“The law of nature is, do the thing, and you shall have the power: but they who do not the thing have not the power.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
If there is anything that those in search of success in any endeavor must know, it is this: if you want a particular reality in your future, you must inhabit that reality NOW.
“Wait a minute,” you might be thinking. “How can I inhabit a reality that is NOT my reality?”
Well, it takes a little thought, and it takes a little practice, and it takes a little bit of just understanding what the heck that looks like. So, here are some examples:
· If you want to become the leader of a certain organization, you must embody IN THE PRESENT the characteristics such a leader would have.
· If you want to feel confident and beautiful, you must behave the way you would behave if you were ALREADY confident and beautiful.
· If you want to become a teacher, you must “teach”—even if you do it to the windshield of your car as you’re driving down the road.
· If you want to find the love of your life, you must BECOME the person that the love of your life will fall for.
· If you want to be successful, you must take on the habits of successful people.
· If you want to get promoted at your job, you must function at that higher level LONG BEFORE anyone starts scouting for replacements for the better positions.
· If you want adventure in your life, you must be open to facing your fears and stepping outside your comfort zone. (And go ahead and shop for some boots while you’re at it!)
You see, it’s not really that strange or unimaginable, is it? But here’s the mind-blowing part: as you begin to successfully inhabit your future self, the future that you seek will begin to materialize around you.
Let’s drill down on this a little further.
In my book, “The Astonishing Light of Your Own Being,” I say it this way:
At some point in your evolution as a deliberate creator of your own life and destiny, you are going to go from taking charge of your internal world to actively taking charge of your external world.
How does this work?
Conceptually, it is this: YOU WILL BEGIN TO LIVE YOUR LIFE AS IF THE PERSON YOU WISH TO BECOME IS ALREADY WHO YOU ARE.
“Do the thing, and you shall have the power.”
In his book, “Success Principles,” Jack Canfield calls this “acting as if.”
When you want to become something, you act as if you already are that something. If you want to be an author, you carve out time to write every day. You act as if you ARE an author. You don’t wait until you have the full day to work on your stories before you actually work on your stories. That’s backwards. Do you actually think J.K. Rowling started out with millions in her account and all the time in the world to work on her Harry Potter stories? Uh….no.
You work with what you’ve got to get to where you’re not.
If you want to have better health, you begin to live as a healthy person. No, you might not be healthy YET. But if you act like you are (eating way better and moving your body a whole lot more), you will eventually become that.
When I wanted to buy a Jaguar (my favorite car since I was a teenager), I started “feeling” that car before I even thought I could afford it. I drove my Kia to work every day imagining what that Jag would feel like: the smoothness of the ride, the way the steering wheel turned. I pictured the interior—the wood paneling and the Jaguar emblem. I did this EVERY DAY. In essence, I started driving my Jaguar before I even started shopping for one.
When I got the car (because, of course, I got the car), I told my husband: “I knew exactly how this car would feel; and I was right.” I had been driving it in my mind for months.
My youngest son seems to know, intuitively, how to do this. When he wanted a vehicle with a manual transmission, he started practicing on his friend’s truck so he would know how to drive it when the time came. Not that he had any means to get a vehicle—manual transmission or otherwise—but he wanted to be ready when his future caught up to him. (And, for the record, it did!)
My other son started a habit of working on his drawings for 20 minutes every night before he went to bed. Was anyone looking over his shoulder and telling him that he better practice his art every day if he was going to be an artist? NO. He just knew that the way you get to where you want to be is to behave as if that is who you are.
If you’re an artist, you practice your art.
If you’re a writer, you write.
If you’re a mechanic, you work on every car you can get your hands on.
If you’re a marathon runner, you get up every day and put in the miles. (No, it doesn’t matter whether you have the time or not. You do what must be done).
If you’re an adventurer, you book the adventures.
If you’re a manager, you relinquish your aversion to conflict and you learn how to be a leader.
Notice I didn’t say, “If you WANT to be…an artist…an author…a mechanic.”
I said: If you ARE.
Imagine that you ARE.
We LIVE INTO our future. We create of ourselves in the present that person that we want to exist in the future. And if we don’t deliberately create this person, then the future simply arrives—like Christmas when you forgot to tell Santa what you wanted.
It’s a funny thing, how we KNOW this and yet FORGET it. I mean, if someone wants to get accepted into Harvard, they know they have to demonstrate that they are a Harvard-quality scholar. And they set up their schedule, and their routine, and their productivity, and their connections, and their research, and their overall work ethic to support this. For some reason, for most of us, if this process isn’t institutionalized, we imagine it doesn’t exist. But Harvard didn’t think this up; they just use it. It’s basically a universal truth.
Think about it as an audition. If you are auditioning for the role you want to play for the rest of your life, how do you think you are measuring up? Is the casting director going to call you back?
Be the thing that will get you where you want to be, and you will get where you want to be.
Think about what you want (deeply and deliberately!), behave as if that is who you are, and observe the power of this technique.
Be it, and you will see it.