Your Identity is the very thing that controls your thoughts, feelings, and actions. But did you know that you have more than one?

That’s right, there is an interesting phenomenon we can observe that relates to your individual personality and how you view yourself as compared to how others view you. Think of it this way, you have more than one voice. Have you ever heard your voice on a videotape and thought, “There is no way I sound like that!” That’s because the voice that you hear is different in your own mind than the voice that other people hear.

It can be said that you actually have three separate voices.

1) the voice you hear when you speak

2) the voice that other people hear when you speak, and

3) the voice inside your head through conscious thoughts.

Each of these voices presents a part of you that makes up the whole of your voice.

Oftentimes we become so accustomed to how we hear ourselves that we neglect to notice the ways that other people hear us! Our own voices sound deeper to ourselves through the resonance of our own bodies than it does to others. In a similar vein, use these voices as a metaphor when thinking about your identity.

Forms of Identity

Your personal identity is contingent on a few factors, your values, beliefs, emotions,  thoughts, and physical self. Coincidentally, you likely have a different Identity from the perspective of others, each and every person you come into contact with forms an idea of identity about who you are.

You also have an Identity based on the person you would like to be, reflective of your desired state of fulfillment. In this state, you may find that your thoughts and ideas regarding what you should be doing to cultivate the desired identity, and what you are currently doing, are not in line with each other. This causes a rift in these two components of your identity, your current actions, which have become habits, are likely the reasons you find that you don’t have the ability to implement effective change.

You Likely try and do too much! There is a point I make in my book, The Potential Dichotomy, regarding why you may seem to “burn out” when attempting to alter your life for the better.

Perhaps it’s the gym membership that no longer gets any attention, or the books you buy that have yet to be opened, all of these forms of self-improvement are things that people normally try to add to their schedules.

Why Do I burn Myself Out?

There is a problem with this. Due to Parkinson’s Law, which states that circumstances mold to fit within the abilities of their specified containment, (“Work expands to fit within the time available for its completion”), due to this concept, we can assume that what your current habits fulfill the available energy you give to them.

Therefore, instead of adding a task (gym membership, studies, etc.) Change is more effective and more easily accomplished when you substitute your tasks! This makes perfect sense; you will have to first give up a task that hinders you before you can implement that time and energy towards something else. This is the way to cause quick change.  You will be freeing up your fluid resources of time and energy, and therefore, you will allow yourself to direct your efforts towards that thing that is more fulfilling to your chosen identity, not your current identity.

This ultimately will result in a larger sense of self-confidence, improvement, and beneficial social effects that result in a more positive social identity as well! It’s all win-win!

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-Austin Denison, Author of The Potential Dichotomy.