. The trick is to recognize that the game that you're playing is a game of neurochemistry. It's about managing the way that you think about yourself and framing things in the right way. If you use your brain more effectively, repeat things that empower you, you can actually find ways to solve problems faster, create positive habits and behaviors that you know are going to help you reach your goal. I want you to take massive action right now. So I pulled a workshop from Impact Theory University called the six steps to getting unstuck and I want you to watch it right now. It's going to help you get back on track with your goals and make the rest of this year your most successful ever. To watch it, go to and register for access. I'll walk you through the same process that I use to get through obstacles and make fast progress towards my goals whenever something slows down. All right guys, enjoy this and be legendary. Take care. Now the question is how do you keep your present frame positive?

How to Maintain a Positive Mindset (34:31)

So life is amazing but it's also difficult and we tend to accumulate scar tissue psychologically as we get older and I have found in my own life that it's only through careful management of my framing of the experiences that I'm able to be optimistic and keep moving forward and when I look at people that just get eaten alive by their frame which has sort of gotten worse and rusty and scarred and scabbed over as they go, I get it. It takes a lot of management. So how do you either in your own life or how do you advise people to make sure that your frame of reference is getting better as you go along and that the knocks and bruises and defeats of life don't end up giving you a gnarly outlook? Yeah, I'd also love your perspective on this because I love the idea of maintenance or just I actually see it more as just constant improvement. I mean certainly a continuous journaling practice is helpful for me as far as just continually updating it. I definitely like simplifying my life continuously. I think as you continue to grow, there's weeds and so I'm always simplifying down what matters to me right now. A lot of the stuff that I cared about, back to the idea of other people's opinions, maybe I cared more about what that person thought four months ago but now I do have a new perspective. I do have new goals. And so I don't really know the best answer to your question except for as you're gaining new information, new knowledge, new experiences, be true to your evolving self. If you're now clear because of what you know that a certain relationship is actually detrimental to you even though in the past you thought it was high quality, are you going to be honest and true to that new information or are you going to just pretend it doesn't exist? And so for me, it's not really like you're maintaining something that has a single form. You're maintaining in a lot of ways where you're growing into. It's more continuously growing into the best or the newest version of yourself which means maintenance at that level is going to look different than maintenance four years ago. And so I do think that if you're in a state of constant learning, improving, you get better and better at cleaning up those messes faster, being a lot quicker when you gain information or an insight to go and have that conversation, maybe readdress that relationship or end it or change it. Or if you feel inspired to go and start something, maybe start a new habit or start a new business or whatever that you orient your life towards what you feel most compelled to do quicker rather than put it off for a week, a month, a year. So I think it's just keeping a continuous flow of what you feel most pressed to do. I don't know. I'd be interested in your take because that was the first time I've actually really thought about that question. Yeah. So the way that I think about it is what's useful? And so like, dude, bad things happen in life, good things happen in life and people tend to discount the good and focus on the bad. There's an evolutionary reason for that. True. So it could be your parent dies. It could be you lose your job. It could be a whole host of things. And I try to remind myself that I'm going to choose what I take away from everything. And so my hygiene is around the story that I allow myself to repeat. So I think a lot about what do I repeat? What am I saying over and over and over? And just by tracking things that I say over and over or things that I think about over and over, I know whatever I'm doing right here, I am holding that memory or that idea in my working memory. I'm adjusting it and then I'm going to restore it in long term memory. But I'm going to pull it back forward again because I keep thinking about this. And so as I pull it back forward, I want to make sure that I look for the useful way to contextualize this and I define useful as that which moves me towards my goals. Now you need to be very careful that your goals are what I'll say should be two pronged, exciting and honorable. Honorable meaning that it elevates not only yourself but other people to pursue that thing. But if you do that and then you say, OK, what's the right way to think about this failure? And let's make it a catastrophic failure. You're married and your marriage of twenty five years dissolves and you're like devastated, totally rocked. And you are just buried under a weight of guilt.

Overcoming Limiting Beliefs And Embracing Change

Limiting beliefs (39:21)

And, you know, the things I did wrong and I never should have done X, Y, Z. And or it's them, the asshole. Like I can't believe it. And my thing would be, OK, in that moment, if I give up my power and I'm saying it's the other person's fault and not mine, is that going to help me move towards my goals? No, because it takes me out of the driver's seat and just life is happening and there's nothing I can do. Or, hey, I'm really feeling like a lesser version of myself because I have failed at that thing. Does that move me towards my goals? No, because I'm going to need confidence to move towards my goals. OK, so what would be useful in this situation? OK, I'm going to take ownership. I'm going to make sure that I look at what I can learn. But I'm going to remind myself that whatever kick in the ass I'm giving myself, it should only be enough to get me moving towards my goals. And it shouldn't be so hard or so continuous that it begins to diminish my sense of self. And so I think because I-- and a core idea I'm really trying to get across to the world is you're having a biological experience. And so your brain works in a certain way. And you're prone to negativity bias. And so I know that my likelihood of when something bad happens, I'm likely to grab the negative frame. But if the negative frame moves me away from my goals, then I'm just going to have a rule that I don't do that. But I also don't want to be delusional. So it's this really interesting friction between what I am telling myself needs to be both optimistic and true. And whenever I can find those two things, and then I run the test against, does it move me towards my goals? Because if it's a lie, it won't move me towards my goals because it's just-- it's not real, right? So you're making shit up. And it's not going to go anywhere because it's not based in reality. Or it is real, but it makes me feel less confident in taking a step. And so either of those tests will lead me to ultimately what is both true and useful. Because if you fail that marriage, it's very fair to say that I failed at my marriage, right? So it isn't a lie to say, look, I made mistakes and I failed. And I may fail again in the future. But it also is true to say, I've learned from these mistakes. I'm willing to look at them nakedly. And because of that, I'm more likely to get it right in the future. So either one of those is grounded in truth. So either one of them will help you move forward. But one of them is more likely to help you move towards your goals. And so that's like the process of hygiene I run through basically every belief. I love that model. Dan Sullivan, he's a strategic coach, founder guy. But he and I actually wrote a book called The Gap and the Gain.

The gap and the gain (42:08)

And that model is the easiest model I think I've found for describing yours, what you just described. Like as an example, recently I gave a talk at an event. And there were a lot of things outside of my control. And so it wasn't going what I would call effectively or optimally. It wasn't optimal. But I realized, and this kind of hits a lot of the things that we're talking about in this conversation. There's so many things I can't control or even comprehend. One is your frame of this event, anyone else's frame. And so I just realized, I think it's a big aspect of emotional freedom and emotional maturity is just realizing you're the only person who's comprehending your own experience. And so you get to define it however you want. And so back to the idea of the gap and the gain, the gap is when you measure an experience against what you ideally thought it should have been. And so you're measuring yourself against an ideal, which is immeasurable, which is always challenging. And so if you have a bad event as a child, your parents get divorced and you're in the gap about that, then what you're doing is you're measuring your past against what you thought it should have been. And that just creates all sorts of trauma because you're letting the event happen to you. The event happened to you and you're the reason the past is driving you, essentially. Whereas the gain, which is kind of what you're describing, I think it creates this extreme psychological flexibility where you're saying, what was the gain in that? How can I turn this into a gain? And if it didn't go how I thought it should have, who cares? What can I do with that? And so if you're always creating gains from an experience, it doesn't matter what actually occurred. You're not attached emotionally to what happened. Instead, you're just turning it into gains. Then it doesn't really matter what happens in your life. You are gaining from your former self. Your parents got divorced. All right, so what are all the reasons why you now know things your past self didn't know? What are you going to do differently because of this event? If you're always gaining because of every experience, then you're always further along than your past self. You always have a better frame. Even if something really bad happens, you can turn that into a gain. That is essentially what post-traumatic growth is. Is any event that happened, you genuinely look at it as, I'm glad this happened. I'm grateful for it. Gratitude for past events enhances post-traumatic growth. You have new meaning, new perspective that your past self didn't have. And so you can quickly turn any experience into a gain. I think that's kind of a model I found to be the easiest working one. You said this earlier, and it's so true. It reminds me of a Tony Robin quote that basically, if you want a better outcome, ask a better question, and that your life is going to be determined by the questions you ask. And I remember one example he gave, and this hit me so hard, is think of the worst thing that ever happened to you and ask, how is this the best thing that ever happened to me? And your brain will actually come up with an answer, which is pretty crazy.

Asking Better Questions (45:03)

How do you leverage that? As far as asking better questions, I like that example because usually, once someone reaches a certain frame or once they reach a certain level of maturity, they realize that often it was the worst things that happened to them that were the best. They lost that job or something bad happened. Even recently, one of my good friends, their child died. Seriously, can you imagine? It's easy as an outsider to say, dude, one day you're going to really be glad this happened. You can't really say that from an outsider, but from an insider, you can use that to say, everything that's happening to me is the best thing that can be happening to me. And then you can start to realize, and I think this is actually a key to happiness, is that everything that happens is the best thing that could have happened. It's kind of a detachment from outcomes to some degree. I believe outcomes really matter. I don't believe that you can fully be detached, but at the same time, whatever happens, you just accept that that was the best thing that could have happened. You learn as much as you can from it. As far as applying better questions to your future self, I think asking rather than like, you know, I mean you could just change. First off, ask yourself what's the questions you're currently asking. I think a really easy way to analyze that is just what are you currently measuring. So I may be measuring how many likes are on my social media account. I may be measuring my current bank account. And so starting to analyze what are the questions I'm currently asking, what you're leading to the current results I'm getting, and then just changing the question. Maybe it's rather than how can I make, you know, $100,000 this year, how can I make $10 million? It doesn't have to be about money. How could I have enormously better experiences with my wife? You just start asking questions about the future that you've never asked before, and it starts to give new lenses. And so I think you can first off start to ask yourself, what are the questions I'm currently asking, what you're leading to, whatever I'm currently measuring is success, and how could I change those measurements, or how could I change the questions entirely so that I could start seeing different frames. I think, yeah, different questions are just different frames.

Dreaming Big (47:17)

And what do you do in terms of encouraging people to dream big? I mean, one of the things that I'm thinking about right now, so like I'm writing a book right now, totally separate from this one, called 10X is Easier Than 2X. And like this is a really interesting model. But an aspect of this model is that if you're going to go 2X, it's kind of the 80/20 principle in action. If you go 2X, you can keep 80% of your existing life. And only 20% has to be new. So like to go 2X, I can pretty much carry my current self forward 80%. 80% of me is forward. I can pretty much-- you know, 20% will be new. But if you want to go 10X, only the top 20% of what you're doing can stay. So 20% of existing, whereas 80% has to be new if you're really going to go 10X. And so like 80% of what you're currently doing is irrelevant in your future self's life if you were actually to 10X in certain metrics. So for example, if I wanted to be a 10 times better writer or sell 10 times more books, 80% of my current self is irrelevant at that 10X version. Literally, 80%-- That's a really cool way to say it. You know what I mean? Only the top 20% of what I'm doing right now is actually scalable. How do you figure out the 20 from the 80? This goes back to we're kept from our goals not by obstacles but by a clear path to a lesser goal. How much of what I'm currently doing right now is maintaining my former self's goals or just keeping things in place, going to meetings, doing things that honestly now from my current reference frame are not useful to my future self? Like again, it takes honesty. Maybe something that was an amazing opportunity, you've outgrown it. And it's now a distraction from where you want to go. And so I think you can analyze it. One simple aspect of 80/20 is just what are the few things that I really do that bring me the most excitement right now? Or what are the few things that I'm doing right now that if I gave more time and attention to, it'd be really easy to go to another place. But I'm spending all my time over here.

How different can YOU be from your former self in 10 years? (49:28)

So I do like 10X thinking, but I do like thinking as far as imagination is more important than knowledge, really thinking differently about your future self. How different can they be? In what few areas would you really love to see massive change? I really like, again, the Collins frame of no more than three priorities. If you just had three areas of your life, choose any three and then you just stretch those. Like, how different could they be? How great could they be? The initial reaction, and seriously, having done this, a lot of people, they hear these ideas and they never actually genuinely sit and think about it. They hear the idea, yeah, imagine it differently, but actually quantify it a little bit. If I actually sat and thought, if my future self five years from now was 10X the more successful writer or even a better writer, what does that actually look like? And actually quantify, what is my current self? How many books am I currently selling? And if I 10X that or just looking at the book. What do you do though when that's like overwhelming and it's just, yeah, it sounds dope. It sounds dope. Sell 10 times more books. I love it. How do you get there and how is the person when they dare to journal that and dare to write it down, how does it not become almost a throwaway joke? One is to realize that you've already done it. So if you look at your current self. If I look at my current self, it's not a stretch to say that I'm 10X some former version of myself in many different metrics. Five years ago, yeah, I got my first book deal ever. Even going back a little bit further, there's many areas of my life where, and 10X is just an idea, but there's many areas in my life where certainly I'm way beyond what my former self was imagining. And so obviously I've done it before and I've now created a new homeostasis and so I've done this before. And I think anyone listening yourself, you've done things in your life is at a place beyond the imagination of your former self at different stages. You've already done it. And so why get to a place when you stop living that way? Because at some point, some past version of you took that idea seriously and you started dreaming of a bigger goal and you actually then committed yourself to that and started orienting your life towards that. And so because you've done it before, why stop? And so I know I've done it before. And so I know that I'll get there, but also I'm not really competing with anyone. I'm not trying to prove myself to anyone. If I don't get there, there's no failure. I don't really see the fear in not getting there. You said outcomes matter. They do. They do.

How to turn any failure into a game and learn from it (52:19)

It will be a failure. How do they deal with that? Well, it's only a failure from a certain lens. You can turn a failure. I like football, so I'm talking Joe Burrow now. Joe Burrow just went to the Super Bowl. He could call it a failure because he didn't win the Super Bowl. The Bengals just lost to the Rams. He can certainly view it as a failure. He didn't achieve his goal. But viewing it as a failure over time stops being useful. It's just like, how can you turn it into a game? How can you learn from it? The event already occurred. You can't change the event. You can change how you frame it, and you can change what you get out of it. You can change what you do because of it. You can't actually go back and change. Joe Burrow can't change that he missed, that he lost. So he can be mad about it and feel like a loser. He can get mad at his former self. I've reached the place, and this is just my own belief, that nothing is actually a failure. You created what you created. You can now choose to do something differently. You can choose to learn from it. If I don't hit a goal, I can either be in the game about it or the gap about it. I can change because of it, or I can be mad at myself and turn it into a trauma. Now if you missed the goal, would you just reset that same goal and keep getting after it so that the goal keeps moving off into the horizon? Maybe because of what you learned, the goal stops being relevant, honestly. You're not competing against anyone. That's the great part. You get to choose your future self. You get to choose what you commit yourself to. Maybe going through that experience, you now can slightly adjust the goal. Maybe you can adjust what you're going for, or you can recommit to that same goal if you want. But you're not really competing with anyone. You're in your own internal experience, and so you get to choose what you commit yourself to just by actually attempting the thing you've probably gained a lot of experience that your former self who initially set the goal didn't have. So now you can either keep going for your former self's goal, or you can set something totally different. Have you encountered people that are unable to be honest with themselves about what went wrong? I think it takes all of us a little bit of time and digestion to figure that out. I think all of us are that in varying degrees. I don't think anyone is 100% honest with themselves. It takes time to get increasingly honest with yourself about why something went the way it did. Obviously a lot of people, they'll just be delusional about it and just either blame the situation, blame the other person, never actually look in the mirror and realize that they're the ones creating the outcomes of their lives. I think all of us are doing that in different degrees.

Dealing With Challenges And Retuning Future Vision

Why always feeling good can be dangerous (55:11)

Yeah, I would say so. It's interesting. There's a frame of reference that I think so many people spend their entire lives victimized by their own psychological immune system. The psychological immune system is an incredible gift, and I'm very grateful that we have it. What do you mean by psychological immune system? Psychological immune system kicks in to say, "Don't worry. It's not your fault." Oh, so this is just like the buffers just to keep you feeling good. "You lost the Super Bowl because your coaches called the wrong play. There's too much noise in the stadium that day." Whatever, right? So you're just pushing everything out. Exactly. It helps. The happiest people on planet Earth are the most delusional. That's the results of a real study. But I also worry that there's a fragility to that. There's something that feels off, and I'm speaking from experience. My entire up till, I don't know, 25, 26 was me not being completely honest with myself, definitely making things other people's problems because I was very afraid that ... I had a fixed mindset, so I was very afraid that I wasn't smart enough to achieve the things that I wanted to achieve in life. I was constantly like, "Is this proof that I'm not smart enough? Is this proof that I am smart enough?" It really made a big emotional difference when I could side on the side of it really was somebody else's fault. That was so emotionally useful that, man, what's the line, "Were it not but for the grace of God, there I go." When I see somebody trapped by the psychological immune system where they needed to be somebody else's fault because just emotionally it would be too devastating to face it, I spent so much time there and it was only encountering the ideas we've been talking about today that finally allowed me to say, "Okay, this sucks. This is really going to hurt, but I'm going to own everything." That was my fault. I did this. I did that, the other, whatever. I'm not good enough yet, but that word yet became this magical thing that I could append to anything. But I think most people, they're never able to get past that.

How to Instill the Willingness to Face Our Faults (57:23)

I'm curious, especially as somebody with six kids, how do you instill that willingness to stare nakedly at one's inadequacies? I think it's awesome. I think that how I see it is you can stay on a track that you're on. It's got rust. You can just push forward and stay on the track you're on or you can get off the track. It's kind of like a bow and arrow. You got to pull it back to get the tension to release it. I think about even Tiger Woods who at some point when he was at the top of his game stepped away for two years to redo his swing. Sometimes it's very painful in the moment to face truth. The more head on you face the truth, the more initial pain, but also the faster the release, the more you free yourself up from that. It's like either stepping onto a new track with rocket ship or getting into an airplane. So I think that facing that and being as honest with yourself as possible in the short term is potent. It's potently painful to admit to your wife or your kids that you have a problem or to admit to yourself and actually just be naked. My dad as an example, he was an extreme drug addict when I was growing up. Meth addict, did everything. Literally in the room right next to me and my friends while we were playing World of Warcraft. It was gnarly. One of the things that he said when he went through a recovery process was just becoming completely naked psychologically with yourself but then with everyone else. I think that from his perspective that actually makes you bulletproof psychologically because now you have nothing to hide. Now you have nothing to worry about. If you actually start to admit to yourself and to others that you have a problem or even just that you're concerned about something or confused about something, the more you actually voice it, first off you realize other people are not as emotionally attached to it as you are. Even if you've done something that you think is absolutely terrible and then you go and you talk about it, maybe start with a counselor, start in your journal, but then get faster and talk about it to people who really matter or who may be affected by it.

The Truth about Facing Hardship (59:31)

That's when actual progress occurs. There's the quote, "All progress starts by telling the truth." So you can continue to bury it. There's a twin quote to that one that you're only as sick as your secrets. That's Alcoholics Anonymous. Yeah, so it's like you can maintain this but you realize that because you're maintaining this you're on that track with all that friction. At some point you're burning things out. It's going to age you. It's going to exhaust you. It's creating all this decision fatigue. Face it. Free yourself from it and then life becomes so much better. Yeah, you may need to learn something. You may need to learn some skills in a totally different context rather than me trying to fix some problem. If I want to be honest with myself and become a better writer, I might have to do some serious deliberate practice. Deliberate practice is the exact opposite of habits. It's going outside your habits. It's actually developing new skills. It's facing your weaknesses. It's getting hard feedback. It's learning things new. Back to that 10X model, 80% new, 20% existing. If I really want to become a better writer or become better as a father, I've got to learn a lot of things that my current self doesn't know. That's going to be difficult. All real learning is difficult but you can have a good mindset toward it. Deliberate practice is hard. It's the willingness to face the difficulty for the short run for the investment in your future in the long run. That's the idea. It's just that if you're willing to make this investment, whether that's having that hard conversation, practicing this skill, every time you do that, you've just freed so much energy up for your future self. They're getting bigger and bigger and bigger which by nature makes your present better and better and better. It's worth it. It's hard. It doesn't get easier at every next level. There's new truths to unfold. No doubt. Other than journaling, what's the best way to continuously pull that future self into the present to make sure that it's getting stronger in your mind, that it's getting bigger, that it's getting better, that you're updating it?

How to Update your Future Vision (01:01:32)

Vividness is the key of future self, getting really vivid about it. Journaling about it is great. Committing to it is great. Starting to invest money into it. Starting to invest money in whatever goal you have. Investment financially creates commitment emotionally. That's what sunk cost bias really is. You can leverage that. If you start investing a little bit of money here and there or just actually learning it, the goal is to get yourself committed because once you get committed to whatever it is you want, then that's really what identity is. Identity is the thing you're most committed to. Everyone's committed to something. Once you stop being committed to something, you stop caring about the piano or you stop caring about a certain business or a relationship. Once it's stopped being something you're committed to, it's no longer a part of your identity. So you go somewhere else. The goal is just to get yourself committed to whatever it is you want. Do you formalize that? If you're committing to something new, do you tell people? Do you write it down? Yeah, yeah, yeah.

How to Make a Future Vision on Paper (01:02:48)

I think that there's different layers. Sometimes it takes continuous recommitment, but certainly writing about it, thinking about it, deciding about it, telling people about it, formalizing plans about it, investing money in it, making plans, uncommitting to other things, lesser goals. Before you uncommit to something, again, back to that 80/20 model, you get rid of 80% of your current existing. You don't have to do that all at once, but you can start to let go of some of that so that you can put more and more energy into this, scheduling it. If you look at a lot of people's schedules, their schedule looks like their current self, not their future self. It could be meetings, urgent versus important. So if you actually put it on the schedule and start saying no to cool opportunities that get in the way of that. For me, for most of my writing career, which is really at this point only six or seven years, writing was never on my schedule. When I was a PhD student, I would just write in the mornings, but even when I got out of my PhD and I was running a business, I still didn't do it, even though that was the main thing that I saw myself as. So literally, no, I'm going to own my time, I'm going to own my schedule. These are the times I write, these are my goals, this is what I'm committed to in 2022, and I'm going to start saying no to other stuff, even cool things that I think are interesting or stuff that maybe used to pay the bills, no, we're going to figure out some other way. You start to actually say, I'm going to figure it out right here. Future self, man. Be your future self now.

Mention Of Futurself.Com (01:04:17)

Where can people follow along with you and when does the book come out? The book comes out in June, I cheated. I got an early copy. Of course you did. Yeah, I mean, the book comes out in June. I'll just keep writing, but is where people can learn more about all the jazz on future self. That's pretty much it, man. I love it. Guys, truly be your future self now. It is such a powerful way. One thing I've always said is my future always needs to be bigger than my past because it gives you something exciting to chase, so make sure that you do that, that you have that exciting thing that gets you up and gets you going. Speaking of things that will get you up and get you going, if you haven't already, be sure to subscribe. Until next time, my friends, be legendary. Take care. Peace. Peace.

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