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How Your Identity Determines Success

How Your Identity Determines Your Success Thumbnail | Lenny Richardson

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How Your Identity Determines Success

Identity is the ultimate governor of your life. How you perceive yourself determines how you behave. And how you behave ultimately determines how your life plays out. Often, you might see the children of the wealthy. While they certainly may have inherited the wealth of their parents and had direct access to their resources, these qualities alone don't explain how they manage to keep their parent's money. Alternatively, think about the typical rags-to-riches story. What is it that can take someone born in an unfortunate circumstance and propel them to a higher social class--a feat that's statistically virtually impossible? The answer: Their identity. In this article, I'll be diving into what identity is, how it impacts your life, and how you can change it to achieve the lifestyle of your desires. Using this article, you will be able to shift your identity to change your life. Keep reading and by the end of this article, you'll understand How our identity Determines Success and how you can shift your identity.


Section 1: Introduction

In the book Atomic Habits by James Clear, the concept of identity shift is explained as the core of all change. It's not just about setting goals, but about becoming a different person. For example, if your goal is to get fit, the real objective is to shift your identity to someone who acts fit. A fit person is simply someone who consistently engages in a certain set of behaviors and activities. Similarly, if you want to quit smoking, it's not just about reducing your cigarette consumption, but about becoming a non-smoker. Shifting your identity is crucial for personal growth and success.

Many popular books and historical facts support the concept of identity shift. Throughout history, individuals who achieved great success transformed their identities. They shifted from ordinary individuals to extraordinary leaders, artists, or scientists. Their examples show that changing your identity can lead to remarkable accomplishments.

One recommended resource to explore the topic of identity shift is Psychocybernetics

by Maxwell Maltz. This book delves into the power of self-image and how it can shape your actions and outcomes. It provides valuable insights and techniques for shifting your identity and achieving personal transformation.

Section 2: Recognizing Your Power as a Co-Creator

Did you know that nearly 50% of our actions are habit-based? That's right, almost half of what we do daily is driven by our habits. Many of us live in a trance-like state, going through life on autopilot, guided by repetitive thoughts and behaviors. But here's the thing - you have the power to take control of your habits, thoughts, and beliefs. And because of this, changing the long-term flow of your life only takes a few minor tweaks.

Scientific research and studies on habit formation and mindset have shown that our habits and thoughts play a significant role in shaping our reality. They influence our actions, decisions, and ultimately, our outcomes. By recognizing and harnessing this power, you can shift your identity and dominate your life.

The Trance-Like State

Man meditating in a desert while staring at heaven

Living in a trance-like state is like being stuck in a loop of repetitive thoughts and behaviors. It's like being on autopilot, where you're just going through the motions without truly being present or intentional. This state can prevent personal growth and limit your potential.

Imagine being able to break free from this trance and take control of your life. Imagine being able to consciously choose your actions, thoughts, and beliefs. By recognizing that you are a co-creator of your reality, you can start to make intentional choices and break free from the limitations of your current habits and beliefs.

The Power of Shifting Your Identity

Shifting your identity is a powerful tool for personal growth and success. When you shift your identity, you're not just setting goals. You're becoming a different person. You're adopting the mindset, habits, and beliefs of the person you aspire to be.

So, how can you start shifting your identity? It begins with awareness and recognizing the stories and beliefs that are holding you back. Take a moment to reflect on your habits, thoughts, and beliefs. Are they serving you? Or are they keeping you stuck in a loop?

Once you become aware of these patterns, you can start challenging and changing them. You can choose new habits, thoughts, and beliefs that align with the person you want to become. Remember, you have the power to create the life you desire. Action Step: I recommend taking anywhere from 15-60 minutes to write down your current identity. Take note of what you like, what you dislike, and how you dress. Next, take another 15-60 minutes to make a list of the figures you most admire. They can be people in real life that you know or don't know like family members or celebrities respectively. They can also be fictional like a character from a movie, sitcom, or even a cartoon character. Some of the people I used to admire and want to be like are Eddie Morra from the movie Limitless, Hank Moody, from the show Californication, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Make your list as exhaustive as possible. Write down everything about the individual(s) that you admire such as the way they dress, walk, their style, their manner of speech, unique quirks about them, how others perceive them, etc.

Section 3: Healing and Releasing Limiting Stories

Our personal stories and beliefs have a profound impact on our lives. They shape our identity and influence our thoughts, actions, and outcomes. Often, these stories are formed in childhood and can continue to hold us back well into adulthood.

Let's consider a personal anecdote to illustrate this point. Imagine a person who, as a child, had a negative experience with math. Perhaps they struggled with a particular concept and felt embarrassed in front of their classmates. This one event may have created a belief that they are "bad at math." Throughout their academic journey, this belief persisted, limiting their potential and affecting their confidence in their abilities. This exact anecdote is a personal story of mine. I used to tell myself I was bad at math and so, as a result, I put in minimal effort to learning math and my grades declined in the subject. It was only later on in life when I reconfigured my identity and saw myself as excellent at math that I found math to be far easier than I initially perceived it.

Just like this anecdote, our experiences and the stories we attach to them can have a significant impact on our lives. These stories become ingrained in our minds and shape our beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. They can either empower us to reach our full potential or hold us back from achieving our goals.

Recognizing and changing these limiting stories is an essential part of personal growth and self-healing. By examining the stories we tell ourselves, we can uncover the beliefs that are holding us back. Once we become aware of these stories, we can begin to challenge and change them.

Psychological concepts and theories, such as those explored in Maxwell Maltz's book "Psychocybernetics," provide valuable insights into self-healing. Maltz emphasizes the power of self-image and how it can shape our actions and outcomes. By understanding the role of our self-image in constructing our stories, we can work towards healing and transforming our identities.

Changing our stories involves changing the meaning we assign to our experiences. It requires us to let go of limiting beliefs and replace them with empowering ones. This process of self-healing is not always easy, but it is necessary for personal transformation.

Various techniques and practices can aid in healing and releasing limiting stories. Shadow work, for example, is a powerful method of exploring and addressing the unconscious beliefs and traumas that shape our stories. By diving deep into our shadows, we can uncover and release the negative narratives that hold us back.

It's important to remember that self-healing goes hand in hand with self-growth. Before we can embark on a journey of personal development, we must first heal the wounds and release the stories that no longer serve us. This process requires courage, self-reflection, and a willingness to let go of old patterns and beliefs.

By healing and releasing limiting stories, we can shift our identity and open ourselves up to new possibilities. We can create a narrative that empowers us, rather than one that holds us back. So, take the time to explore your stories, challenge your beliefs, and embark on a journey of self-healing and transformation.

Hank Moody from Californication walking wearing a leather jacket and jeans

Action Step: Now that you've made a list of the traits your idols have, it's time to embody them. At least three times every week, practice adopting those traits. For example, I used to admire the quick-wittedness of Hank Moody from Californication and his simple yet effective style. He always seemed to know what clever comeback to throw out in most situations. And while his style was usually a black t-shirt, jeans, and Chelsea boots with sunglasses, I found it appealing enough to stand out while simple enough to easily emulate. For months, I copied Moody's style until it was my style. I'd also try to match his quick-wittedness, saying what he might say based on my situation. To this day, I regularly wear the Hank Moody outfit. Take time to act your way into a new way of thinking by emulating the traits of your admired individuals. It will feel unnatural at first and strange. But, over a few months, you'll find that you've integrated their traits into your natural ones. In time, you'll create a new trait that is an amalgamation of your and your idols' traits.

Section 4: Embracing Your Dream Character

Have you ever imagined yourself as the hero of your own movie? The main character who triumphs over challenges and achieves their wildest dreams. Embracing your dream character is a powerful concept that can help you shift your identity and dominate your life.

An Introduction to Dream Characters

When you embrace your dream character, you are not just setting goals or visualizing success. Instead, you are becoming the person you aspire to be. You are adopting the mindset, habits, and beliefs of your desired version of yourself.

Just like the protagonist in a movie, your dream character possesses qualities and traits that align with your vision of success. Whether it's being a rock star, a successful entrepreneur, or a loving parent, your dream character represents the best version of yourself.

Create a Clear Vision of Your Desired Self

To embrace your dream character, it's essential to create a clear vision of your desired self. Take some time to reflect on who you want to become and what qualities and achievements are important to you.

Action Step: Now that you've changed your core identity, it's time to create a new, ideal identity. It's not enough to simply be better. The goal is to become the kind of person that serves your goals and purpose. Write down specific details about your dream character. What are their habits, mindset, and beliefs? How do they interact with others? How do they handle challenges and setbacks? The more detailed and vivid your vision, the more powerfully it will manifest in your life.

Support from Motivational Speakers and Philosophers

The idea of embracing your dream character is supported by many motivational speakers and philosophers. They encourage dreaming big and stepping into the identity of your desired self.

Other influential figures, such as Joe Rogan, advocate for the idea of being the hero of your own movie. They emphasize the importance of creating a clear vision of your dream character and taking inspired action to bring that vision to life.

Embrace Your Dream Character Today

Now is the time to embrace your dream character and step into the identity of the person you aspire to be. Create a clear vision, adopt the mindset and habits of your dream character, and take inspired action to bridge the gap between who you are and who you want to become.

Remember, you have the power to shift your identity and dominate your life. Embrace your dream character and watch as your aspirations become a reality.

Section 5: Taking Aligned Actions

When it comes to shifting your identity, taking aligned actions is of utmost importance. Every action you take is a vote for the person you want to become. It's not just about setting goals; it's about consistently reinforcing your new identity through your actions.

James Clear, in his book Atomic Habits, emphasizes the role of action in habit formation and identity shift. He explains that every action you take casts a vote for the person you want to become. So, if you want to become a runner, every time you go for a run, you are reinforcing that new identity.

Think of your actions as building blocks that shape your identity. Each action is a small step towards becoming the person you aspire to be. By consistently taking actions aligned with your desired identity, you are creating a positive feedback loop that reinforces and solidifies that identity.

For example, let's say you want to shift your identity to become a more confident public speaker. Taking small actions like signing up for speaking engagements, practicing your speech, and seeking feedback from others will gradually build your confidence and reinforce your new identity as a confident speaker.

Lenny Richardson reading a book in the Georgetown library

It's important to note that taking action doesn't mean you have to wait for some grand opportunity to come your way. You can start taking small actions right now that align with your desired identity. Every action, no matter how small, counts towards shaping your new identity.

Remember, it's the consistency of these aligned actions that will lead to lasting change. By taking action, you are not only reinforcing your new identity, but you are also rewiring your brain to believe in that identity.

So, what are some strategies you can implement to take aligned actions and shift your identity?

Strategies for Taking Aligned Actions

  • Set specific goals that align with your desired identity. Break them down into small, actionable steps.

  • Create a daily routine or schedule that includes actions that reinforce your new identity.

  • Hold yourself accountable by tracking your progress and celebrating small wins along the way.

  • Surround yourself with people who embody the identity you want to shift into. Learn from their actions and habits.

  • Practice visualization and affirmations to reinforce your desired identity and motivate yourself to take action.

By implementing these strategies and consistently taking aligned actions, you can gradually shift your identity and dominate your life. Remember, as James Clear says, "You do not rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems." So, focus on building aligned actions into your daily systems and watch your identity transform.

Section 6: Overcoming Resistance and Closing the Gap

Resistance is a natural part of personal growth and shifting your identity. When you embark on a journey of self-improvement, you may encounter resistance in various forms. It's important to understand the effect of resistance on your personal growth and have strategies to overcome it.

The Effect of Resistance on Personal Growth

Sisyphus pushing a boulder up a mountain

Resistance can manifest as self-doubt, fear, or procrastination. It often stems from limiting beliefs and stories that we carry with us. When we resist taking action to bridge the gap between our current and desired identity, we hinder our personal growth and limit our potential.

By recognizing and acknowledging resistance, we can begin to address it and move forward. Resistance can be seen as a sign that we are pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones and towards growth. Embracing this discomfort is essential for transformation.

Actions to Bridge the Gap

To shift your identity and bridge the gap between who you are and who you want to become, you need to take intentional actions. These actions should align with your desired identity and reflect the person you aspire to be.

Start by setting specific goals that are in line with your new identity. Break these goals down into actionable steps that you can take daily. Focus on building habits and routines that reinforce your desired identity.

For example, if your goal is to become a writer, start by setting aside dedicated time each day to write. Create a writing routine and hold yourself accountable for it. By consistently taking actions that align with your new identity, you will gradually bridge the gap and become the person you aspire to be.

Overcoming Resistance

Resistance can take many forms, but it's important not to let it hold you back. Here are some common forms of resistance and strategies to overcome them:

  • Fear of failure: Recognize that failure is a natural part of growth and learning. Embrace the mindset that failure is an opportunity for growth and see it as a stepping stone towards success.

  • Self-doubt: Challenge your self-doubt by focusing on your strengths and past successes. Remind yourself of times when you have overcome challenges and achieved your goals.

  • Procrastination: Break tasks down into smaller, manageable steps. Set deadlines and hold yourself accountable. Create a supportive environment that minimizes distractions.

  • Perfectionism: Accept that perfection is unattainable and focus on progress instead. Embrace the mindset of continuous improvement and celebrate small wins along the way.

The Importance of Focusing on the Right Actions

When bridging the gap between your current and desired identity, it's important to focus on the right actions rather than just being busy. Prioritize actions that align with your goals and move you closer to your desired identity.

Avoid getting caught up in busyness for the sake of busyness. Instead, focus on actions that have a meaningful impact on your personal growth. This could include building new habits, acquiring new skills, or challenging limiting beliefs.

Remember, it's not about doing everything, but about doing the right things. By taking intentional actions and overcoming resistance, you can shift your identity and dominate your life.

Section 7: Conclusion

Throughout this blog, we have explored the concept of shifting your identity to dominate your life. By recognizing your power as a co-creator, healing and releasing limiting stories, embracing your dream character, taking aligned actions, and overcoming resistance, you can bridge the gap between who you are and who you want to become.

Recap of the Key Steps

To summarize, here are the key steps in shifting your identity for personal dominance:

  1. Recognize that you are a curator of your reality and have the power to change your habits, thoughts, and beliefs.

  2. Heal and release limiting stories by examining the stories you tell yourself and changing the meaning you assign to past experiences.

  3. Embrace your dream character by creating a clear vision of the person you aspire to be and adopting the mindset, habits, and beliefs of that version of yourself.

  4. Take aligned actions that reinforce your desired identity and bridge the gap between who you are and who you want to become.

  5. Overcome resistance by recognizing it as a sign of growth and taking intentional actions to move forward.

Importance of Self-Healing and Self-Awareness

It's important to note that personal growth goes hand in hand with self-healing. By examining and addressing the stories and beliefs that are holding you back, you can create a narrative that empowers you and opens up new possibilities.

Self-awareness plays a crucial role in this process. By becoming aware of your habits, thoughts, and beliefs, you can start challenging and changing them to align with your desired identity.

Receiving Personalized Help and Guidance

If you're feeling overwhelmed or unsure of how to begin your journey of shifting your identity, remember that personalized help and guidance are available. Feel free to reach out to me directly using the link below for personalized help. If you want to learn more about productivity tips from books, check out some of the other articles on my website.




Head shot of Leviticus Rich and Lenny Richaardson

Leviticus Rich is the premiere productivity expert and productivity coach located in the DC Metro area within Northern VA. 

Leviticus has helped thousands of people improve their time management, focus, and productivity by offering some of the best, science-backed advice and techniques in the modern era. 

P.S. If you need help managing your productivity and destroying procrastination, click the link here to sign up for free productivity coaching. 


If you want more resources or guides on how to boost your finances, fitness, or lifestyle, click the link here.

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