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How to Discover Who You Are And Then How To Behave Like It

How to Discover Who You Are And Then How To Behave Like It

I know you’ve had a night at the house with your homeboys or homegirls, maybe partaking in a glass of wine or two or some other adult beverage and rattling off philosophical ideas and theories about broad subjects including life, love, health, and wealth.  There’s nothing like a good back and forth with some good friends, am I right or what?

A lot of those discussions were most likely rooted in happiness. How to get more of it, how to keep it, and what to do with it once you’ve found it.

I’ve mentioned it in posts before but it bears a little repeating.

Happiness is like currency. It is the essence of life.

Somedays you have more of it, other days you don’t, you’re willing to trade or buy things for it and you probably have even given it up in exchange for something else. Usually that something else is thought to bring you even more happiness.

You may eat certain foods because they make you happy, buy certain items because you’re convinced they’ll make you happier, get into relationships because that’s what you need right now in order to become happier, and chase the green because if you only had more of it you could finally do all of the things you’ve wanted to do that will make you happier.

But all of those things are a means to an end. They provide you with brief spurts of happiness and in reality all of us need those little jolts of mojo from time to time, but in the long run that’s not what’s going to get it done.

All this leads us to is the bigger is better cycle with no consistency or clarity on what it is that actually provides us with consistent and long lasting positive emotions.

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Virtue is the true path to happiness.

Great Justin, but what the heck is virtue?

Old school wisdom spitter Aristotle has said that, “A good life is one where you develop your strengths, realize your potential, and become what it is in your nature to become.” ~ Jonathan Haidt from The Happiness Hypothesis

Blaine Flower, author of Virtue and Psychology calls Virtues character strengths such as; generosity, loyalty, and honesty; that make it possible for people to pursue worthwhile goals.

I’ve talked about the integrity gap on this site before but finding virtue is in closing that integrity gap as much as possible.

Just as a refresher that gap is the distance between what you do and what you know to be true. It’s your ability to align your behaviors with your strengths and the things that are most important to you and then finding a way to do them consistently.

About a year ago I participated in Brain Johnson’s Optimal Living 101 course and one of the activities I was asked to do was to find my strengths.

I took the signature strengths test created by Martin Seligman and other researchers over at the authentic happiness site (I highly suggest you do the same) and discovered the following personal strengths.

  • Creativity
  • Persistance
  • Self-control
  • Vitality
  • Bravery
  • Optimism

Because these were my greatest strengths I wanted to know how I could live these as often as possible. How could I display these characteristics in the areas of life that were most important to me.

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Shoot, now I had to figure out what is most important to me?

A few weeks ago I was at an event with James Franco and he was discussing the importance of defining the different roles you play in life. I had remembered hearing this somewhere before but I couldn’t place my finger on it.

I went home that night and shuffled through some notes of mine and found the life plan I had created based on Michael Hyatt’s life plan template.

The things that were most important to me were the current roles I was playing in my life.

You may play some if not all of the following:

  • Brother
  • Sister
  • Student
  • Father
  • Mother
  • Friend
  • Lover
  • Husband
  • Wife
  • Daughter
  • Son
  • Yourself (this is not selfish. If you can’t take care of yourself it will be damn hard to take care of others.)

I’m sure I am missing some as I bet there a few that are unique to you.

After you have become clear on the current roles you play it’s important to prioritize them in order of importance to you.

Before you automatically put yourself on the bottom of this list consider this for a second. If you play the role of a husband how are you going to be the best husband you can be if your own health is deteriorating? You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else.

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  1. Purpose statement: What is your purpose for each role? I also like to find a powerful quote that goes well with how I define my purpose in each roles.
  2. The future as you see it: This is where you envision the best possible scenario of yourself in that role.
  3. Reality: Check in time. Where are you currently at in each of these roles? What gets measured gets managed and you have to have some sort of sense of where you are in order to know where and how far you have to go to get to that ideal visions of you in that role.
  4. What do you need to do: What are some commitments (behaviors) you need to start making TODAY that will help you bridge the gap between your current reality and the future as you see it?

How to display your strengths in your roles more often

1. Move away from having goals to being goals: Having goals are the desire to see a specific outcome. To lose so many pounds, to make so much money, to be with the love of your life. They don’t require you to do anything, there’s no action associated with them. With having goals you simply state them and hope that they come true. Their more likes wishes.

Being goals establish action. They force you to actually do something. In order to active your weight goals what do you have to do? You have to exercise consistently and eat more real food. In order to create more wealth what do you have to do? In order to find love you have to love more.

What areas in your life can you give more?

That’s where the next step comes in.

2. Create morning rituals surrounding your signature strengths: As the day progresses your willpower will drain and make it less likely that you do those behaviors that lead to the outcomes that you desire.

Your best course of action is to do the toughest things first. Setting aside time every morning to build consistency around your signature strengths is one way that you can build the habit of displaying those strengths everyday.

If you’re the creative type spending a few minutes writing, practicing your art, doing something creative for your spouse or coming up with unique and unusual ways to solve problems at work might be something you want to spend time doing when you first get up.

3. Discover the things that are working not what you think you should be doing: There is a movement happening that is really picking up steam lately. It’s called the quantified self movement in which you incorporate technology to acquire data about various aspects of your daily life.

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  • Food consumed
  • Exercise
  • Daily activity
  • Mood
  • Sleep

And a host of other lifestyle variables. Some of the tracking can be done through wearing sensors like Fitbit, Jawbone, or using apps like Sleep Cycle and Moody Me.

What gets measured gets managed and if you are aware of what you are doing everyday you’ll have the ability to decipher if it is working for you or not. After that, you’ll have the ability and knowledge to make changes as necessary.

4. Start with the easiest first: When you establish changes that need to be made go with the easiest first in order to build momentum, confidence, and the habit.

If you are looking to be more active but have been sitting on the couch for the past three years walking may be easier then running. If you are trying to reduce stress taking a hot bath daily might be easier then starting a meditation habit.

And if all else fails

Simplify the heck out of everything. What is one big thing that you can start doing today that will have the most positive influence on the roles that you play? What is one big thing you can stop doing that creates the most stress, anxiety, and confusion?

It’s easy to get lost in this self discovery and constantly trying to figure yourself out. I’d say most of us already know who we are. We’re husbands, fathers, mothers, daughters, lovers, friends, caretakers, artists, athletes, entrepreneurs, and the list goes on.

I think most of us already know who we are. Now it’s just a matter of acting like it.

With gratitude.

More by this author

Justin Miller

Healthy Lifestyle Architect, a Fitness and Nutrition Coach

How to Dramatically Change Your Life in Just One Week The Habits of the Highly Healthy How to Discover Who You Are And Then How To Behave Like It The Beginners Guide To Slacklining A New Way to Create a Bucket List

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Last Updated on January 3, 2020

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

 I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

 2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

7. Positive people smile a lot!

When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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8. People who are positive are great communicators.

They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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