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Beware! Growth-Killing Identity Labels...

Discussion in 'The Unscripted Entrepreneurial Mind' started by MJ DeMarco, Nov 28, 2017.

  1. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    I've been trying to mentor a young man in the last year (lets call him "G"), and in doing so, it has provided me with a keen insight into just how "f*cked up* our media, educational, and entertainment complex has brainwashed our youth into accepting mediocrity as state of normalcy.

    G is struggling with an identity. He's a first year college student and has no clue what he wants to do with his life. That's not unusual. We've all been there.

    However whenever he mentions things of interest (but isn't necessarily good at) he falls back to an "identity label" as an excuse not to pursue it.

    I'm not good at that.
    I'm not a good writer.
    I'm not a good athlete.
    I can't draw.
    I can't speak well.
    I'm an introvert... (more on this below)
    I this..
    I that...

    Just like he's been trained by Hollywood and their X-men, he is sitting around WAITING for some type of heroic talent to FIND HIM. My guess is he expects to pick up a guitar for the first time in his life, and bam, in 24 hours he's Eddie Van Halen.

    Again, we're at EVENT vs PROCESS -- he's looking for an EVENT to provide him with an identity where identity is threaded in a PROCESS. Doing the hard work. Practicing. Learning and failing. Daily rigors and trials. For him, he does NOT want to see this. He only sees the podium and the award.

    For much of the world, TALENT has to come from our effort, not from our birthright.

    Much of this all comes down to identity labels.

    An identity label is a short, succinct description of yourself that is regarded as a permanent state of being, a characteristic that is both inflexible and immune from alteration.

    Identity labels are symptomatic to a fixed-mindset.

    And identity labels are the primary excuse we see here which prevents GROWTH and ACTION.

    • I don't know how to code...
    • I don't know how to [blank]...
    • I know nothing about manufacturing or prototyping...
    • My degree is in X so therefore, I'm not trained in Y...
    Here's an example personal to me.

    I'm an introvert. <-- Yes, that's MJ's Identity Label.

    And while introversion is more fact than fiction (kind of like being left-handed versus right handed) it DOES NOT define me. A fixed mindset type who is aware of his introversion would avoid ALL interviews and even more, avoid all public speaking. I'm not good at that. I'm an introvert.

    But I don't.

    Instead I strap on my big-boy pants and understand that I have to WORK HARDER in this area to overcome this state. And after years of practice, I'm happy to say I'm better at it.

    And the whole idea of interviews/public speaking is NOT so fearful.

    In fact, I can go as far to say that I could do public speaking for a living. That's right. I can speak to a group for a living despite my introversion. How about that for a good 'ole FU!

    That's the power of practice. The power of a growth mindset. And the power of catching yourself in an identity label and using it to gird your expectations for discomfort over comfort.

    So I leave this with a question for you ...

    What identity label are you using RIGHT NOW that could be impeding your growth?


    For more on identity, visit here:

    *UNSCRIPTED* - Identity Hacking: How to Kill Your Status Quo
     
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  2. PureA
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    PureA Winners never quit Speedway Pass

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    Nice read, an important reminder.

    For anyone who really relates with this topic and wants to go deeper, I highly recommend the book "So Good They Can't Ignore You" - Cal Newport.
     
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  3. Manumusashi
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    Manumusashi New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Thanks for this great reminder, MJ. (You also talk about this in Unscripted.)

    I needed to hear this! :smile2:
     
  4. Valor
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    Valor Silver Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    One of the main reasons people do this is because, if they were to adopt the growth mindset for a certain skill, there is a certain time period when learning that new skill where you feel really stupid.

    I was just thinking about that recently - even though I've always had a growth mindset (for most things anyway), one of the biggest and most important changes I've personally had since getting into entrepreneurship is I'm not afraid to look (and feel) stupid when doing something new.

    I'd rather look and feel stupid getting something done than feel "smart" and procrastinate.

    At the same time, like you mentioned, you have to accept who you are to a certain point - the key is to not use it as an excuse.

    This is a great reminder. It's easy to fall into this trap even if you're consciously aware of it.
     
  5. Dan1el
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    Dan1el Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    One of the labels I have put on myself is that im a introvert.

    But what we introverts (myself included) need to get into our heads is that we can do anything the extrovert can do. It might not come to us as naturally but we can do it if we put our minds into it.

    The only difference is we dont recharge from the same things as the extrovert. Still if you want to be the social guy at a party then fucking be it, if you want to approach the cute girl you want or if you need to make a bunch of phonecalls to make a sale just do it. You might be surprised at how much you actually enjoy doing "extroverted" things.

    There is nothing holding you back except yourself and your fixed mindset. Thanks for the reminder MJ!
     
  6. socaldude
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    socaldude Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    To be honest. I hate the words introvert and extrovert.

    The reason is because this model of human behavior doesn't give us an accurate diagnosis of our problems which in turn doesn't lead us to an effective solution. Just like a doctor or an auto mechanic.

    A more interesting model, and one that I think is more effective is pondering how socialization has influenced our thoughts and behaviors.

    If I have tremendous self-doubt in learning something then chances are those ideas and beliefs came from my environment. They couldn't have come from birth because we are all born "free" so to speak.

    Could it be our education system? Our parents expectations of us? Probably.

    Think about it. Every detail. Every experience. Every little memory in your mind forms a complex psychological nexus of thoughts and behaviors. Self-images, social schemas, social-expecations.

    The biggest leaps in my life have happened because iv'e set aside the "ME" that has been socially conditioned and the "ME" that is as close as possible to how I was when I was a baby.

    The same way you don't want bacteria in your body there are ideas we have ingested from our society that has literally "poisoned" our minds.

    I remember watching home videos that my dad took of me when I as a kid. I was loud, talkitive, energetic and "jumpy". But in my teen years I suffered from social anxiety. I remember crying while watching the videos as I realized this. It was powerful.
     
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  7. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Important yes, but significant research has proven that intro/extro version is genetically predisposed, so socialization only interacts with that existing disposition.
     
  8. socaldude
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    socaldude Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Yeah, totally true. No way that model by carl jung would be so widely used and accepted if there was no preponderance of evidence suggesting the theory. big fan of carl jung.

    I'm just trying to be like Socrates and stirring up a little skepticism because it help deepen understanding of these things.:happy:

    The reason I said I disliked these terms is that people often misunderstand them and misuse them(not saying you did).

    Kind of like "I think therefore I am" By Descartes. He didn't mean that if you thought you were a genius you actually are. He meant it as an a epistemology inquiry that the one truth you can know right now assuming you've questioned and rejected all supposed truths is that you are a thinking thing.

    Anyways ill stop:rofl:
     
  9. Laughingman21
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    Laughingman21 Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    @MJ DeMarco - Everything you've said hits home to me. I was in my thirties before I read the book Mindset by Carol Dweck and realised I'd spent my whole life with a fixed mindset. I'd always seen the opportunities as something for other people as I didn't have the necessary skills. Then suddenly one day after reading that book, the world was full of opportunities that I could take advantage of.

    Having a Growth Mindset completely changes the world around you and it's taken many years of practice to develop from a fixed to a growth mindset, but the benefits are endless.

    One of my biggest surprise is how few people understand or have even heard of fixed vs growth mindset. Everyday I hear people saying things and limiting themselves because they're stuck in the fixed mindset.

    Luckily I think times are changing. The school my kids go to put a great emphasis on developing the growth mindset and it shows in the attitudes of all the kids. Hopefully, this is a trend for the future.
     
  10. MetalGear
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    MetalGear Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    @MJ DeMarco

    Funny that you mention this, I just took the MBTI assessment and got INTJ - very low on the I though.

    My instructor said that Introverts are better at adapting and can act extroverted more than the other way around.

    I used to be more introverted, but have put myself in the position to speak to as many people as possible in recent years.
     
  11. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Featured post+!
     
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  12. SteveO
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    This can also be viewed as automatic reactions. Victimhood and all limiting beliefs spin these like crazy. Someone tries to sell you something for too much money, you see a potential opportunity but there are too many risks, you hear someone make an inappropriate comment about someone you care about.

    The fixed mindset is one of many mindsets that stem from viewing the world through belief systems.
     
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  13. socaldude
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    socaldude Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Its interesting that you mention this. I think theres something thats instilled in us in our education system that makes us think we need to “prove” were smart. You dont need to prove anything or look like anything to anyone. Self esteem should not come externally hence the “self” in the word instead of “others”-esteem.

    I believe you can make a lot of progress and growth just by not giving a damn about how you are perceived by “others”.

    Just be the best you can be period.
     
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  14. Contrarian
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    Contrarian Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    The introvert-extrovert thing is interesting. I always thought I was an extreme extrovert. And I've always come up as ENTJ.

    I used to spend almost 100% of my time around other people. There was nothing worse than being home alone on a Saturday night, and often even on a weeknight it sucked. I'd just be bored out of my mind.

    When I first started playing at the Fastlane three and a bit years ago, I set up a company to freelance through the very next day after my employer screwed me over. After a month, I couldn't take working from home anymore. I felt directionless and distracted. I'd go for 2 (or 3) hour alco-lunches with my freelance web developer friend at any opportunity. The freedom was liberating until it wasn't. After only a month I buckled and got another job, which turned out to be the definition of hell itself.

    OK, so I didn't have any money to live off. But I could have solved that problem very easily by getting a draw against commission from an old contact while I built myself up. I just didn't want to.

    Since I escaped from hell, I've been working 100% from home ever since. Two and a half years. And it'll be a cold day in hell before I ever go back to anyone's office. I wouldn't even want my own office with other people in it. I spend most of my time alone and I'm quite content with it. I still like spending time in crowds, but I don't need to.

    So...am I still an extrovert? Damned if I know.

    Great thread. The number of times I've heard "I can't...", "I don't..." "I'm not like that..." from people, often about the most basic of things. Like learning how to do something which doesn't pay minimum wage.

    That said, I still think it makes sense to leverage your strengths as much as possible. I could learn to code. I could have become an engineer. But it doesn't come naturally to me, my brain just isn't wired for it. I have zero interest and it bores me to tears. Am I ever going to be world class at that kind of work? Nope. Not a chance. Average? Yeah, maybe.

    I am wired for sales and marketing though. And systems and processes and strategy. I can do that all day long with a big smile on my face. I can succeed without learning how to code or be any other kind of maths guy.

    But there are times when pushing through the identity barrier DOES matter. I'm not a natural athlete. I get injured constantly. I hold fat to a crazy degree. The only way for me not to be fat is unrelenting discipline and vigilance. Especially because I love food. And beer. And 40 minutes of physio every day is boring as hell. But this isn't a battle you can avoid. Being fit and healthy is mandatory to live an optimal life. So I fight the battle every day. In truth, I make great progress and hit great setbacks in equal measure. I expect I'll be fighting that battle for the rest of my life.
     
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  15. WJK
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    I totally agree with you. These ID labels are patently self-limiting. And, I think that for the person who is willingly wearing these labels, it goes a lot deeper than the obvious. These labels are a ready made excuse to do nothing, and have that lack of effort be PC and socially OK. When your young person wears one of those labels, I bet that everyone around nods in agreement and automatically excuses his lack of achievement. The label become a "get out jail free card" so he can just blunder along doing his MDF (minimum daily requirement) for a bare bones existence without any one thinking he should do more, or could do better.

    Those labels also exempt him from failing. People who don't try, never have to face that failure monster staring back at them in their mirrors. You're right. He doesn't have to conquer that learning curve and change his ways. He has a built-in, passive aggressive, excuse for not even trying. And, of course, the predictable results are never his fault!
     
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  16. Dan1el
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    I agree with you its a interesting subject. If I can use myself as a case study, I know certain social situations can leave me drained from energy and I later need to be by myself to recharge. But I have also noticed that certain social situations can recharge me as well, it really depends on the situation.
    I have no research to back this but maybe everything isnt so black and white as one might think?
     
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  17. WJK
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    I find that to be true as well. Some people and situations are just energy vampires, and some add energy to their worlds. If someone or something feels bad, I try to put some distance between me and them. I do my best not to let someone else drain me.

    My husband is a true introvert and he really needs a lot of alone time. But, when I'm away, he gets lonely and can't wait for me to get home. (He says our dogs don't talk to him enough.) I tend to go from one end of the socialization scale to the others. I need my alone time to do my deep thinking and do my planning. Then, I need my social time to feel connected to the world, garner new ideas, and fend off feeling bored. I need a lot of variety to keep myself interested, so I plan my days accordingly.

    I think the key to the question is to keep life in balance. Everyone has their unique tipping point.
     
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  18. Invictus
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    Invictus Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    I agree with WJK.

    Current media/mentors/schooling/etc teaches us that we have a 'purpose' or a 'passion'. Like MJ says, we wait for our X-man superpower to develop within us.

    And while we could spend hours harping on "The One Thing", "Your Purpose", "What You're Meant to Do", I think it points to something more important.

    If people start to think that they have a singular purpose/duty, then they also think that they are excused from the rest.

    For example. I know tons of people who spend hours working on their skills and hobbies. They aren't lazy. They're putting in the work.

    But, there's a pervasive belief that your "One Thing" (or even One Category) means you can write off everything else.

    For example, an introvert may take pride in his painting ability. He may even spend a bit of time writing. Those are his things.

    Approach him and ask, "Hey, you're really good. Would you like to come in and speak to my class? I think they'd really like to hear from an artist, and it would give us a nice change of pace from classroom listening."

    His response? "Oh no no, I couldn't do that. I'm an introvert, so public speaking isn't my thing."

    And, like WJK says, that's socially okay. We develop these identities and use them as an excuse.

    I used to be horrible at this. It was okay for me to stand alone and not speak to anyone, or to suck at presentations, because I was shy.

    Not, "Hmm, I'm a bit shy. I should make sure I have some passable skills for interacting with strangers..." but, "It's okay to be bad at this. I don't need to get better."

    Being an introvert goes from "I prefer to be in smaller groups, and I need to recharge by being alone" to "I don't have to interact if it makes me uncomfortable."

    Being an extrovert goes from, "I am a people person." to "I need to chatty chat chat everyone up. That's just how I am. Oh? Write something? No no no. That's not my thing."

    Same for any skills we take pride in.

    You see it all the time with fiction writers. They can develop entire worlds with complex characters and beautiful scenes. But marketing? "No, I don't do any marketing. My work should stand by itself. That's slimy." (Meanwhile, ChickenHawk is laughing all the way to the bank).

    You can label yourself as your biggest trait/skill. But you can't let that limit you.

    In today's world, where a broad range of skills tends to be most valuable, it just might kill you.


    P.S. Sorry I was all over the place on this post. Hadn't had my coffee.