Benjamin Hardy: The #1 Personal Growth Hack in 2023, How To Change Your Identity and Make Better Choices | E206

Benjamin Hardy: The #1 Personal Growth Hack in 2023, How To Change Your Identity and Make Better Choices | E206

Benjamin Hardy: The #1 Personal Growth Hack in 2023, How To Change Your Identity and Make Better Choices | E206

During the Holocaust, Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl was sent to a concentration camp. He survived by focusing on his one goal: to return home to his family. Frankl saw that once people lost hope for their future, they ultimately lost their life. Dr. Benjamin Hardy has applied Frankl’s research to his own life as an organizational psychologist. In this episode, Ben returns to YAP to discuss the power of embracing our future selves and how to get familiar with a new system for measuring our progress! He will also share why unsuccessful people focus on “The Gap” and successful people focus on “The Gain.”
Dr. Benjamin Hardy is an organizational psychologist and the world’s leading expert on the psychology of entrepreneurial leadership and exponential growth. He was once the most popular blogger on the platform and his blogs have been read by over 100 million people. He has several books under his belt including the bestseller Willpower Doesn’t Work. On top of it all, Benjamin is also a sought-after corporate speaker.
In this episode, Hala and Benjamin will discuss:
– Why Ben considered himself a failure after writing his first book
– What it means to be in the Gap vs. the Gain
– The difference between ideals and goals
– How to commit to our future selves
– Why imagining is actually a skill
– Viktor Frankl’s tools for survival
– Mr. Beast’s journey toward his future self
– Understanding the what, the why, and the how
– How to view the timeline of our future self
– And other topics…
Dr. Benjamin Hardy is an organizational psychologist and is the world’s leading expert on the psychology of entrepreneurial leadership and exponential growth. His Ph.D. research focused on entrepreneurial courage and transformational leadership. Before completing his Ph.D., his blogs were read by over 100 million people.
Benjamin published his first major book Willpower Doesn’t Work while running a 7-figure online training business. Dr. Hardy has published additional books, including three co-authored with the legendary entrepreneurial coach, Dan Sullivan. His books have sold hundreds of thousands of copies and he is a sought-after teacher and speaker at corporate and entrepreneurial events as well as Fortune 500 companies. His new book, 10x Is Easier Than 2x: How World-Class Entrepreneurs Achieve More by Doing Less, is available for preorder and will be released on May 2023.
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[00:00:00] Benjamin Hardy: The reason Frankl is so important, he was a Jewish person who in 1942 was taken into the Holocaust, right? And what Frankl noticed, cuz he was a psychologist and so like he was paying attention to this stuff, he saw an immediate correlation when someone lost hope toward their future within days they died. Without a specific goal that gave your life meaning and substance, you couldn't handle the present, especially when it was that bad.

[00:00:28] This topic is becoming so big in psychology and even in therapy, like therapists are finding that there's really no way we can help someone change long-term without getting them connected to their future self. If they're not thinking about who they want to be, that then just becomes behavior change, which is willpower focused and you can't really sustain that without a direction.

[00:00:52] Hala Taha: What is up young and profiteers. You are listening to YAP, Young and Profiting Podcast, where we [00:01:00] interview the brightest minds in the world and turn their wisdom into actionable advice that you can use in your daily life. I'm your host, Hala Taha, aka, the Podcast Princess. Thanks for listening and get ready to listen, learn and profit.

[00:01:27] Ben, welcome to Young and Profiting Podcast. You came on the show four years ago to discuss your first book, Willpower Doesn't Work, and that was for episode number seven. This is when I first started podcasting way back in 2018. It feels like so long ago, and things have completely changed for me. YAP is now a number one entrepreneurship podcast.

[00:01:47] They call me the podcast princess because I've made so much progress in this space. But one thing does remain consistent after all these years. You are still by far my number one favorite productivity expert and so happy to have you [00:02:00] back on YAP. And thank you for believing in me early in my career.

[00:02:04] Benjamin Hardy: I'm happy to be back. It's crazy to think about 2018, that, that was four years ago. Willpower Doesn't Work was my first book. And so it's interesting to be back here all these books later and to see where the heck your podcast is at. And it's crazy. You sent me this microphone, you sent me a cup.

[00:02:18] Like I, I'm like having this world class experience. It is pretty funny to see how different things are four years later for everyone. 

[00:02:25] Hala Taha: Yeah, it is. We've both made so much progress. And guys, when I interviewed Ben, like I was so scared of being a podcaster that I wasn't even like basically in the interview I was audio only, I've basically had everything scripted, but things have changed.

[00:02:40] You put in the reps, you get better. And young and profiteers, I'm super excited to announce today's guest, Dr. Benjamin Hardy. He's an organizational psychologist. He's the world's leading expert on psychology of entrepreneurial leadership and exponential growth, and he was once the most popular blogger on

[00:02:58] His blogs have been read by over [00:03:00] a hundred million people. He has several books under his belt, including the Bestseller Willpower Doesn't Work, and he's also a sought after corporate speaker. So in this episode, Ben and I will unpack two of his latest concepts to help us foster greater achievement and happiness, namely the power of embracing our future selves and getting familiar with the new system for measuring our progress.

[00:03:20] What he and his co-author Dan Sullivan calls the gap in the game. So Ben, I thought a really relatable place that we could start would be killing two birds with one stone, so to speak, by unpacking a story that I heard you tell. So I listen to a lot of podcasts when I'm researching for the show and preparing for my guests.

[00:03:37] And I heard you say on another podcast that when you released that book in 2018, that you came on my podcast to talk about Willpower Doesn't Work. You actually considered it a failure because it didn't reach New York Times bestseller's list. And that's every author's dream. But nonetheless, like when you came on my podcast, I remember thinking it was such a big deal.

[00:03:57] You were such a big blogger. We had [00:04:00] scored Benjamin Hardy like episode number seven, and so you were a big deal to us and to the outside world, but inside you felt like a failure. So I wanna talk about that. I think it will give us some color on your journey and help us understand the gap in the game concept as well.

[00:04:15] Benjamin Hardy: Absolutely. I think it's a beautiful, interesting place to start. So I guess for a little context, I would say in 2000 ever, so I served a church mission from 2008 to 2010. And going on that experience was very transformational for me. I grew up in a really intense environment. We probably even talked about it four years ago.

[00:04:35] But ever since I came home from that experience in 2010, I wanted to be a professional author. So like that was a dream of mine, but I didn't know what form it would take. And I didn't really start approaching that goal in two until 2015. So from 2010 to 2015, I went to school, studied psychology, got into a PhD program for organizational psychology.

[00:04:55] And then once I was in my first year of my program, that's when it really hit me and I [00:05:00] got really committed to, I guess you could say, to my future self of becoming a professional author. So this was early 2015. And I was very already very excited, very motivated. And I had already learned a lot of success principles, I guess you could say.

[00:05:14] And so I actually grew very fast as a blogger and that's what took me to the And I grew and so essentially over the, from 2015 to 2017, I grew enormously as a blogger and was able to get a book deal and be able to start providing for my family. That was essentially my dream was to become a professional author and to be able to provide for my family.

[00:05:34] At the time, my wife and I had three foster kids. We've adopted them since and et cetera. But, so essentially I got a multi-six-figure book deal to write a book. I'm living my dreams. It all happens way faster than I thought. And anyways, in two early 2018, honestly it was March of 2018, the book comes out.

[00:05:51] . And I did have way in my head, like I'd built everything up in my head that it needed to be a certain level, it needed to be a New York Times bestseller. And I admittedly as well [00:06:00] threw so much money at it like that. Early 2018 was the first year I started to make. Like pretty dang good money.

[00:06:07] And I threw a lot of it at that book and I was just throwing everything kitchen sink at it. And yeah, it just didn't end up launching and exploding the way I thought it would. Like I had just expected it would go a certain way because most everything to that point in terms of like my writing and my growth, just, it was all going very well.

[00:06:27] And yeah, it didn't hit the goal. And for probably four or five months I was in a very deep depression, very deep slump. And back to the idea of the gap in the game now, it's funny that I launched a book. I'm a professional author. I released my first book, like I've never written a full book before I released this book.

[00:06:44] And to my publisher, they were very happy with the results. But for me, in my head, I just totally felt like a loser. And yeah, I guess from there, I mean if you wanted me to, I could explain the gap in the game, but yeah, that's basically where I was at. I guess I've learned to measure my own self differently.[00:07:00] 

[00:07:00] So the gap in the gain is something I learned from Dan Sullivan. I read his little book on the subject maybe, actually it was in 2018. I read his little book and I was still blogging back then. And it was just an idea I loved. If I ever get a chance to write books with Dan Sullivan, I'm going to make this a major book.

[00:07:16] And the idea is very simple. It's basically the idea that as a person you're, we all feel happier, sad based on how we measure ourselves and how we measure our experiences. The reason I went into a deep depression after I had made a monumental achievement, had never done that before. It was totally new, and yet I felt like a loser cuz I was in the gap.

[00:07:36] I was measuring what was against what I thought it should be, which isn't ideal. When you're in the gap, you're measuring yourself against your ideals, which you're always changing, always moving. Whereas the gain is the opposite. You measure yourself backward against where you were before. Truth was, is I was way further than I'd ever been.

[00:07:51] And if I was just measuring myself backward against my past self competing only against my past self. I was radically further than I ever was, and I just did something huge. [00:08:00] I'm learning and I've learned over the years to be more in the game and it's a far more enjoyable, far happier experience. 

[00:08:08] Hala Taha: Yeah. And I'd love to dig deeper on this, if you can help us understand the difference between ideals and goals and why that matters with all this.

[00:08:18] Benjamin Hardy: So ideals are very, they're very ephemeral. Like they're not actually tangible and so like how I learned it from Dan is ideals are like the horizon in the desert. Like you can see 'em out there and but every time you take a few steps forward, the horizon keeps going. And in America, we're actually trained to always be pursuing happiness.

[00:08:39] That's even in the Declaration of Independence, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And so we're very big on ideals in America, which is good. Like it's good to have ideals, it's good to be idealistic. There's nothing wrong with ideals. The problem is that they're immaterial. I think a definition of ideal is whatever you believe is perfection.

[00:08:55] So when you're in the gap, you're literally measuring yourself against your view of perfection. But [00:09:00] back to the idea of the horizon, that view is never endingly changing. My former self would've felt like it was perfection just to get a book deal, but then once I got there, the ideal changed, the horizon moved.

[00:09:12] And so if you're always measuring yourself against a moving target and also a moving target, that by definition is unreachable. You can't actually reach an ideal. It's an ideal, but if you're always measuring yourself against it, then you never feel like you've moved anywhere. That's actually why we wrote the book, is because high achievers by nature have huge ideals, but they also usually measure themselves against them.

[00:09:33] And our culture is trained that way. Social media trains us to have ideals and to always be comparing ourselves externally. And sometimes ideals are other people. But if you're always measuring yourself against something that's way up ahead and also something that you can never actually reach, then what that does for you internally is it feels like you've never made any progress at all.

[00:09:50] It also devalues everything you've done to that point. And so whenever you're in the gap, it does not matter how much you've achieved. It doesn't matter if you're living way beyond the dreams of anything you ever [00:10:00] thought you would do. You actually feel like you've made no progress at all and you feel like a loser and you've devalued not only your current self, you've devalued everything that got you here.

[00:10:09] And so ideals are beautiful. They're just not useful as a measurement tool. They're useful as a direction tool. Goals are far more concrete. Obviously, you can have goals that you set that move you toward your ideals. And so goals are specific. They're concrete, they're mile markers on a journey.

[00:10:27] And then the useful thing to do with your goals is to obviously become increasingly, intrinsically motivated towards the goals you set and even the standards you set for yourself that they're less about what anyone else thinks, what anyone else wants. And you actually get better at doing that when you just start measuring your progress backwards.

[00:10:44] So like I'll set a goal for myself. I've got huge goals for 2023, but in terms of where I'm measuring myself and in terms of my benchmark, like my benchmark for 2023 is what I accomplished in 2022. Like I accomplished some cool things, but I'm using that since it's tangible ideals are not [00:11:00] tangible.

[00:11:00] Like I have concrete evidence of what I did in 2022, and I can use that not only to propel me forward, but I can also use that to say, what do I want to do that's even gonna be bigger and more exciting.

[00:11:09] Hala Taha: Yeah. 

[00:11:10] Benjamin Hardy: So you can just measure yourself backwards and use that as the baseline for what you can do.

[00:11:15] Hala Taha: Yeah. So I hear you saying a couple big ideas here. The first one is, ideals are a moving target. You're never gonna get there, so you're never gonna be happy trying to go towards those ideals arch, because you're never gonna actually achieve that. You can't actually achieve your ideal, and it's always moving further and further as you become more successful.

[00:11:35] Second is comparing yourselves to other people that never helps in terms of our mindset or happiness. And then I hear you saying that goals can be tangible and you can have mile markers, and it's okay to have goals, but you need to make sure that you're judging your progress on those goals based on your past, not necessarily how far you are from your ideal place.

[00:11:58] I know I probably didn't say it as good as [00:12:00] you, but that's basically what I'm gathering from. 

[00:12:02] Benjamin Hardy: No, you broke it down beautifully. I think that this is one of the main problems with the narratives. Like there, there's a lot of narratives about how you shouldn't have goals. Obviously. I think it's impossible to not have goals.

[00:12:13] I think human beings, we can't not have a goal. That's part of being intentional, but the problem is the measurement. Even if I had hit my goal , I would've gone into the gap. I would've moved the target. So even if I had hit the New York Times bestseller list from a gap perspective, I still would've felt terrible about myself because I would've moved the target.

[00:12:33] The target would've been why wasn't I on it for four weeks? 

[00:12:36] Hala Taha: Why wasn't I number one New York Times bestseller? 

[00:12:38] Benjamin Hardy: Yeah. Or why didn't I hit number one? So it doesn't, even, whether you hit the goal or not, doesn't even matter. If you're in the gap, it will never have been enough because the target will keep changing and you're measuring yourself against something that's immeasurable and something that's external and always changing.

[00:12:53] And yeah, whether it's other people that you're measuring yourself against or whether it's just you're inflated ideals, that's the point is that you [00:13:00] won't be happy hitting or not hitting your goals if you stay in the gap. That's just the key. 

[00:13:05] Hala Taha: Yeah. So then on the flip side, let's talk about gain thinking.

[00:13:08] What does it look like to have gain thinking or to practice gain thinking? 

[00:13:12] Benjamin Hardy: So I look at gain thinking two ways. One is it's a way of measuring your progress and measuring your experiences. So for me, for example, like I've had a number of experiences already today, like even just to this point, and some of them went to plans and some of them didn't go to plans.

[00:13:27] But if I'm in the game, I'm measuring what actually did happen and I'm measuring myself backwards. I'm only measuring myself against where I was before. And the truth is, I'm always ahead of my past self, even if things go backwards, seemingly, like even if I lose my leg in a car accident, right? Like a lot of bad things can seemingly happen, but if you're in the gain, you are finding the gains and you're creating gains from your experiences.

[00:13:51] I consider it. You're squeezing as much juice out of your experiences as possible. You're also always choosing to become better. As a result, no matter what happens to [00:14:00] you, you are in the gain. So everything ultimately happens for you. So I guess it's really two big ideas. One is it's measuring yourself backward against where you were before and always realizing that you are further than you were before.

[00:14:12] And that the only thing I'm actually measuring myself against is myself, which is where I was before. So that's number one is just measuring yourself backwards. The second one is literally turning everything that happens to you into something that happens for you. So anything, no matter what it was, you can actually gain and grow from it.

[00:14:28] And if you do, then you're always getting better. You're always learning from every experience. Whereas if you're in the gap, then your past becomes a problem. From a psychology standpoint, what you need to be happy in the present is you need a happy past and an exciting future. And the past is literally a meaning.

[00:14:46] And so the gain is just a lens of using your or of transforming your past into more gains, more learning. Even from your most extreme traumas, you can learn to turn those into gains so that you're constantly better and even grateful for [00:15:00] them, which is what psychologists would call post-traumatic growth.

[00:15:03] So it's really just those two things. I'm only measuring myself against myself backward, and I'm literally turning every experience into my gain. 

[00:15:09] Hala Taha: And we're gonna touch on post-traumatic growth later on in this interview. But first, I wanna get into your new book, your latest book. Be your future self. Now, I think this is a great tie in.

[00:15:18] So in your book you say it's not about becoming our future selves, it's actually about being our future selves. Now I think we just got a good foundation of gap thinking, gain thinking. Here you are telling us basically let's not compare our progress to our ideals. But you're also not opposed to the fact of thinking in a futuristic way or thinking about our future.

[00:15:40] It's not like you're saying don't think about your future at all. It's just that you've gotta be your future self. It's not about becoming your future self in the gap between where you are and and where you wanna be. So tell us about how future self is related to this gap and gain thinking.

[00:15:56] Because I have a feeling that you really got the [00:16:00] inspiration from this other book after reading both of them. 

[00:16:03] Benjamin Hardy: This is a really interesting concept in psychology. So like when, typically the way we look at time is we look at it as past, present, and future. And we look at it sequentially. And we also look at it chronologically my past is behind me.

[00:16:16] There's no way I can get back there. My present is now, and the future's up ahead of me. I can never, I'll never actually be able to go into the future. All there is really now from a psychology standpoint, that's not how psychologists view times. Psychologists don't view time sequentially. We actually view it holistically.

[00:16:31] So what I mean by that is, is that the past is currently existing in my life. Who I'm being right now is a complete amalgamation of my views, of my past, my experiences of my past. We, even today, were talking about us having a conversation four years ago. And so like my past is of course influencing me right now and my narration of the past, my story of the past, the feelings I have toward my past, the anchors I may have in my past that are unresolved, call it trauma or whatever.

[00:16:58] But also my goals are heavily [00:17:00] influencing. Anyone who's listening to this is listening to it for a reason. They're listening to it because they feel like this is gonna help them contribute to their goals or help them move forward in their lives. And so everything about my life right now is a combination of my feelings and my perspectives of my past, and also my excitements or my feelings towards the future.

[00:17:17] And so they're certainly not mutually exclusive in terms of being in the game, but also having a future-oriented mindset. Most people who read the gap and the gain are very future-oriented people. The gain doesn't stop you, from having a future, actually, in my perspective, whenever I'm living in the gain, it actually helps me to be more, it helps me to have a future that's more genuinely coming from my own self rather than something that's coming from the outside.

[00:17:41] Usually, people's goals and their, call it their standards or their ideals actually were fed to them by culture, by society. They don't even, the future that they want actually isn't genuinely intrinsically motivated. And so for me, tapping into the gain just helps me to stop worrying about the outside world as much, stop competing with other people.[00:18:00] 

[00:18:00] And so in terms of future self, I guess I would say in simple terms, we all have a future self. What the research shows us is that most people, especially the older they get, they stop thinking about their future self very much. Most people, probably 30 and above, assume that even their future self 10, 20, or 30 years from now, is mostly gonna be the same person they are today.

[00:18:23] So most people don't have huge imagination towards their future self. What the research does show is that your future self is gonna be a wildly different person than you think. Even in five or 10 years from now, it's gonna be hard to fully predict who your future self will be, but if you start imagining it, start thinking about it, and importantly, getting really connected to your future self, who you want to be in the future, you can then start using.

[00:18:44] Obviously your vision of your future self to guide and direct who you're gonna be today. And you can be extremely intentional about it. And so from my standpoint, the best thing to do is get really clear and connected to your future self, who you wanna be. Get very specific about that, and then use that, I guess you [00:19:00] could say the North Star for directing everything you're doing here and now and each and every day as you're moving forward.

[00:19:05] You're measuring yourself against where you were before. You're measuring yourself backwards, and you're always seeing that by increasingly living intentionally as your future self, you're always outgrowing your past self. I do this daily. If I even look at where I was a week ago, I am not the same person I was last week.

[00:19:23] I've changed a lot. I've grown a lot. I know a ton of things my past self doesn't, didn't know, and so I'm never my past self and I'm always growing into my future self, and that's how I see it. 

[00:19:34] Hala Taha: Let's hold that thought and take a quick break with our sponsors. Oh, I love that sound young and profiteers, because that's the sound you hear whenever you make a sale on Shopify.

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[00:23:48] Yeah, something that I thought was really interesting when I was reading your work is this concept of you actually thinking of your future self as a completely different person, and I thought that was really eye-opening. [00:24:00] For one, I feel like you give yourself some more grace when you think of your past and your future self as a different person.

[00:24:06] It's like you, you start to feel empathy for yourself and you're not so hard on yourself depending on what outcomes end up happening. So I'd love to understand the importance of actually thinking of yourself as different present self, future self, even past self. 

[00:24:21] Benjamin Hardy: I love what you're saying and if you're such a good interviewer, but if there's ever anything like you wanna contr, I just love what you're saying, but So as an example, like I would say this year in 2022, I've had some of my biggest wins and I've had also some of my biggest mistakes.

[00:24:34] But I know that I'm not the same person I was again, like I said, even a few weeks ago, I'm not mad at my past self though. Like my past self was coming from a different place. And so I think it's always good to have compassion and empathy towards your former self because you now know so many things that they didn't know.

[00:24:51] You're in a different place, things differently. And so one, I think it's very beautiful to recognize you're not the same person as you were in the past. And to have only [00:25:00] empathy towards your past, there's no upsides to having bad or negative emotions towards your past. It does nothing for your future.

[00:25:07] It does nothing for your present. And so always transforming your past into gains and greater perspective learning, that is, again, back, back to post-traumatic growth. It's that you are grateful. Like the idea of trauma is really that something happened to your past and you feel like you're now in some way in sup, like inferior, you've gone backwards.

[00:25:29] You're also crippled in some way because of what happened. Whereas the opposite is that now you are empowered because of what happened. So I guess that's one in terms of always seeing your future self as a different person. To me, what that does is it propels a growth mindset. Like the definition of a fixed mindset is that you've purely defined who you are based on your past and.

[00:25:50] Then you assume that who you are now is who you're always gonna be. So you have a fixed mindset. You don't think you're gonna change. You've already painted your future self into a box that your future self is the exact person [00:26:00] you are today. And so that, what the research shows is that leads to having a fragile or a brittle approach to life where you're too afraid to fail cuz you're trying to prove yourself.

[00:26:06] Whereas if I know that my future self a week from now is gonna be different, they're gonna be way more knowledgeable, they're gonna be less ignorant, then that gives me, right now a lot of grace. Like you said, like I don't have to have all the answers right now. Like one of my favorite kind of models for this, it comes from Brene Brown's book, the Atlas of the Heart, where she said, you're either trying to be right or you're trying to get it right.

[00:26:29] And if you're trying to be right, that's the definition of a fixed mindset. Like you're trying to prove your current self because your future self isn't gonna be any different. Like you've already, you're stuck. Whereas if you're just trying to get it. I know I'm gonna make a lot of mistakes. I know I don't have all the answers now, and I know my future self's gonna have better perspectives.

[00:26:44] And once I get there, they're gonna be blown away at how different they are from who I am today. But also, they're always gonna be trying to figure it out. Like you're always trying to get it right and you're always growing and changing, and so it just leads you to not needing to have it all figured out.

[00:26:56] Instead you're just in a state of learning, which is a growth mindset. [00:27:00] 

[00:27:00] Hala Taha: Yeah, and something that I think is really interesting is that it's actually hard to imagine ourselves as a future self. I think some people are better than others, but a lot of people have trouble imagining who they are in the future.

[00:27:13] Can you talk to us about why that is? 

[00:27:15] Benjamin Hardy: The main reason that people have a hard time, and this is something that Daniel Gilbert said. He's a Harvard psychologist who's been studying this concept for 20 years, and he actually gave a main stage Ted talk called the Psychology of Your Future Self back in 2014.

[00:27:29] But he said that the reason people have a hard time imagining their future self is because they don't do it. Like they literally don't take the time. If anyone here was sitting listening, I would ask in the last seven days, how much time have you spent imagining your future self? How much time have you spent journaling and thinking about it?

[00:27:48] My guess is that the average listener, and maybe this group would be different because this is, these are young people who are actually, have big visions. But I'd say the average person who struggles to think about this it, the main reason is just because they're not taking [00:28:00] the time to think about it.

[00:28:00] Imagination is very much a skill. It's a skill that you can get better and better at. There's kind of levels to seeing your future self. The first one is honestly just connecting with your future self and having empathy for them, just like you would wanna have empathy for your past self. A crucial first step to connecting to your future self is having empathy that your future self is a real person.

[00:28:20] They're coming from a certain place and they're being impacted by what you do . Just a guy, I would have empathy for another person. If I was more emotionally intelligent, I would realize that they're coming from a different place than me. They've got different perspectives, different values, different goals.

[00:28:33] They're in a different situation. I would wanna start by understanding, but then you go from connecting to getting really vivid where it's like you now start to see the context of your future self. And obviously you get to create that. Like your future self is gonna be different from mine. And I get to choose in large part what I want my future self to look like.

[00:28:53] And so I think you just take the time to think, who do I want my future self to be in five or 10 years? What do I want that to look like? What's gonna [00:29:00] be really important to my future self? What's gonna be really important to them that I should be paying attention to now? I think it's just taking the time to really think about it and putting yourself in the situation.

[00:29:09] Like just as one simple example, let me just put myself into my future self shoes. Call it in 2030. So 2030 is eight years away. One way of putting myself into that person's shoes is literally just thinking things through. So I know that it's a little crazy for a lot of people, but I have six kids and the oldest one is 15, the youngest one is two.

[00:29:28] So like I know that my 15 year old in eight years from now is gonna be 23. So that's one thing is okay, I'm gonna have a 23 year old son. My youngest is gonna be 10, and so I'm just starting to like actually start to think about that. I'll be 10 years older. What do I want that to look like? Where do I wanna be?

[00:29:44] What do I wanna be focused on? What's gonna be really important to me? Then like literally starting to put yourself in the shoes and start to think about it and then starting to think what are the most important things that I could do now that would set that future self up? I know that, and you can do it in shorter timeframes, but it's literally just actually putting concrete [00:30:00] around it in context to really start thinking about it.

[00:30:03] Hala Taha: Yeah. So related to this, in your book, you say that your identity is what you're most committed to and it's your identity that actually drives your behaviors or your future identity. Can you talk to us about that? 

[00:30:15] Benjamin Hardy: Yeah, so identity is such an interesting concept and I really do think it's the driver of everything, but then the question is what drives identity?

[00:30:22] And identity is really actually driven by what your goals are, what you're most committed to. When I say it's what you're most committed to, it's really two things. It's the story that you're most committed to in terms of your past, present, and future. Like we all have a story about our past and who we were and what led us to this point.

[00:30:39] We have a story about who we are now and we also have a story for our future. And so that's one commitment is the story or the narrative you have. The second one is actually your standards. So your standards as a person are what you're committed to. Like we all have standards I'll give an example, like I was recently back home visiting and I have a cousin who's been living at my dad's house for, [00:31:00] call it five years.

[00:31:01] He's a cousin that lives at my dad's house now, and he's one of those people who plays World of Warcraft literally like all day, unless he's at work or sleeping. And actually, honestly, that's how I used to be. I used to be that way where I played video games like 16 hours a day. But it was interesting cuz I was talking to him and I was just catching up with him and I was just asking him what was going on in the game.

[00:31:20] Cuz that's kinda the main thing he does. And he said, I recently left my group, my guild, it's a guild in this online game. And I said why did you leave the guild? And he said, because they're just not up to my standard. I have bigger goals that I wanna achieve in the game and there's things I want to do and I just can't do it in this group.

[00:31:34] And he's one of those people who's like at the top of the top in this game. And I thought that was interesting that his standard for himself is really high in the game. Like I have zero standards for myself in that game cuz it's not valuable to me. It's not what I value. So my, I have no standards there.

[00:31:49] But the question is, where are my standards? Where do I actually care? And how high are my standards in those areas? And your standard does reflect what you're committed to. So like he show. He was committed to [00:32:00] something more, which is why he left that group cuz his standards were higher. So as you elevate your standards and your story, you change your identity.

[00:32:08] And so your standards are just whatever you hold yourself to. That could be in your finances, it could be in your health. And when you raise the standards and it's a true commitment, you don't go back below those standards. You start saying no to everything that's below those and it stops resonating with your identity.

[00:32:23] Because your standards and your identity are pretty much the same thing. So as you elevate your standards, you no longer can go back to doing what you were doing before because it just doesn't resonate with your identity anymore. There's things that I was even saying yes to call it a few months ago, which would be unfathomable to me now.

[00:32:41] Like I it just doesn't fit with what's acceptable or even with what's relevant to me anymore because it no longer fits the standard. 

[00:32:48] Hala Taha: Yeah. So basically it's having this very clear, vivid picture of your future self, and then whenever you have decisions in terms of how you act or the things that you do, you're always being true to your future [00:33:00] self, and it helps you basically be able to say no more often and make the decisions that will be good to your future self or what is aligned to your future self.

[00:33:10] Benjamin Hardy: Yeah. When you start to make your future self the standard, then it becomes a massive filtering tool where it's like, what would my future self do? Or if I was my future self now, how would they approach this and how would my future self want me to do this? We were talking about Victor Frankl earlier in this call, and that's literally what Victor Frankl invited people to do.

[00:33:29] He said, I want you to imagine this moment that you're sitting in right now, and imagine that you had already lived it, so whatever you're doing, let's just call it, you're on your way home from work and you're about to go home from work. So let's just imagine that this moment right now has already passed and you acted poorly.

[00:33:46] You're having to deal with the consequences of whatever it is you're gonna do, but now you get to come back and relive it again, and you get to actually do it differently and better. And so that's just using your future self as the standard, as the way for operating. [00:34:00] Like I know that my future self wants the best for me and also wants me to be my best.

[00:34:06] And so if I start to make my future self the standard, then all of a sudden I'm gonna start making a lot better decisions in the present. Because not only am I thinking about what's best for me and my future, but I'm now using that as the tool for making the best decisions. Now whether that's, call it I'm at home and I could be engaging with my kids on a really high level, which is what my future self would probably want me to do, but instead I'm just spacing out, like sitting on my phone.

[00:34:30] If I'm using my future self as the standard and my future self being what my, what would be ultimately best for me and what I value most. It becomes a lot easier to make the decision here and now to do what's best for the present and the future. 

[00:34:44] Hala Taha: I could imagine that if you don't have a clear goal or vision of your future, your life is just willy-nilly, right?

[00:34:50] You're just doing things to do them. You don't have a clear goal. It's chaotic. So what's the downside of not even having a feature self vision. 

[00:34:59] Benjamin Hardy: Yeah. [00:35:00] So if you don't know who your future self is in any degree, or if you're absolutely not connected to your future self at all, the extreme end of that, and like you can see this, the extreme end of being disconnected to your future self is someone who has zero perspective of consequences.

[00:35:18] They're so out of touch. And I've seen this even with my kids, where it's like they're acting so poorly, like right before bed sometimes as a family. If they do certain things, like our night routine really well, sometimes we'll half a movie or something like that before bed. and like we will tell them sometimes, if you do the routine really well, we'll have ice cream and watch a movie, for 40 minutes.

[00:35:38] And then the, sometimes if they're not connected to that future self, even 45 minutes into the future, like they will do absolute terrible things that then lead us to saying, nope, can't do it. And then they throw a fit. They're like, they can't even believe that they lost what they did, but they were so disconnected to what they were doing and the consequences.

[00:35:59] And this is what [00:36:00] happens for extreme addicts where like you do something and you're so disconnected from the consequences that you're shocked when all of a sudden everything's falling apart. And like one degree of looking at this is if you are so disconnected from your behavior and re reality being consequences, which is what my kids were like, they're acting so opposite to the results that they want or think that they want, but they don't even know it.

[00:36:26] It's are you aware that what you're doing right now is literally sabotaging you in 10 minutes from now and you're about to throw a fit and they don't see it like that is utter blindness. But the other angle, which is more the direction you were going was, it's like the Alice Wonderland thing where Alice meets the cat and the cat says Alice says, which way should I go cuz there's two different paths.

[00:36:49] And the cat says, that depends on where you want to go. And she says I don't know where I'm going in. So he says, then you can literally go any direction you want. Cuz if you don't know where you want to go, if you don't have a destination in mind, then it literally doesn't matter [00:37:00] what you do today.

[00:37:01] That's part of, I guess what you would say is being connected to your future self is once you get specific about where you want to go, about what you want, then you can start to formulate pathways of getting there. But if you have absolutely no direction, no destination, then it does not matter what you do here and now you're essentially rudderless.

[00:37:20] Your future self becomes the anchor and it becomes the compass to like the decisions you make here and now. And that's actually literally what all the research shows now. And by the way, the Psychology Today magazine that just came out in September and October, was all about future self and about the person you're gonna be in the future.

[00:37:36] Because this topic is becoming so, so big in, in psychology and even in therapy, like therapists are finding that there's really no way we can help someone change long term without getting them connected to their future self. Because if they're not, if they're not thinking about who they want to be, it's very hard to change without a goal or without a why.

[00:37:55] That then just becomes behavior change, which is willpower focused [00:38:00] and you can't really sustain that without a direction. And so I would say it's very difficult to be intentional if you don't have a future self. You're working towards. 

[00:38:09] Hala Taha: Yeah. I interview really successful people all the time, like yourself.

[00:38:14] I had Alex Hormozi on the show who's everybody's new favorite sales and marketing entrepreneur, and we were talking about focus, and this idea of focus is becoming such a big theme lately. I've been doing podcasting for almost five years now, and more and more it just sounds like people saying you need to get focused.

[00:38:32] If you're unfocused, if you're reprioritized, you're not gonna really achieve extraordinary success. Like you can be successful of course, but to really, become that 1% Scott Galloway was on and said the same thing. And so what you're saying is aligned to that. Understanding your future self is having this extreme focus of who you wanna be, and the steps you're gonna take to get there because you understand who you wanna be and that target's always moving, but you're always taking the actions that's gonna help your [00:39:00] future self. Really interesting. And then just to let you know of another person who's thinking about this but in a different way, who I'm about to interview is Will MacAskill.

[00:39:08] You probably know him. 

[00:39:10] Benjamin Hardy: I don't know him. 

[00:39:11] Hala Taha: Oh, you don't? Okay. So Will MacAskill, he was behind Effective Altruism. 

[00:39:15] Benjamin Hardy: Okay. I know who you're talking about. Yeah. I know. I actually know who you're talking about. 

[00:39:18] Hala Taha: Yeah. He not only wants to think about people, to think about their own self, he wants everybody to think about the whole world's future selves, right?

[00:39:27] Yeah. Like humans in general, treating future humans as if they're people now and making decisions for future humans. We don't need to get on that tangent, but I'm definitely gonna bring you up in that conversation cuz it's so interesting. 

[00:39:40] Benjamin Hardy: No, I do actually know who you're talking about now, and I think his book's called What Do We Owe the Future, right?

[00:39:44] Hala Taha: Yes. 

[00:39:45] Benjamin Hardy: Yeah. And it's all about long-termism. I, man, to me that's a massive view of empathy towards our future selves and Yeah, it's beautiful. 

[00:39:51] Hala Taha: Exactly. But in just a broader perspective. So it's just so interesting that you both are talking about this and like you said, it's becoming a theme. So let's tie this all [00:40:00] together with an example when you talk about Mr. Beast in your book, I believe. And so I'd love to understand how Mr. Beast used this concept. To be a 17 year old kid. No money, no skills to one of the most famous people in the world. 

[00:40:12] Benjamin Hardy: So this was really interesting to me. I was shocked when it happened cuz I was writing Be Your Future Self Now. So I wrote a book called Personality Isn't Permanent, and I did not know about the future self research even though like I had already done a PhD.

[00:40:28] It was still a growing, they call it like a branch or a vein of research. Like it was a topic I had never really heard of. And it was small, but it was burgeoning, meaning it was growing. And anyways, while I was writing that book, call it end of 2019, early 2020, I fell upon the research on future self and I was like, oh my goodness, why have I never heard of this before?

[00:40:49] Like, why have I never even seen this? Why have I never heard people talking about this? Whether it's in psychology or in self-development or anything. Like why is this a new idea? It seems like this is like the grounding of all [00:41:00] self-development ideas and also like psychology , like I'm, but anyways I knew I wanted to write a book on it.

[00:41:05] And so I was doing all sorts of research on it while writing other books. And then all of a sudden in 2020, and I had known who Mr. Beast was just cuz I mean I like YouTube. I was watching it and he's this interesting figure, right? Doing these huge, outlandish videos and I was mostly watching them with my kids in just blown away by what he was doing.

[00:41:23] And then all of a sudden, in October, so it's in October of 2020, a video comes up and it's called Hi Me in Five Years. And it's got a picture of a younger version of Mr. Beast Jimmy Donaldson, right? And it's sketchy. Like I turn, I click the video and it's him talking as a 17 year old kid in 2015.

[00:41:41] It's filmed in 2015 and he is saying hi, whenever you see this video, I just wanna let you know like it's 2015, I'm filming this video from my room. I should be studying for my history test. But I just wanted to take this minute and have a conversation with myself in five years from now. And he basically just starts talking to his future self.

[00:41:58] It's two minutes long. It's. [00:42:00] It's really rough. Filmed from a really bad camera. He shows where he is at with his YouTube channel. I think he's got like 8,000 subscribers. And basically he just talks about his future self. He's like, where do I wanna be in five years? Who do I think I'm gonna be in five years?

[00:42:12] And he is just having this intimate, personal conversation with his future self in public. So basically what happened, as you scroll way back in time through his channel, you actually see that he did this multiple times, but he did it all the same night. So it was in October, it was if you use the exact date, it was October 4th, 2015 and he was 17 years old.

[00:42:35] And he, what he ended up doing, I don't know where he got the idea, but he filmed four different future self videos, each of them were like two minutes long. So the first one was, where do I want to be in? He said, hi me in six months or something like that. And so he was talking to his future self six months into the future and just saying where mostly because his obsession, which as you can see, whatever you focus on, expands.

[00:42:57] He got very good at YouTube, but [00:43:00] most of his future self was related to like himself as a YouTuber. He wanted to be a famous YouTuber. He wanted to be the biggest YouTuber in the world. And so as he is talking to his future self, six months into the future, he is if I have 20,000 subscribers, it's gonna be absolutely amazing and stuff like that.

[00:43:11] If I don't, it's gonna be embarrassing. So he did one for six months out, one for a year out. I think he did one, one for five years out and then he did a 10 year all that night. And so obviously none of us even will see. It'll be really ridiculous to see where he's at in 2025. I guess that's only three years away now that we think about it.

[00:43:29] But basically all of those videos. We're only two minutes long. And what he did is he filmed them all in one place. One time, he probably took 10 or 15 minutes to film the four videos. He set them to go publish on his YouTube channel, but he set them to go into their corresponding times. And so he set the six month one to go live six months into the future, the 1, 1 1 year one to go live a year into the future, the five year one.

[00:43:50] And so on October 4th, 2020 when the video just automatically went live, because he had said it to go live five years into the future, he actually had forgotten [00:44:00] that he had made that video. Like it was a shock to him. But in that video, he said he wanted to have a million YouTube subscribers and he wouldn't have even been able to fathom what it would've been like to have a million subscribers.

[00:44:11] When the video actually went live in 2020, his channel had 45 million subscribers by that point. He incomparably a different person. He had a huge business. He was like had a big team. He was, all of his videos were getting like tens of millions, sometimes hundreds of millions of views. And even since then, now you know, he's got multiple channels and he's doing so many things that's even ridiculous.

[00:44:31] But he's just an interesting example of someone who was very public about his future self, not afraid of admitting his future self. And you can actually see, when you watch his old videos before that day, October 4th, 2015, you can see that obviously he got really clear and committed to his future self because the videos started changing after that time and his growth started to like really like accelerate.

[00:44:52] And so he's just someone who was obviously connected to, committed to his future self. He used his future self as the basis for what he did. He was [00:45:00] talking to his future self in public, and that was obviously his identity that drove him forward. And he continued to raise his standard for who he became and what he did.

[00:45:07] So he's just a brilliant example of it. 

[00:45:09] Hala Taha: We'll be right back after a quick break from our sponsors. This episode of YAP is brought to you by the Jordan Harbinger Show. You may know that Jordan Harbinger is my all-time favorite podcaster in the world. So much so that I've willed him to become my podcast mentor, and we literally talk every single day.

[00:45:27] He's in my Slack channel. The Jordan Harbinger Show is the perfect show for young and profiteers to add to their rotation. The Jordan Harberger Show was named Best of Apple 2018, and is aimed at making you a better informed, more critical thinker. And in each episode he unpacks his guest wisdom into practical nuggets that you can use to impact your work, your life, and your relationships.

[00:45:49] It's pretty similar to YAP in terms that there's no fluff. You always walk away learning something new. And his show has a bit of humor too, which is a nice touch. Jordan being the OG that he is always [00:46:00] snags the best guests like Mark Cuban to Rapper T.I to athletes like the late great Kobe Bryant. And he's really super picky with his guests like me.

[00:46:08] So they're always extremely interesting topics. Jordan has great research. He's a natural interviewer, and his topics are always on point. It's no wonder Jordan is one of the biggest podcasters in the world. You guys know that I'm definitely a fan, a major fan, and if that's not. Checking out, I'm not sure what is.

[00:46:27] You guys can find the Jordan Harbinger Show on your favorite podcast platform, or you can check out for some episode recommendations. That's the Jordan Harbinger Show. H-A-R-B (as in boy) I-N (as in nancy) G-E-R on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

[00:46:50] Yeah. And what a great idea in terms of shooting videos, basically speaking to your future self. What a great kind of exercise.

[00:46:58] Benjamin Hardy: With no apology no [00:47:00] embarrassment, like he doesn't care. And I think that's a huge thing is to not be ashamed of your future self. So many people are afraid to admit what they want.

[00:47:07] Hala Taha: Yeah. How about in terms of the timeline of your future self? Should we think about ourselves five years from now, 10 years from now? Do we wanna think of a range? What's your suggestion there? 

[00:47:17] Benjamin Hardy: So this is the beautiful part about time psychologically, is that you can use it however you want.

[00:47:23] One of the areas, and we don't have to go too deep into this in the book, but like obviously a lot of people believe in God. And so a lot of people believe in their future self after this life. And so like obviously a lot of people are thinking about the afterlife and they're using their views of that to dictate their decisions now.

[00:47:38] So like you can go as far into the future as you want, you can go beyond this life if you want, and you can think about your future self there and learn about that, which a lot of people do. And that influences a lot of their decisions and the meaning in their life. Stephen Covey had the old concept of imagining your 80th birthday party and like what you want your life to be like on your 80th birthday party.

[00:47:57] Who do you wanna be there? What do they, what do you want people to talk [00:48:00] about your life about? So like you can think way ahead and think big picture, and expand that out and really start to think like what will really have mattered at the end of my life? What matters? And ideally, you spend most of your time on the things which matter, not on the things which don't.

[00:48:16] But in terms of hyper practicality, I think it's good to build your future self around various timelines. Like various important anchor moments. And so like I gave you 2030 on purpose, that wasn't an accident. The reason I gave you 2030 is because in eight years from now, the youngest one that we adopted, so we adopted three kids and then we had three of our own.

[00:48:36] And the youngest one that we adopted is currently 11 years old. In 2030 he will turn 18 and so the older two will be gone. He will be leaving in 2030. And that is gonna be a big moment for me, my wife and our younger three kids, cuz chances are we're gonna move from Florida. Like when he moves, we live in Florida.

[00:48:55] We might not, our future selves might have different plans, but that's a huge anchor [00:49:00] moment for my future self, for my family's future self is like our older three kids are gonna leave. Our younger ones are much younger than the ones we adopted. So like me and my wife have spent some time thinking about what's gonna happen when Logan leaves.

[00:49:13] Are we gonna go become nomadic and travel the world, live in different countries? And so like we're starting to think about our future self on that timeline because there's a key moment there. There's a key anchor to that. And so it's good to think about your future self in terms of key anchor anchoring times, cuz then you can really start to map out like, what do I wanna see happen in the next eight years?

[00:49:32] And like where would I like to be when Logan leaves? Like I can really think big on an eight year scale. Like I can do a lot of things between now and 2030 when he leaves. In terms of super practicality, I think three years in terms of tangible goals, three years is a really good timeline for really achieving big specific things.

[00:49:53] Like you and I over the last three years, it's been a little over three years now. In terms of you, three years ago, if you were thinking about like, [00:50:00] how big do you wanna see your podcast go, like over three years, you can grow enormously toward a very specific goal. Yeah. And so thinking in terms of if I want to grow really big in a very specific direction, call it me as an author, you as a podcast, someone in their finances, someone towards skills.

[00:50:17] Three years, you can get really specific and you can still grow like 10 x, a hundred x, a thousand x big in a certain direction. So I think three years or less in terms of really big sprints towards big goals. 

[00:50:33] Hala Taha: I love that. I think that's super, super helpful. Okay, so I wanna move into purpose and understanding how purpose is related to all of this.

[00:50:43] And so I think a good place to start would be understanding the levels of every behavior. You say it's the what, the why and the how. Can you talk to us about how your why really drives the what and the how. 

[00:50:55] Benjamin Hardy: Yeah. So the why is the reason for doing it. This is where you start [00:51:00] to become intentional. So as an example, if someone's listening to this podcast, my question would be why are you listening to it?

[00:51:07] And the why would then highlight what you're ultimately trying to do and what you ultimately value. Everyone's gonna have a different why for why we're doing this. You have a different why for interviewing me as I have for being interviewed, right? . And so it's important to clarify and understand what the why is that's driving everything you're doing.

[00:51:28] And I'm of the belief that you do choose the why. Like you do choose it, you clarify it, but you can scrape away levels of understanding it. But the why is just the purpose. The purpose is the goal. What is the ultimate reason you're doing this? Aristotle would call that final cause, which is basically the end.

[00:51:45] So as an example, if I'm hungry, if I get up and go to the kitchen and start eating it's why did I get up and go to the kitchen? It might have been because I'm hungry, but it also might have been cuz I was triggered and I'm just trying to avoid working.

[00:51:56] And so it's just understanding the why and the [00:52:00] purpose starts to help you realize what's driving your behavior. When you're younger the why might have been just to impress your friends. And so there's always a why behind every action. And how psychologists frame it is every goal is either an approach oriented goal where you're trying to approach what you want or you're trying to avoid what you don't want.

[00:52:20] And so the why is always gonna either be approaching something you want or avoiding something you don't want. And so it's helpful when the why is more approach oriented. Sure you wanna avoid bad things from happening, but if everything you're doing is just to avoid negative things from happening, that kind of probably shows that there's a lot of trauma that's unresolved in the past and so you're trying to avoid a lot of pain.

[00:52:41] Hala Taha: Yeah. I'd love if we could like just dig on this a little bit. So we're talking about the difference between approach, motivations, and avoid motivations. When we approach motivation, we're basically creating our future, rather avoid motivation is just avoiding a future we don't want and it's better to proactively create one is what you're saying. I just wanna [00:53:00] understand what you're trying to say. 

[00:53:01] Benjamin Hardy: It's good to avoid things you don't want. Like it's good to be strategic about avoiding, call it bad decisions, avoiding bad people. But if you're always just avoiding, then basically every action you're taking is a reaction against something else.

[00:53:13] I'm trying to not, but even avoiding things is based on the future. Like I'm I'm like, I'm trying to avoid being out of shape. I don't wanna be obese in the future, so I'm gonna avoid that. That's one way of approaching your future, but it's far more powerful and more proactive to say, what do I, what is it I truly want to approach?

[00:53:31] Like what is it I wanna like direct my attention towards and focus on and create? And yeah, I can avoid landfalls along the way and I can learn from experiences and avoid those kind of people, or I can avoid those kind of dumb mistakes. Like certainly you can avoid things, but it is very powerful to be proactive and consciously creating this is what I want.

[00:53:50] And then to watch yourself go and get it. And so both are useful, both are incredibly useful. Both are motivations. And I think it's helpful when you're trying to observe yourself, like, [00:54:00] why am I doing this? It's either gonna be to approach something you want or to avoid something you don't. And that can start to highlight the why.

[00:54:07] And one of the reasons why avoid motivations can have downsides is because if you're always just trying to avoid something, then that means that one of the things you're avoiding is fear. Like you're avoiding going through the emotions of getting what you want. If you're always avoiding, then you're also avoiding the hard truths.

[00:54:25] You're avoiding the fear, you're avoiding hard conversations. And so when you're approaching something, you're willing to face what you would typically want to avoid. I recently an end in process of ending a really what's been a great business collaboration, but for a while I had avoided the conversation and avoided

[00:54:46] thinking about what it would take if that happened.

[00:54:49] If you're always avoiding then that what that means is that you're not passing through the emotions and the fear that are gonna get you where you want to go. When you're operating with commitment and courage, you're not avoiding, you're [00:55:00] going right through it and you're transforming through it. 

[00:55:02] Hala Taha: I love that. This has been awesome Ben. So just to round this out, I thought a good story that kind of ties into a lot that we were talking about, and I know that he's a big inspiration for you is Victor Frankl's life. So can you tell us the story about Victor Frankl and how he used his purpose of protecting his book to survive?

[00:55:22] While he was in the concentration camps in the Holocaust and. What you learned from his story about hope and purpose and then we'll close out the conversation. 

[00:55:31] Benjamin Hardy: So the reason Frankl is so important, and again, mans search for meaning one of the most important books in the world. He was a Jewish person who in 1942 was taken into the Holocaust, right?

[00:55:42] One of the German Nazi concentration camps. And what he found with people who were living in such dire situations, we really, I mean unless you actually study the Holocaust, you don't even understand what I'm saying. It's gibberish right now. It was almost unfathomable how bad it was. Like they, the people were [00:56:00] starved, they were thrown in gas chambers.

[00:56:01] People were shot in the head right next to you, like you're sitting doing grunt work for months, years and years. Everything's been taken from you. Even the clothes off your back. You're standing there naked, deprived of everything. Deprived of your dreams, deprived of everything.

[00:56:15] And what Frankl noticed when he was in those situations, cuz he was a psychologist and so like he was paying attention to this stuff. He was very in tune with what was going on in people's heads and whether why some people could be resilient and even be happy in these crazy conditions and why some people would get desperate, lose their minds.

[00:56:33] And he started to draw an interesting correlation, which was in those dire situations when you're deprived of everything and you're also starved physically, I mean they were only given like a small piece of bread every day, is he saw an immediate correlation that like when someone lost hope toward their future, within days they died in those situations, like their body didn't have enough sus to sustain them.

[00:56:56] If you and I lost hope in our future, we'd start to fall apart physically, like we'd [00:57:00] probably lose our health. In hope from a psychology standpoint is like air to your physical body, like food and air, like you need hope because you're who you are right now is largely dictated by your views of the future.

[00:57:11] So basically what Frankl found was is that unless you had a specific goal, which is a huge aspect of hope, Without a specific goal that gave your life meaning and substance, you couldn't handle the present, especially when it was that bad. And so that's why he always quoted Nche, which is when you have a why to live for, you can bear almost any how.

[00:57:32] And so everything he did, and he literally, he layers it, and I share the best quotes of it in future self, but he says, when you lose hope in your future, you know you're doomed. But he also said that everything we did in the concentration camps to give people hope or to even help them to be able to manage their mind or manage their emotions, was we had to give to them a goal in their future, which they could work towards.

[00:57:53] And he himself, he literally stated the goal that gave him purpose and gave him [00:58:00] meaning and allowed him to endure the trials. And for him it was, he wanted to be reconnected with his wife, Tilly, who was taken to another camp. He didn't know that she'd already been killed when she was pregnant with their baby, but he didn't know that he wanted to be reconnected with her, but also he wanted to rewrite his book.

[00:58:14] Which was almost done being written when they got basically taken by the Nazis and they took the manuscript and tore it apart. He literally states this in Man's Search for meaning. He said, my deep desire to rewrite that book anew and publish it allowed me to overcome the rigors and the pain of the camps.

[00:58:30] So when you have a why to live for, you can bear almost any how. If you don't have a why to live for, if you don't have hope and commitment in your future, then you're not gonna be very productive. Little things in your day can throw you way off, but for him, in those situations, it was life or death.

[00:58:44] It's literally life or death. 

[00:58:46] Hala Taha: Yeah. So fascinating. I think this is a great way to close out the interview. So I always end the interview with a couple last questions and then we do something fun at the end of the year and recap them. So the first one is, what is one actionable thing our young and [00:59:00] profiteers can do today to become more profitable tomorrow?

[00:59:03] Benjamin Hardy: It goes back to the Alex Hormozi comment for me right now, which is, I love the quote, it's better to be a meaningful specific than a wandering generality. And so the more clear you get on your future self and the more specific, that obviously takes you down a specific direction, you're not trying to be everything for everyone.

[00:59:21] Like some of the recent decisions I've made in my career and in the books I'm writing have to do with becoming even more focused, even more specific in a narrow range. It's kinda like the 80 20 principle, like 80% of what you're doing is a distraction, whereas it's just the core 20 that makes sense.

[00:59:38] And so you want to go deeper and deeper into that. Let go of everything else. Like actually commit and go deep and get 10 times better. And something specific. If you get really good in something specific, it reminds me of that quote becomes so good you can't be ignored. But it's really about qualitative, not quantitative.

[00:59:54] It's not about the quantity of what you do, it's about the quality of how you do it. And that [01:00:00] requires focus, commitment, and purpose. And just commit to something and commit to getting really good and unique in that thing. That's actually what mastery is. It's not about doing something well.

[01:00:10] It's about doing something uniquely well, incomparably well, and that takes commitment and depth, not broadness. 

[01:00:16] Hala Taha: Love that. Mic drop. All right. And what is your secret to profiting in life? 

[01:00:22] Benjamin Hardy: Defining what profit means to me. Not everything is profitable. Not everything is worth my time, not everything is useful.

[01:00:28] And so defining what I value, what I care about, what matters most, and then going all in on those few things and letting go of everything else. 

[01:00:35] Hala Taha: And Ben, where can everybody learn more about you and everything that you do? 

[01:00:39] Benjamin Hardy: and 

[01:00:42] Hala Taha: Awesome. And we're gonna stick all of your links in the show notes.

[01:00:44] Ben, thank you again for coming back on to Young and Profiting podcast. 

[01:00:48] Benjamin Hardy: I'm happy to be with you. Your future self. Who you are today is unimaginable to who you were four years ago. It's so cool. 

[01:00:56] Hala Taha: Thank you so much.

[01:00:58] YAP [01:01:00] fam, I have to say, for some reason this interview just hit different. I've really been thinking about this conversation a lot. I love Benjamin Hardy's work. What a blessing and really full circle moment for him to have come on the show four years later. And last time he was on YAP. It was for episode seven.

[01:01:25] I was literally just starting out at that point, and if I look back at all the progress I've made up until now, it's beyond anything I could have ever imagined. Cover of Podcast magazine, Webby Award honoree, little Hala Taha four and a half years ago, would've never ever in her wildest dreams imagined that Tony Robbins would be asking us to come on the show.

[01:01:49] But even with all this progress, I don't always feel great. I fall into this trap of comparing myself to others. Other podcasters who [01:02:00] started 12 years ago and not five years ago, who were early adopters and captured more market share that I'll never be able to really catch up to where it feels like that sometimes.

[01:02:09] Sometimes I fall into living into what Ben calls the gap, but I shouldn't measure myself this way. I should measure the progress, the gain. I should measure my current self against my past self and not my future self. And although it's healthy to measure progress and look backwards, it's actually not healthy to stay in that place.

[01:02:29] You don't wanna always be in the past. It's better to think about who you wanna be in the future. Ben said in the interview, the best thing you can do is get really clear and connected to your future. So understand who you wanna be, and then make decisions from that lens. It's your North Star for directing what you do day in and day out.

[01:02:51] The thing that I keep harping on in my mind is that. We are not our past self and we are not our future self. And this to me is [01:03:00] just so freeing. The reason is that I think we all carry trauma, whether it's like an embarrassing moment or we regret some mistake that we did and or we got fired or there was a bad breakup or somebody did something wrong to us and wronged us.

[01:03:18] And we all have these memories that involve ourselves and other people in the past. And it's things that are like open loops in our mind that a lot of us are resentful of other people and feel revenge and envy and all these things. And when you think about it, they are not those same people. They don't even have the same cells anymore.

[01:03:39] They don't have the same thoughts anymore. They've had other experiences now that have shaped them. They have gone through their own trauma. They no longer think the same, and they're not the same. And so for me, this was just such a powerful thing that I never really thought about, that we are not our past or our future selves.

[01:03:58] And that's really [01:04:00] freeing because you end up forgiving people and you end up maybe being able to mend friendships and move forward when you realize that people can change, you can change. And you are not your old self or past self and your friends and people in your life we're not their old self or past self.

[01:04:18] And we can all move on from things that may have happened in the past. And if you guys enjoyed this episode, tell all of your friends about it. Let everybody know about Young and Profiting Podcast and how it's your favorite way to listen, learn and profit. And if you guys like to watch your podcast, keep in mind we have a growing YouTube channel.

[01:04:37] You can find all of our latest video interviews on there, and you guys can also find me on Instagram. Let's chop it up in the dms. You can find me at yapwithhala. I'd love to hear your feedback about the show. You guys can also find me on LinkedIn. You can't miss me on that platform. And thanks to my amazing production team here at YAP Media, I appreciate all of your hard work.

[01:04:58] This is your host, [01:05:00] Hala Taha, signing off.

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