This week I chatted with Dr. Benjamin Hardy, an organizational psychologist and bestselling author of Willpower Doesn’t Work and the book we read, Personality Isn’t Permanent. His reach is massive with 100 million people reading his blogs and features in Harvard Business Review, New York Times, Forbes, Fortune, CNBC, Cheddar, and many others. He is a regular contributor to Inc. and Psychology Today and from 2015-2018, he was the #1 writer in the world on Medium.com.
The Hardys adopted 3 children out of the foster care system, then (only a month later) found out they were pregnant with TWINS all in the same year! They had dealt with infertility and it took them 3 years to adopt their children. They are pregnant with a sixth, now!
Marron Chase has already decided to read this book twice. She’s a self-proclaimed personality test fiend and stated that this book helped her realize that her personality is undefinable. “This is a huge relief.”
Aaron Post said that this book blew her mind and encouraged her to embrace the future to change the past. She is excited to see herself as the person she wants to be and will be in the future.
Looking at your past from a different perspective and using your future self to make choices is an incredible lesson from this book. It’s filled with reflective questions and this is part of why I recommend the hard copy.
I love books that encourage me to think deeply about who I am and who I want to be. More than nearly any other book I’ve read this year, this one cuts right to that point in each chapter.
Benjamin called me out a little bit on my LOVE for personality tests. I view them as tools for awareness, but Benjamin cautions us against using these tests as hard truth. Our whole perspective of our children, for example, shouldn’t solely be colored by personality tests. Like us, our kids can change and none of their answers are concrete.
For things you may want to improve upon, these tests can be helpful. However, it can be easy to use results as a crutch or excuse for not acting on your goals and desires.
Jane’s chapter in the book talks about a “rage journal.” I, myself, have a sort of “gripe journal” but I don’t know if it’s helping or hindering me. Benjamin thinks these tools could be both helpful or harmful, depending on where it leads. Unloading feelings is important, so as long as this action brings clarity and emotional regulation, it can be an aid.
The goal is to get out of a negative mindset and move forward. We need to flesh these things out but need to be sure we feel good after doing so.
In emotional regulation, helpful steps are to acknowledge what we are feeling, name these feelings, and then interpret how we feel about them and the consequences of acting on them. Asking yourself what you want to do with your emotions can help you to alter the view of your frustrations. Reframing things can give you control over your lens, allowing you to choose how you feel about a situation.
We choose the meaning of how external actions and events affect us.
Benjamin’s wife is pregnant and she’s been slightly more irritable lately (understandably), and there are people out there who are more negative than positive. Emotions are chemicals that are physical markers in your body. Your body, in this way, is made up of emotions. Gratitude and courage can change your environment and your experiences acting on anger. Your body can become accustomed to emotions and, luckily for us, we can shift these emotions to be more positive.
Fasting, charitable giving, and more can have positive impacts on our subconscious. Anything new can switch us off of autopilot, which can help us to reset our sense of what’s normal. Benjamin told the story of going to the lake with his son and having a “peak experience” there. Anything that can freshen your perspective can benefit your inner (and outer) self.
A painting is never finished, it simply ends at an interesting point. This is how Benjamin views his books. Done is better than perfect and his next book, about the science of hope, includes some concepts that he didn’t get to explore in this one.
So much of psychology was build upon the idea that we made choices based on our pasts, but Benjamin has been exploring and writing about the idea that our views of the future are actually what impacts us more. Our view of the future drives how we feel about the present.
You don’t always know what you want to become, but it helps to know who you want to be.
Benjamin suggests constantly filling your brain with positive stuff. Avoiding media that can kill your hope, as much as is responsible, to fuel the garden of your mind can help you maintain hope. Media matters a lot and Benjamin told us, “Little weeds can infect the whole system.”
Thinking about what drives the mean thoughts can help you to decrease their power. Having positive experiences with the people you love makes life awesome and helps you build resilience against negative self-talk.
Find out more about Benjamin Hardy here
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Thank you so much for listening to this episode! I’m honored and excited to be on this journey toward personal growth and greater confidence with you. If you enjoyed the podcast, I’d love to ask you to take 2 minutes to leave me a 5-star reviews on your podcast app, that way we can help even more women to join us as we #dropkickyourinnermenagirl together.
P.S. If you’re looking for ways to increase your confidence and silence your inner mean-girl, download by free workbook, 6 Ways to Dropkick Your Inner Mean Girl.