In this series, I’ve tried to break down Benjamin Hardy’s ‘Will Power Doesn’t Work’. The book puts forth the edict that in order to achieve our goals, you have to take will power out of the equation and instead, replace it with the environment that enables success. The preceding post explored the concept of using ‘automaticity’ to become who we want to be.
“If you cannot be wise, pretend to be someone who is wise, and then just behave like they would.”
Fiction writer Neil Gaiman’s words remind me of Benjamin Hardy’s approach to creating a whole new you by a shift in habits. Our identities are not cast in concrete, but moulded by every step we take towards our new goals. Just like an organisation emulates best practices until it becomes the best in the industry – we can adopt a set of behaviours we aspire to, until it’s who we become.
I realised that I myself made changes in my own personality by using the following methods described in the book:
- Small changes, big evolutions: Making small, positive changes in habits every day may seem insignificant at first. But repeated and escalated over a period of time, they culminate into a stark evolution.
- Change your identity by your external environment: Our perception of who we are is determined by what circle of people we are most comfortable with. As Benjamin reinforces, we are an average of the 5 people we most interact with. Changing who we socialise with is an effective catalyst to improving ourselves.
- Raise the stakes: In order to make the new personality you’ve picked up stick, you have to make the pattern of behaviours permanent. And that happens when you reach a point of no return. It’s not will power then that pushes you to behave the right way – it’s part of who you are now.
All of this can be summarised best by the iconic words of celebrated architect, designer and visionary, Buckminster Fuller – “You never change things by fighting against the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
I’ll be wrapping up the series based on this wonderful book with one last nugget of wisdom – creating and controlling our environments – in the next post.