Choosing your own identity – Being your ideal You.


Benefits of applying this knowledge:

• Actualize the vision of your ideal self.

• Be the director of your own personality and behavior.

• Make decisions easier by knowing your values.

• Be more centered as a person.

• Improved self-awareness and clearer life-direction.

• Other goal-setting will be easier when you who you want to be.

General info:

• Most people wander through life without ever making a conscious decision about who they really want to be and how they want to be perceived. One may catch brief wishes and idle desires, but for the most part we all just float along unaware that our identities are at large being molded by outside forces (external factors) rather than our own inner forces.

Media, advertising, television, social pressure, upbringing, family, friends, teachers, religion and society’s rules are some example of outside forces paying a part in molding our identity.

• As long as we are unaware of the power of external influence, we are like pieces of clay, being unconsciously molded to fit into the preferred norms of someone else’s reality. That is not an evil conspiracy or plot – it is just the way the world usually works.

• The degree to which we are able to create our own identity rather than having it imposed on us is dependent on opportunity, awareness and taking responsibility for ones self. When we are aware of the possibility, we can take responsibility and make empowered choices that best server ourselves rather than people and systems outside of ourselves.

• Before doing other profound goal-setting, it is important to know what visions and ideals you have for yourself as a person, since this will likely influence all other choices and goals you set.

• Your task is to come up with a list of character-traits (or a character-description if you like) that you would like to nurture and expand within your own personality. Awareness itself will increase your chances for results.


• To help us find out what values we really appreciate and come up with a list, we can use the help of role-models.  You can probably think of some people whose demeanor, behavior, and values are inspiring and motivating for you.

• Do a brief (5-15m) brainstorming-session on which people you most admire. The characters can be real or imaginary, living or dead. Anyone from Buddha and Gandhi, to Superman or your grandpa “Joe” will do. Try to think of about 3 to 10 characters.

• If you find it hard to come up with role-models, ask yourself: ‘If I could live a day in another persons life, which one would it be?’ or ‘If I could meet one person, who would it be?’.

• Now go through one Role-model at a time. Think about what it is about them that you admire and write it down. Is it the way they dress, their voice, their dance-moves or, more likely, their character-traits, like warmth, comradely, loyalty, humor, resourcefulness or anything you can think of.

Here are a few examples:

Warmth, Helpfulness, Innovativity, Friendliness, Positive outlook, Resourcefulness, Flexibility, Adventure-spirit.
Mother Theresa:
Compassion, Warmth, Generosity, Helpfulness, Dedication, Friendliness.
Grandpa “Joe”:
Humor, Directness, Warmth, Compassion, Hospitality, Friendliness, Storytelling-abilities, Generosity.

• You may discover tendencies and similarities amongst the characters you admire. These are likely to be some of the traits you most value in a person, and thus makes sense to strive to nourish within yourself.

Some may argue: “But will I not just end up a bleak copy of the person I try to emulate?”. Don’t worry. Emulating someone else’s good traits will not take away from your own uniqueness, it will rather add more richness to your unique personality. The point is not to make yourself a clone of someone else. Just pick and choose the traits you like best from the people you like best.

Imagine your funeral:

• While this may not seem like a jolly subject,  “beginning with the end in mind” is a useful trick which makes it easier for the mind to fill in the steps needed between where we are and where we need to be.

• Imagine your eulogy (the speech other people make) at your own funeral. What would your friends say about you? What would you like them to say? Your family? Your Co-workers?  What character-traits would you need to change for you to become the person you would like them to describe?

• What should you change in the way you conduct yourself to be remembered the way you like to be remembered? Only by changing the way you live will you be able to create the legacy you want to leave.

Make a list:Choosing your Identity

• Compile a list of these traits and qualities and choose a few which you consider to be the most important to incorporate or nurture within your own personality.

• Now dig a little deeper. Take a while to ponder how you could incorporate the selected traits and behaviors into your everyday life in a way that gives them more prominence within yourself. Think through a normal day of your life; Think about the situations and people you are likely to encounter and imagine how you would act in those situations, being the ideal version of yourself.

• If you want to you may write or print this list and put it somewhere where you will be reminded of these character-traits that you want to become a bigger part of who you are.

• Now that the thinking and writing is done it is time to to start doing and being.

• Refrain from the belief that it has to take years to make changes in your behavior. For the most part, it is that very belief itself that slows you down, not reality.
Give yourself 30 seconds to change. Yes 30 seconds! From then on start acting according to your new ideals.
You may fail from time to time, and that is ok. Just correct course and keep at it.

• During the day you may ask yourself: How would “Suitable Role-model” act in this situation?

• Play the part of the “character” until it becomes natural to you. If you must pretend at first, so be it. “Fake it till you make it” is a common for good reasons.
Behaving in new ways may feel false at first, but with practice you will transform. By the time it feels natural it has become part of who you really are and you have truly gained the character trait you once desired!

“If you want to become someone different, just start acting like the person you want to be. It’s like that business motto “fake it till you make it” but it works on a spiritual and ethical level as well.” – AJ Jacobs

• If your new and chosen character-traits are far from who you have been up to now, be prepared to encounter some resistance or surprise from people who are used to your old self. Don’t let this discourage you. Be bold enough to act according to your own ideals and character-traits that you have decided to be a part of you.

• Revise this character-study of “who” you want to be as often as you like. A year from now you may have discovered better ideals, or actually grown enough, to chose new challenges.

• Keep improving yourself and eventually you may find yourself being a role-model to others.


“When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.
I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.

When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town.
I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.

Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself,
and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself,
I could have made an impact on my family.
My family and I could have made an impact on our town.
Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.”

– Unknown Monk (1100 A.D.)

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