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Identity Hacking: How to Kill Your Status Quo

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Anything related to matters of the mind

Kruiser

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Do you want to change your current situation?

Then change your identity to a GROWTH IDENTITY from a STATUS QUO IDENTITY.

A STATUS QUO IDENTITY is what you are.

"I'm an engineer at Intel and someday would like to quit to start my own business."

A GROWTH IDENTITY is what you want to become, not what you are.

"I'm an entrepreneur who works at Intel."

MJ, Thanks for posting this and bumping it! I think it kind of provides a kind of key for me to move forward more effectively. Just a few days ago at a child's birthday party one of the other parents asked "so, what do you do?" My answer was "Uh . . . I guess I'm somewhere between being an unemployed corporate lawyer and an ecommerce entrepreneur." My answer was accurate (in a way), but this thread has helped me see why that answer is a problem and what the solution is.
 

MJ DeMarco

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Bump.
 

NewManRising

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I really needed to read all of this.



I had a therapist tell me this recently. When we meet people or are in a room full of people we tend to look at others and look for differences. After doing this we convince ourselves we are different from everyone. We isolate ourselves and believe we don't belong. Instead, we need to look for similarities. Not only can you find some similarities on the outside you can assume that there are similarities on the inside too (same struggles, needs, worries, joys, etc). After being part of a lot of groups in the community I am learning this is true. I've met some wealthy people, people in prestigious positions, doctors, lawyers, judges, business owners, and just about anyone else in other positions , and they all have similar thoughts, feelings and struggles (though there are some minor differences).
 
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MJ DeMarco

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Nemolein

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I prefer not to tell people what I am really doing in my current life. I dont give a f*ck of what they think about me. I dont need to show them that I am starting to create something. I just need to believe and to act like someone different, an entrepreneur. I think people don't care about what you are or what you are tending to be, they just care to know information of your personal life to judge you or to tell you how your decision (to be an entrepreneur) gonna lead you to failure. (I say all of this by personal experience years ago)
 
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Contrarian

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This resonates with me.

If I had hacked my identity sooner, I wouldn't have convinced myself to commit to a job masquerading as entrepreneurship...thus short-cutting most of the scary unknowns (and rewards) that go with the territory.

I have a Trello board of all the tasks I need to complete to launch my new venture. Yesterday I sat down, about to call suppliers - and suddenly felt overcome with self-doubt. Then I looked at my Trello board again and felt overwhelmed by all the things I'd have to execute to even get off the starting line. Then I started questioning my premise for the business in the first place.

What if it doesn't work? What if I waste years pursuing a pipe dream? What if I throw away all my hard-earned savings on this for nothing? What about all those flashy VC-funded competitors that are sure to start encroaching on my currently wide-open space any day now?

Then I told myself: this is who I am. This is what I do. Everything significant started insignificantly.

And then I picked up the phone.
 

Get Right

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I'd be interested to hear more about what kind of "process" you follow in your head when you do this, if you care to share.

For me it is very simple. I just tell people "who" I am, not just "what I am doing". For instance - I tell people I am a developer (real estate). I do this to reinforce (to myself) that I AM a developer.

If I were to use the "status quo" method it would read like: I am an Architect that builds a few houses and starts a few businesses each year.

There is more direction and clarity with identity hacking. It points the direction you are GOING. The later points the direction you have BEEN.

The important part of the mental process is that identity hacking is for YOU. It's not for anyone else. Keep telling yourself you are a "__________" and watch how much easier things work for you. You might even be surprised how much OTHERS help you as well :)
 

Jambla

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This worked with me for food. I kept snacking on refined sugary treats, I couldn’t keep my discipline whenever a bit of cake tempted me.

Then I told myself “I don’t eat refined sugar”, I told other people that too. It was very powerful and in no time family identified me, they would say “oh he doesn’t eat sugar”. I would think to myself, yes that’s right I don’t. It would reinforce my behavior even more. As result I lost a lot of weight and got lean.
 
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MiguelHammond10

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Do you want to change your current situation?

Then change your identity to a GROWTH IDENTITY from a STATUS QUO IDENTITY.

A STATUS QUO IDENTITY is what you are.

"I'm an engineer at Intel and someday would like to quit to start my own business."

A GROWTH IDENTITY is what you want to become, not what you are.

"I'm an entrepreneur who works at Intel."

KEY CONCEPT: Your self identity works to be congruent with reality. If the identity = reality then the status quo will remain the status quo.

Conversely, when their is incongruence, the status quo violates your identity and you will ACT to change it. You will be more likely to work daily to make it congruent. If your identity is congruent with the status quo, your action then becomes a matter of convenience. In other words, you most likely will NOT change. You will ALWAYS be "an engineer at Intel who would like to quit someday and start a business."

In my 400+ page book, UNSCRIPTED, the concept of identity hacking is a difficult find: It's found in the part about meaning and purpose, specifically, page 197.

In my life, I've ALWAYS self-identified as an entrepreneur since my teens and it helped me make that identity into a reality.

Whatever my future goals might be, I know I will use this identity hack to make it happen.

Screenwriter? I'm a screenwriter, not an aspiring screenwriter.
Options trader? I'm an options trader, not an aspiring trader.
Comedian? I'm a comedian, not an aspiring comedian.

Hack your identity and then prove it daily with action to what you will become.

View attachment 15336
Thank you for the thorough documentation of the process.
 

MJ DeMarco

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PedroG

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Bump. I'm pretty sure this is the reason why I'm not quite there yet.

My wife was just asking me why I refuse to call my business, a "business," and insist on calling it a "project" even though we have paying users.

I tell her that it's because I don't have enough users yet; that I will start calling it a business when I reach a certain amount.

My problem is I hate bullshitters and they're all around me, and I'm afraid of acting like one of them. You know them. The ones that put up a wordpress site and start telling everyone they have a business, and start calling themselves entrepreneurs. There's nothing I hate more.

This causes me to be overly cautious when telling--even myself--what I am. And I know this is holding me back.

For anyone interested in reading more about this topic I highly recommend "Psycho Cybernetics" by Maxwell Maltz.

Where you are in life, what you do, is always consistent with your self-image (identity). If you want to change your results, go to the source and fix your self-image.

I'm really going to put the exercises in that book into practice before moving on to the next book.
 
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Kruiser

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My wife was just asking me why I refuse to call my business, a "business," and insist on calling it a "project" even though we have paying users.

I tell her that it's because I don't have enough users yet; that I will start calling it a business when I reach a certain amount.

My problem is I hate bullshitters and they're all around me, and I'm afraid of acting like one of them. You know them. The ones that put up a wordpress site and start telling everyone they have a business, and start calling themselves entrepreneurs. There's nothing I hate more.

INTJs have a highly sensitive BS detector, which is both a blessing and a curse. The curse is that we can call BS on our own positive or empowering thoughts, even when they are not actually BS. Part of you says "It's working! It is helping folks! People are paying for it! It is a legitimate business!" Part of you says "BS! We've only got X amount of paying customers and Y amount of monthly revenue. No business yet." I've found Psycho-Cybernetics to be helpful, though I am not quite "cured" yet.

Separately, and this probably doesn't apply to you now, I do think labeling a newish venture as a "project" rather than a "business" can be helpful. It is helpful because it lowers the psychological stakes and makes taking action easier. I know that there can be advantages to being 100% committed, "no dabbling," "I am going to make this work no matter what," etc. But I've found that that approach can raise the stakes too much for me and I freeze and don't take action.

When I started my reasonably successful Amazon FBA business, I told myself (and my wife), "I am just going to mess around with this for a bit, spend up to a few thousand, and see what happens. It probably won't work, but I'll learn some things." This took the pressure off and I found it really easy to act. I know this might be blasphemy to some forum members, but I've found this kind of approach to be helpful for me in the right circumstances.
 

markK

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INTJs have a highly sensitive BS detector, which is both a blessing and a curse. The curse is that we can call BS on our own positive or empowering thoughts, even when they are not actually BS.


After going through @eliquid Not Fulfilled? Depressed? Maybe You Need An Alignment and taking the personality tests that he suggested, I came up as an INTP. I find that I have some of the same thought patterns that you describe.

I am becoming aware of some of the self-defeating thought processes that are associated with the INTP type. If anyone has any knowledge concerning the INTP type and any tips for successfully overcoming the challenges, I would appreciate the input...or, should I not give too much credence to the personality typing, which can create yet another "identity"?
 

Kruiser

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After going through @eliquid Not Fulfilled? Depressed? Maybe You Need An Alignment and taking the personality tests that he suggested, I came up as an INTP. I find that I have some of the same thought patterns that you describe.

I am becoming aware of some of the self-defeating thought processes that are associated with the INTP type. If anyone has any knowledge concerning the INTP type and any tips for successfully overcoming the challenges, I would appreciate the input...or, should I not give too much credence to the personality typing, which can create yet another "identity"?

I don't know much about the INTP type, but have found Psycho-Cybernetics and Tony Robbins to be generally helpful in fighting internal negativity.
As to the value of Meyers-Briggs typing, I am pretty sure there are some extensive threads on the topic elsewhere in the forum. I have found knowing my type to be quite useful. I read a lot of INTJ descriptions. Doing so helped me to become aware of certain tendencies and blind spots that I was not aware of previously. But don't take your type TOO seriously or let it limit you. Can you really be stuffed into one of 16 possible boxes that explain everything about you? Also, just because you may have certain tendencies as an INTP does not mean you can't overcome them in order to reach your goals.
 
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MJ DeMarco

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ZF Lee

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Bump, saw this being discussed in our Book of the Month discussion, Atomic Habits.

BOOK - Atomic Habits, by James Clear (Review & Discussion)
Yup, the relevant section in the Atomic Habits book reminded me of the Be-To-Have corollary.

The book is even better than the Goggins book, in terms of actionable steps that are clearer, comprehensive and more precise.

Even bridged the gap from classical psychologists like Thorndike. Back then when I studied psych for college, I knew we should be using those mind stuff to help ourselves, but that part was just never discussed at all in class.

I'll try to finish the book today, and then write up a review. 70% of my time reading it was spent more on reflecting what I had done so far with habits, the rights and wrongs I did.
 
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Danny Sullivan

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I have a day-job. I've been working here for 14yrs. It's been 14yrs of identity building!

I've had entrepreneurial experience. I've made money. But my identity remains. I am an employee that does entrepreneurial activities. It is hard to see the truth in the eyes.

I called my best friend which was reading Unscripted at the same time as me. He was an employee, he started a business but then quit to go back to another job. I told him "this is it" right there. This is our problem. Our identity has built strong towards the script.

You cannot have an identity shift in your head. You have to feel it in your heart, you have to feel your body shake. You cannot have an identity shift and be the same person anymore. You have to become "not me". Inside, your whole being has to shout "THIS IS NOT ME!"

Let me just quote eagleye101's post real quick, because i think it's not getting enough love. Especially the last part is the quintessence to this topic (imo).

I experienced this too lately. I noted that i'm getting quite comfortable with my current day job and started to procrastinate things that i wanted to do today to "tomorrow" or "some day after". Seeing this a my identity locking into me beeing what i'm doing at my day job opens a new way of thinking about this situation.

Thanks MJ and all participants for this thread and the wisdom it accumulates!
 

eagleye101

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Thanks, @Danny Sullivan, appreciate it.

eagleye reporting here: Things remain the same! Still an employee, still on the slow lane. Still the same identity!

After some epic discussions with @Andrew J. I came to some conclusions.

The more you educate your self (without apparent reason), the worse! As Mj has pointed, "the best book to read, is the one you need to proceed forward"

I find myself on the part of people that need to read more books, learn more things and spend more time keeping myself busy on things that don't really matter to go Fastlane. Learning more, in this case, spells "comfort zone".

The reason some super expensive programs work is that if you pay someone $10k to teach you about the same things you could learn from a $10 book, you are convincing yourself that you are a kind of person that pays $10k to grow. You are paying, not to learn, but to change your identity.

The smarter you are, the more depths of understanding you have, the hardest it is to change your identity because it has to go deep under your skin and not in your head.

For example, now that I wrote the above paragraph, someone (or me) may read it, understand it and think to him/her self "oh, I am paying to change my identity, I understand it now, I will not do anything instead"

To change your identity (imo) you should go through some deep shocking procedure or like a ritual (The best example coming to mind is the identity shift to people that join cults. They have deep initiation rituals and after that, people from the cults are not the same people. It's like their brain has been re-wired).

So here's an idea @MJ DeMarco
Start a "wealth cult" that is very expensive and will have extra hard rituals to get in, like walking on fire and walking alone in a cemetery chanting pages from Unscripted .

I'm only 70% joking on the above.
 

raad182

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I've dated an arts teacher and she teached me things like Method Acting and Stanislavski.
Tried both and are really powerful tools for self improvement but has its downsides.
After learning these I gave more credit to The Secret, Law of Attraction and the likes.
 
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MJ DeMarco

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eagleye reporting here: Things remain the same! Still an employee, still on the slow lane. Still the same identity!

After some epic discussions with @Andrew J. I came to some conclusions.

I went vegan over a year ago. In the midst of a omnipresent meat/dairy based culture, two things made this difficult life change happen:

1) I identified as a "vegan".
2) The other was having the right emotional anchors.

A deeper dive into these two is a thread in itself.

To change your identity (imo) you should go through some deep shocking procedure or like a ritual (The best example coming to mind is the identity shift to people that join cults. They have deep initiation rituals and after that, people from the cults are not the same people. It's like their brain has been re-wired).

Ayahuasca should do the trick.
 

Mainstream7

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Bump. Underrated thread.

Find the right identity and your action goes on highspeed.
Find the wrong identity and you take a detour.
Pick the identity that helps you the most.
The right identity helps you to focus tremendously.
 
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Santi M

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Bump.

Found this thread looking for an answer, lucky me MJ wrote this some time ago, I re-read page 197 of UNSCRIPTED .

I bump this cuz may be valuable for a lot of people in the same situation as me right now.
 

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