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Be Your Future Self Now:

The Science  of Intentional Transformation

by Dr. Benjamin Hardy

After finishing this book in June of 2022, I wrote,


"Dr. Hardy makes a compelling and actionable case for the fact that who we hold our future self to be drives the action and quality of our life in the present."


My clippings below collapse a 244-page book into 8 pages, measured by using 12-point type in Microsoft Word." 

See all my book recommendations.  

Here are the selections I made:

“Assume the consciousness of being the one you want to be, and you will be saved from your present state.” —Neville Goddard


Research now shows that a person’s past does not drive or dictate their actions and behaviors. Rather, we are pulled forward by our future.


Psychologists call this unique human ability prospection; as people, everything we do is driven by our prospects of the future. Prospection is based on a teleological view of the world, which views all human action and behavior as driven by goals—whether short term or long term.


Some questions you could ask yourself are: What is the reason or goal for this activity? What benefit am I getting from this? Where is this activity taking me?


All goals or motivations fit within two categories: approach or avoid.


As a rule, 80 percent of people are primarily driven by fear or avoidance, while 20 percent of people are driven by approach and courage.


In all instances, humans act as we do based on the future we see for ourselves. That may be a future we’re trying to avoid, or a future we’re trying to create. That future may be decades or seconds away.


Consider the themes of the following TED Talks given in recent years: The psychology of your Future Self The battle between your present and Future Self Essential questions to ask your Future Self A journey to your Future Self Guidance from your Future Self Saying hello to your Future Self How can we help our Future Selves? Thinking forward for your Future Self How to make our present self become our Future Self Challenge your Future Self How to step into your Future Self


The quality of connection you have with your own Future Self determines the quality of your life and behaviors now.


The clearer you are on where you want to go, the less distracted you’ll be by endless options.


This reality is depicted in a 2010 episode of The Simpsons, “MoneyBart,” when Homer, an irresponsible father, is confronted with his responsibilities and shirks them with alcohol. His wife, Marge, tries to get Homer back on track. “Someday, these kids will be out of the house, and you’ll regret not spending more time with them.” “That’s a problem for future Homer.” He shakes his head. “Man, I don’t envy that guy.” Homer pours vodka into a mayonnaise jar, drinks the contents, and collapses of an apparent heart attack.


In the 1990s, on The Late Show with David Letterman, the comedian Jerry Seinfeld discussed this common human plight: I saw an ad. I love this concept of, “No payments until June.” People are like, “Oh June, it will never be June.” They buy things and say to themselves, “The guy in June, he’ll have money somehow.” And I do that with myself. Like late at night, I think, “Well, it’s night, I’m having a good time, I don’t want to go to sleep. I’m Night Guy. Getting up after five hours’ sleep? That’s Morning Guy’s problem. Let him worry about that. I’m Night Guy, I’ve got to party.” Then you get up after five hours of sleep, you’re cranky, you’re exhausted. Night Guy always screws Morning Guy. There’s nothing Morning Guy can do to get back at Night Guy. The only thing Morning Guy could do is try to oversleep so many times that Day Guy loses his job and then Night Guy doesn’t have any more money to go out. Letterman laughed and replied, “You have done an excellent job of crystallizing the dichotomy of modern American life.” 


It is not the past, but the future, that drives a person’s actions and behaviors. All goals can be placed in two categories: approach or avoidance. Connected to your Future Self, you can appreciate, embrace, and love the present. Connection to your Future Self creates purpose and meaning in the present. The more connected you are to your longer-term Future Self, the better and wiser your decisions today.


Author and philosopher, Dr. Stephen R. Covey, said, “Mental creation always precedes physical creation.”


Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “When you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”


Hope is: a clear and specific goal agency thinking. Belief you have control over what you do, that your actions matter, and you can impact the results in your life.10 pathways thinking. You see a path, have a path, or can create multiple paths from where you are now to your goal.


As psychologist Brent Slife states in Time and Psychological Explanation (italics mine): We reinterpret or reconstruct our memory in light of what our mental set is in the present. In this sense, it is more accurate to say the present causes the meaning of the past, than it is to say that the past causes the meaning of the present . . . Our memories are not “stored” and “objective” entities but living parts of ourselves in the present. This is the reason our present moods and future goals so affect our memories.


To have a bigger future, have a better past. You can reframe and reshape your past narrative over and over. As you become more mature, you’ll look on even your hardest moments with awe and joy. You’ll love those moments for what they continue to teach you, and for the meaning they’ve given your life.


Business strategist Charlie Jones stated, “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” By proactively changing your inputs of information, experiences, and people, you become aware of what you previously didn’t know. You see what you previously didn’t notice. You seek what you previously didn’t want. You act in ways you previously didn’t behave.


Dr. Marshall Goldsmith explained in his book Triggers, “If we do not create and control our environment, our environment creates and controls us.”


As the Eastern mystic Rumi said, “What you seek is seeking you.”


“The idea of long-term planning is a relatively new concept from a human evolution standpoint. We weren’t evolved to live this long and have to make plans for the very distant future. Storing food for the next month or two, sure. But, to think about stocking away a retirement nest egg in case I’m retired for 30 years? This is relatively foreign. You couple that novel aspect of planning with the idea that we’re very swayed by everything that is happening in the present. It’s very easy to ignore the long, long run, and really hard to ignore all the pulls on our attention right now. Spending more money right now and eating something delicious right now—it’s appealing to do those things because we know we get the rewards right now. But to not do those things—to not spend, to not eat unhealthily—so that our long-run selves can be better off, well, that’s a hard proposition for a lot of people because the present is so powerful.” —Dr. Hal Hershfield


By seeing your Future Self as a different person, you appreciate that this person sees things differently than you do now. They care about different things than you do now. They’d act differently than you would now.


You see the other person as your friend, someone you care about who genuinely cares for you.


Make your Future Self vivid and detailed by writing a letter from your Future Self to your current self. Choose whatever time frame you want.


Business strategist Dr. Stephen Covey used rocks, pebbles, and a bucket to teach time management. In the activity, he filled the bucket with the small pebbles and then added the medium and large rocks. However, with the small pebbles taking up the bottom half of the bucket, the medium and large rocks couldn’t all fit. He emptied the bucket and started over, this time putting in the medium and large rocks first, and pouring the pebbles into the gaps around the larger rocks. By “putting first things first,” like magic, everything else fits in the same space. Putting the pebbles in first is majoring in minor things. 


The psychological definition of courage is to proactively pursue a noble and worthwhile goal involving risk. According to Dr. David Hawkins, courage is the doorway to all positive change. It takes courage to get into the game because once in the arena, you will fail.


Why don’t successful people and organizations automatically become very successful? One important explanation is due to what I call “the clarity paradox,” which can be summed up in four predictable phases: Phase 1: When we really have clarity of purpose, it leads to success. Phase 2: When we have success, it leads to more options and opportunities. Phase 3: When we have increased options and opportunities, it leads to diffused efforts. Phase 4: Diffused efforts undermine the very clarity that led to our success in the first place. Curiously, and overstating the point in order to make it, success is a catalyst for failure.53 Author and philosopher Robert Brault said, “We are kept from our goal not by obstacles, but by a clear path to a lesser goal.”


Your Future Self is inevitable. In 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, or 20, baring fatality, you will become someone. The question to ask yourself is: Who will your Future Self be? That is, perhaps, the most important question any human can ask themself.


“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.” —Viktor Frankl1


Pablo Picasso said, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”


Truth #4 is that the detail and vividness of your Future Self determines your ability to achieve it. The more detailed your Future Self, the better. The more measurable and specific your goals and milestones, the more effective will be your process and progress.


In the book, If Life Is a Game, These Are the Rules, Cherie Carter-Scott presents 10 rules for life.64 You will receive a body. You will receive lessons—you are enrolled in a full-time informal school called “life.” There are no mistakes, only lessons. Lessons are repeated until they are learned. Learning lessons does not end—if you’re alive, that means there is still lessons to be learned. “There” is no better than “here.” Other people are merely mirrors of you—you cannot love or hate something about someone unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself. What you make of life is up to you—you have all the tools and resources you need, what you do with them is up to you. The answers to life’s questions lie within you—all you need to do is look, listen, and trust. You will forget all of this at birth. 


These 10 rules reflect the words of the 18th-century English Romantic poet William Wordsworth, who penned: Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting: The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star, Hath had elsewhere its setting, And cometh from afar: Not in entire forgetfulness, And not in utter nakedness, But trailing clouds of glory do we come From God, who is our home Heaven lies about us in our infancy.


The famous 20th-century writer and theologian C. S. Lewis was an ardent believer and advocate of the theosis perspective of God and humanity. As he said: It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which you would be strongly tempted to worship . . . There are no ordinary people.


Your Future Self is the driver of your life. Your Future Self is different than you expect. Your Future Self is inevitable, yet the outcome is optional. Your Future Self is what you’re measuring. Failing as your Future Self is how you succeed. Being successful is only possible by being true to your Future Self. Your view of God impacts your views of your own Future Self.


“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” —Steve Jobs


“Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do,” Jobs said. “It’s true for companies, and it’s true for products.”


Jobs’s master plan had always been to impact the entire world. That was even the term he used in 1983 to recruit John Sculley, a leader at Pepsi. “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?”


Step #1: Clarifying your contextual purpose involves three key items: Connect with your long-term Future Self Clarify your contextual purpose through your three major priorities Set massive 12-month targets based on your three priorities


“We are kept from our goal not by obstacles, but by a clear path to a lesser goal.” —Robert Brault


A strategy he used for reaching his goals was imagining his Future Self as a distant mountain he walked toward. Every time he was presented an opportunity, he asked himself, “Does this take me closer to or further from the mountain?”


Once you’ve clarified a specific goal, you have to ask yourself: Am I committed enough to uncommit to what I currently have? If you truly are committed to something new and better, you’ll stop much of what you’re currently doing.


About commitment, the late Harvard business professor Clayton Christensen said, “100 percent is easier than 98 percent.” It’s easier to commit to something 100 percent, because once you’ve committed, you’ve eliminated the internal conflict. You’ve silenced the decision fatigue. You’ve banished the lesser goals.


The French writer and poet Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said, Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.


“Do or not do. There is no try.” —Yoda


Dr. Stephen Covey said, “To know and not to do is really not to know.”


As William Hutchinson Murray put it: Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. 


You get in life what you ask for. Sometimes, you’ve got to be persistent in your asking.


Step #4 to being your Future Self is to directly ask for what you want. Ask God in prayer. Ask experts. Ask friends. Ask anybody. Just ask. Don’t be afraid. And don’t be ashamed. As you get better at clarifying, simplifying, and asking, you’ll receive with increased swiftness.


As management author and legend Peter Drucker said, “There is nothing quite so useless, as doing with great efficiency, something that should not be done at all.”


Introducing small changes into your system can have a dramatic effect. Refining your system to automate your desired results and block noise and decision fatigue is essential to flow and high performance. It’s crucial to note that even the best system will quickly become outdated. As you evolve and grow, your goals and situation will change. As your vision expands and your commitment to better results increases, you’ll improve your system.


Step #5 to being your Future Self is automating and systemizing your Future Self. How can you better systemize your desired Future Self? What could you simplify and eliminate from your life, to free yourself from decision fatigue and lesser goals? What barriers and filters could you create to protect your time and attention? What could you automate, such as a weekly investing strategy? Where could you find a who to handle some of the hows that are outside your zone of genius?


“To me, ‘busy’ implies that the person is out of control of their life.” —Derek Sivers


Your schedule reflects your priorities. Your schedule reflects what you’re actually committed to. Most schedules are dominated by urgent battles and lesser goals such as meetings and Zoom calls. Rarely does someone’s schedule reflect and prioritize their Future Self over their current self.


To have freedom of time, take ownership of your schedule. Prioritize what matters most, and eliminate what does not. The more you take ownership of your time and attention, the simpler and easier to realize your Future Self. If, however, your time is continually overrun with lesser goals and other people’s agendas, then your desired Future Self will be frustrated.


How much does your schedule reflect your priorities? To repeat Jim Collins, “If you have more than three priorities, you have none.”


“Ship often. Ship lousy stuff, but ship. Ship constantly. Skip meetings. Often. Skip them with impunity. Ship.” —Seth Godin


If you’re remarkable, it’s likely that some people won’t like you. That’s part of the definition of remarkable. Nobody gets unanimous praise—ever. The best the timid can hope for is to be unnoticed. Criticism comes to those who stand out.


Sometimes we get discouraged and turn to inspirational writing, like stuff from Vince Lombardi: “Quitters never win and winners never quit.” Bad advice. Winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time.


Quit your lesser goals. Quit anything that isn’t taking you closer to the mountain. Don’t stick with something just because your former self invested in it.


Shipping is about finishing. Done is better than perfect. To quote Leonardo da Vinci, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”


Godin’s story and ideas bring us to the 7th and final step of being your Future Self, and that is aggressive completion. The completion of projects. The completion of goals and objectives. Imperfect completion. Consistent completion. The completion of better and better projects.


To quote Adam Grant in Think Again: To unlock the joy of being wrong, we need to detach. I’ve learned that two kinds of detachment are especially useful: detaching your present from your past and detaching your opinions from your identity . . . My past self was Mr. Facts—I was too fixated on knowing. Now I’m more interested in finding out what I don’t know. As Bridgewater founder, Ray Dalio told me, “If you don’t look back at yourself and think, ‘Wow, how stupid I was a year ago,’ then you must not have learned much in the past year.”36


The 80 Percent Rule: Done is better than perfect. Dan Sullivan explained, “Eighty percent gets results, while 100 percent is still thinking about it.”


“Freedom lies in being bold.” —Robert Frost

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