Your identity is the story you tell others. This story of your future self will determine your behaviour and the future outcomes you are seeking to achieve.
How you describe yourself now will ultimately shape your behaviour in the future. Your positive story-telling and intentional identity shaping over time are what creates your behaviour, habits, and ultimate success.
Your past can be limiting your future success
Start by changing your identity if you want to change your life or behaviour, or to become successful. By changing the story of your past, it can help you get very clear and precise about the story of your future and the identity you want to live in.
This is especially so when there have been past hurts and disappointments in your life. There may be traumas or horrible things you have gone through that have shaped your identity. These negative experiences can lead you to have a negative view of yourself. It will be limiting your future success.
You are the only one who can give meaning to your past and to shape your past.
It is up to you to give meaning to that experience if you have got horrible hurts and disappointments from your past. No one else can.
Stop being resentful towards your past. Don’t be upset, thinking that life is unfair.
Instead, be radically grateful. Intentionally create a positive narrative and meaning that benefits you.
Create positive feelings and identity towards your past
Be appreciative that your past occurred. You cannot change your past, but you have gained a lot of wisdom and strength from it. These experiences have may you stronger and more powerful as a result.
There is a lot more flexibility, knowing the things of your former self that you didn’t know about.
When this happens, you can make better decisions than your former self, being stronger and courageous than your former self.
Ultimately your past is something you want to have positive feelings and experiences towards, but not to negatively live out of repeatedly until it destroys you internally.
This is where your present determines and defines the meaning of your past. How you react now to your past will set the course for your future. The reality is that no one else can do this for you, but yourself. Taking charge of your current situation and circumstances and making a conscious effort to turn things around will be the key to your future success.
How to make better-informed decisions than your former self
As I like simplicity and common sense in processes, I have created the PrOACT 31000 decision-making framework to reach a decision quality practically. It combines key elements of making smart choices and the risk management process adopted from the international risk management standard, ISO 31000. The combination of these two powerful approaches sets the right foundation for quality informed decisions to be made where there are positive opportunity-seeking and risk-taking.
PrOACT represents five key elements of making smart choices:
- Problem statement
The PrOACT 31000 decision-making framework is the contemporary way of making better-informed decisions under uncertainty and risk.
The structured process for making quality informed decisions consists of the following elements or activities:
- Find the right problem to start with.
- Identify your real objectives.
- Create a range of alternatives tailored to your problem and objectives.
- Understand the consequences each alternative would have for each of your objectives.
- Make trade-offs among conflicting objectives.
- Review your problem definition, objectives, alternatives, and consequences.
- Identify opportunities and uncertainties that may affect your decision and objectives. The international risk management standard, ISO 31000 sets out the risk management process to identify, assess, evaluate, and treat any known uncertainties — threats opportunities — that may affect your decision and achievement of your objectives. Understand the outcomes that might unfold, their likelihoods, and their consequences.
- Take account of your risk-taking attitude.
- Plan for linked decisions over time.
Do reach out if you require help in applying PrOACT 31000 in your personal or work circumstances.
Make your learning greater than your experience
You could get hit by a car and become paralysed. Then you can either be resentful or upset because of that situation. It isn’t what you wanted it to be.
You are effectively comparing your situation to an ideal that doesn’t exist!
Alternately, you can turn it into a game. Find ways where you can learn from this experience. Take the good and leave the bad behind. Understand how you can benefit from this experience, good or bad. The key is to learn fast from your experiences and move on positively without being resentful and cultivating bitter roots that will eat you on the inside.
When you are not learning from your past, you are still resenting your past. There may be wishing that your past was different than it was. But there is nothing you can do now that can unwind what happened in the past!
This makes you a victim. As a victim, you are upset about your past.
When you are viewing your past from that negative perspective, you are choosing to define it as such.
You get to choose the meaning of your past. When you continuously tell that story, it will only rob you of joy.
Instead, the only thing you can do is to reframe your past positively. Intentionally choose to look at the positives. Learn from your experiences. Consciously reframe and transform your present and future in a positive way without looking back.
Be ultimately grateful for your past experiences. Then move quickly on from those experiences, never looking back.
Transform your past negative story
Your current self is largely shaped by your view of the past and future.
If you want to upgrade your identity, you must consciously transform the negative stories of your past into positive stories of the future.
The good thing to know is that the narrative that you have about yourself is not fixed. You are constantly revising it. The view of your past is based on where you are at in the present. To experience a very powerful present, you need to create a positive past.
Seek professional to help you create a positive past and reframe your experiences positively.
Two powerful things can shape your identity and future self
The current view of the past can shape how you feel in the present. How you view your future can also shape how you feel in the present.
Therefore, to be powerful in the present, you need two things.
Firstly, create an exciting and compelling future. Create meaningful vision and goals to aspire to. Clearly articulate what your future success will look like. Striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal can positively shape your future self.
When you don’t have goals or don’t have a clear future self, your present has no direction and purpose. A person without a destination will drift through life aimlessly.
Hence, the need for goal setting especially for some personality types. Whatever styles you have, create an exciting and compelling future for yourself.
Secondly, learn from experiences and reshape and give positive meaning to your past so that you can build a better future for yourself. Your future is happening right here and now. Don’t squander on the current opportunity to create a better future.
Learn fast from your past experiences, good and bad. Look forward in the future. There is so much to look forward to.
Here is the thing. You would never look constantly at your rear-view mirror when driving your car towards your intended destination. So, do likewise. Look forward instead, well into the future and get to your intended destination safely!
Looking backwards always will only increase the likelihood of accidents. Focusing on the future and your destination will increase the likelihood and extent of your future success.
Create a positive future self now
The more you clarify and think about your future self (your intended destination) now, the more proactive and intentional you can be in the present. It will be more meaningful and purposeful for you.
This future self will form part of your current story. Your identity is also being reshaped.
The upgraded story of your future self will guide your future behaviours. This will deliver the outcomes you are seeking to achieve.
Get a coach or mentor to help you clarify and think about your future self. Reach out to me if you need assistance.
Remember this. How you describe yourself now will ultimately shape your behaviour in the future. Your positive story-telling and intentional identity shaping over time are what creates your behaviour, habits, and ultimate success.
If you don’t have clarity and purpose and meaning in your life, then the present becomes pointless. It becomes very painful to be in the present if you don’t have meaning and purpose, or when there is nothing to strive for.
The reality is that you are the only one who can shape or reshape your future self. The more specific you get, the more measurable progress you can make.
When you make measurable progress, you can look back and be in the game. When you can appreciate and celebrate your progress, it increases your confidence, excitement, and motivation. Life is worth living!
Tell others about your goals; be accountable and transparent to others
Once you have defined your future self, then to solidify it as your identity, you need to start making or creating that future self as your new narrative. Start telling people about your goals. As you tell people about your story, you are crystallising your identity.
When you share a video of yourself wanting to lose weight on social media, there is social pressure and accountability to succeed. Sharing your goals and whole journey publicly helps you clarify and solidify your identity. You are effectively telling people about your future self.
When you start telling people about your future self, about who you want to be, you start to be open and transparent about your goals. You start to feel compelled to be living consistently with that new story about yourself. That consistency and public accountability are vital for positively reinforcing your identity, your story, and your future self.
Living consistently with your upgraded story and identity of your future self, the person you want to be can boost your optimism and success. This can help you get specific about who your future self is and what you need to specifically do to accomplish your pre-determined goals.
You are aligning your behaviours to your identity. Because you wanted to identify yourself as a fit person, you will endeavour to be consistent with a desired future self. You are positively motivated to succeed.
Start chasing your future self 10 years into the future!
Therefore, keep chasing your future self. There is a purpose for your future. Your future self is the hero that you always want to be.
This positive story of your future self will increase your confidence, motivation, and hope for a better present experience especially when you appreciate the progress you can make or have made. Positively reframing and transforming your past and consciously looking forward towards the future and your goals will enable you to live powerfully in the present. There is no resentment of the past, but just positive experiences that have enhanced your future self.
There is hope in your present experience or circumstances. Have the faith and belief that you can change your present circumstances for a better future.
Stop being resentful towards your past
If you’re still resentful towards your past, you are not going to not have a big view of your future. It is going to be a very small future because you are still so upset about the past. You are letting the past be the reason why you are unwilling to change and using it as justification for why you should be a victim.
Using the past as the excuse as to why you can’t move forward is ultimately about how you are framing it now. It is about the meaning you are giving to it. The identity that you currently have has crippled you, unfortunately.
Rather, be grateful for what you have learned or can learn from your past. Choose your future by making your learning greater than your experience. Don’t keep repeating your experience and framing them as negatives.
Your next steps
Instead, positively create a future that gives you purpose and meaning. Intentionally strive for a better future.
Tell people about your future self and goals. Surround yourself with accountability partners around you; get systems to support you; and create the right positive environment around you.
Reach out for help. Acknowledge that you need help to create a positive future self.
Start removing the things that would stop you from being yourself. Start surrounding yourself with people who will or can help you become your future self that you want to be.
Get mentors or coaches because you have specific goals to achieve — like running a marathon, having a certain amount of money, living a certain lifestyle, etc.
Successful people have mentors and coaches. These people are not out of reach.
Your future self must be more tangible and more intentional. Study how to get there. Start to observe people who are already where you want to be. Model after them.
In many respects, you have your unique view of the future. Start studying and learning from people who have created similar outcomes in their lives.
This will enable your identity to be very powerful, more powerful than your personality. Your personality is the by-product of your identity; your story; your future self.
Your identity shapes your behaviour. Over time, it becomes your personality.
You can shape the future personality and future success by creating your positive identity now.
Your destiny is in your hands.