Identity's Mindset

I’ve been in the midst of shedding an identity. It has never felt more urgent to do so more than now. There’s many things to say about how hard it is to start a new avenue in life but the most difficult thing has been dealing with my identity.

Designer was my identity for the better part of a decade. People paid me to do this for years and so I acted the part. When I decided to branch out and build a new product, I wondered how my decade in “solitary design confinement” was affecting my decision-making.

Mindsets have been a topic of interest for me for quite some time now. The past year and a half has been a long experiment in changing my mindset about bodybuilding. Going through the motions there have rendered a lot of unanswered questions for my professional career.

When I first started lifting, I wanted to be healthier, whatever that meant. I did end up becoming healthier but that didn’t feel as satisfying as I thought it would. As I started poking around, I noticed there was a very defined line between athlete and lifter.

Two people with the same timeframe and one has hands-down the better physique. The results are in front of you on their bodies, that’s how obvious it is. They do the same things, don’t they? Do they eat the same? Does one train more, harder, or longer?

After analyzing my new friends I realized that while some of those things were correlated to success, it wasn’t always a clear line. What defined an athlete from a conventional lifter was what they said when I asked them who they were: a bodybuilder. Their identity governed they did.

Everything else in the sport is an inevitability because their identity already defined a certain set of habits. Those habits compounded over time inevitably lead them to success. Input equals output. It’s simple, really.

Bodybuilding is an additive art: you start with a basic shape, pick where you want the clay, and place it there with training and diet. Shedding an identity, on the other hand, is a subtractive art. You start with a ball of clay and you chisel away until something works.

Adjusting my mindset means letting go of something that I held onto so dearly for many years. This has been harder than I thought it would be. As I go deep into it, I’m starting to realize the full implications of my past (or still current) career. I’m not letting all of it go, of course, but I do have to soften parts of it.

Changing your identity changes your mindset changing your habits which changes your results.

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