Reinventing Yourself – Without Losing Yourself

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When it comes to personal development and being the best you can be there’s a lot of “feel-good” hippy crap that gets thrown around.  People talk about wonderful ideals and theories but rarely do the nuts and bolts of the process get addressed. It’s a lot easier to talk about the what when you don’t have to talk about the how, which is what I’m going to do on this site.  One of the topics that comes up a lot in the world of personal development is the idea of “reinventing yourself”.  A lot of guys simply aren’t happy with who they are and how their life is going.  If that wasn’t true then we wouldn’t have a multi-billion dollar self-help industry and an even larger pharmaceutical anti-depressant and anti-anxiety industry.

These guys have realized that they’ve let their life, the circumstances in it, and the people in it shape and mold who they are, as opposed to the other way around.  Upon that realization they find themselves at a point where they decide they need to undertake a reinvention of not only what they’re doing but even who they are.

That’s cool.  I’ve been there twice in my life and made a couple of pretty major reinventions.  Honestly, I don’t have very many friends who are self-examined individuals that haven’t made at least one pretty big reinvention in their life.  I think it’s part of growing up and becoming a great man.  Watching this happen and going through it myself has given me a few insights on the process that I think you might find useful in undertaking your own reinvention.

The first thing that I see a lot of guys mess up is that when they finally decide that they are going to change their life and reinvent themselves it’s like a dam busting.  Things have gotten so bad that they can’t take it anymore and so they lose their shit and drop a nuclear bomb on their current self and life.  We’re talking “early mid-life crisis, shave the head, get ink (usually something tribal), quit their job, move to a dartboard-selected city, and give themselves a nickname”-type reinvention.  This, like most knee-jerk reactions, is almost always headed for disaster.  Those guys end up totally losing themselves and who they are.  While this is what they think they need, they end up even more lost than they were in the first place because they’ve lost themselves and are forced back into the position of reacting to life and circumstances rather than making shit happen the way they want it to.  You don’t want to be one of these guys.

Why are you looking to reinvent yourself in the first place?  Because you don’t like the place you’re at and you aren’t thrilled with yourself, right?  So what are you really trying to do by making a change?  Like yourself.  That, my friend, is the foundation of being a man.  If you don’t like yourself then you’re not going to be the confident, successful, and happy man that you want to be and other people want to be around.  You’ll be fighting your way upstream against the skeletons in your closet the whole way if you don’t get that in line.

So as opposed to just flying off the handle and nuking everything, look within yourself for the qualities and skillset that you like about yourself.  Trust me, there’s something there that you like and want to take with you in your new self.  For example, one of the qualities that I’ve always had that served me well is that often I’m described as having a “dry wit”.  I like dry humor, I think I’m a riot, and in general the type of people who I like to be around tend to agree.  So within my reinventions of self I’ve never tried to mess with my sense of humor, only refine it.

Which brings me to the next step of reinvention:  Maximizing the qualities that you already have and like.  You’ve got the foundation within you already for being a total badass and being the man you want to be, so roll with what’s working for you.  Identify those qualities and look at them analytically.  What can you do to get the most mileage out of these qualities (whatever they may be) and make them pillars of your new life?  Starting with a framework of things that work is always better than starting all over from scratch.

Once you’ve figured out what you can maximize in your life it will give you a much clearer picture of the man that you want to be and how you need to go about making those changes.  That way you won’t have to resort to the earring, tribal armband, and Fu-Manchu.  Unless, of course, you want to.

Want to see how I remade myself from a fat, shy, and weak kid to a confident, successful personal trainer and what lessons you can learn from my experience?  Sign up for your FREE 7-part Building the Beast e-course on the right!  —>

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May 21, 2011

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