Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.
– Pablo Picasso
To be able to create a new personality, you firstly need to destroy your current self. It sounds terrifying, but it is actually a positive notion.
Almost every person around you has at some point become dedicated to working out and getting in shape. Their goal could be getting a muscular physique, losing weight, gaining muscle mass, running a marathon, or becoming a parkour master, but almost every one of us has at some point said: “I’m going to do this and I’m dedicated”.
But what happened?
Most people are still not in shape. Out of so many people who commit to fitness, only some achieve the “perfect” body image they crave, while the majority is stuck halfway. Despite numerous individuals committing to losing weight, there are still more people in McDonald’s than at gyms or parks.
INITIATING: SELF-DESTRUCTION MODE
Tyler Durden famously said: “Self-improvement is masturbation. Now, self-destruction…” He couldn’t have been more spot on.
Self-improvement can be equalized to masturbation – a repetitive action which brings you short-term joy, but ultimately doesn’t advance or help you improve your life. To be able to create a new personality, you firstly need to destroy your current self. It sounds terrifying, which is the reason it puts most people of, but it’s actually a positive notion.
Breaking habits and making mindset changes stick permanently is a lot like curing addiction. First, you need to go through the process of detoxification to get all the bad stuff out of your system and start with a clean slate. Then, once you’ve hit that personal reset button, you can start shaping your mindset and personality the way you want to.
When working out, you are literallytearing your muscles. Before you can build muscle, you need to destroy it. The same principle applies to psychological changes.
The hard truth about personal development is that it takes time. When you finally realize you can influence the outcome of your life, you can’t stand still. You want the change right now.
But it doesn’t work that way.
It’s an understandable way of thinking, though. It’s like when you see a trailer for an awesome movie. If you could, you would storm down to the theater and watch it right now. But you can’t. You have to wait and there’s no way around it.
So one of two things happen:
1. The results are not coming in fast enough, so you give up.
2. You are craving your old life and eventually succumb to it.
If you give up, it means you are not dedicated enough to put in the hours, and until you realize why you’re doing it, you’re not going to achieve any significant progress.
But let’s say you are dedicated. You put in the hours. You realize it’s going to take time. You work, learn, analyze, and adapt. But as time goes on, you start reminiscing about how easy things were before.
Even though you should work out, you’d rather watch a movie.
Even though you’re on a diet, you’d rather eat that cake.
Even though you should study, you’d rather play video games.
Maybe just one time. Just this once. And then “one time” by “one time”, you’re back to square one.
HOW TO PROPERLY DESTROY YOURSELF
The reason you’re so susceptible to your old habits is that you are still the same old you, just trying to act differently. To fully welcome new changes, you need to destroy the old you; more specifically, parts of the old you that you don’t like and that are holding you back.
If you want to become independent, you first need to stop being needy.
If you want to be proactive, you first need to stop procrastinating.
It’s like creating art – right now, you’re trying to take a finished painting and draw over it. Sure, you can change some things around, but it will always look weird. To create a masterpiece, you need a completely blank canvas.
Next step is the destruction of your current self because if you were happy with who you are right now, you wouldn’t want to change. And the way you can destroy bad parts of yourself is by going to the “other extreme”.
Right now, you are on a certain extreme: too nice, too angry, too needy, too lazy.
Most people try to go for the middle. If you are too nice, you’d probably try to be a little less nice, hoping it will get you to the optimal middle. But it won’t.
I suggest going to the other extreme; you don’t have to become bad or evil, but definitely harsher. You need to say “no” more often than you say “yes”. You need to become more selfish for a while. This is also not how you should ultimately be, as any extreme is wrong. But when you go to the other extreme and feel the change, it’s much easier to find your way back to the middle.
Going for the middle from the starting point is safer, which is why most people try it. Sadly, they soon find out it’s next to impossible to change yourself in any meaningful way by taking baby steps and tiptoeing around your issues. You need to face your issues, accept them, destroy them, and then build a better personality.
If you don’t, you are still relating yourself to your old, poisonous habits. Once you reach the other extreme, you can relate to both and find the optimal balance.
Going to the other extreme means stepping out of your comfort zone. It’s going to be hard and uncomfortable at first, but that’s the point. If you want to be different, you need to think and act differently. You need to do things you’ve never done before and embrace new challenges, as it’s the only way you’ll ever make true progress.
The sooner you step away from your comfort zone, the sooner you’ll realize that it really wasn’t all that comfortable.
Your friends are not supportive? People around you are holding you back? They don’t want you to change? Stop hanging out with them. Make acquaintance with people you were not so close with in the past. Spend time by yourself. Practice something you suck at.
I did all of those things. First, it was scary. Then it was awesome.
Don’t avoid confrontation and awkward moments at the cost of personal unhappiness. If you’re serious about change, show the world you mean business. If you’re not…what the fuck are you doing here? Get it together.
BUILDING A BETTER PERSONALITY
After you’ve reached a new level with personal destruction, it’s time for the actual improvement. Once you’ve reached and absorbed the other extreme, start working your way towards the middle.
I used to be very needy. If I was in a group of people, I would always count on someone else to lead the way, even if I disagreed with them. When I traveled with my friends, they would always hold me back from fully experiencing the place we were visiting. I wanted to immerse myself in the culture. They wanted to sit around the hotel room.
All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.
– William Shakespeare
Ultimately, I decided to become independent. Firstly, I destroyed my neediness by avoiding asking for help, spending time alone, and learning new skills. If I wanted to do something, I did it without following the group. The most important part of my path to change was that I completely ditched that group of friends. Looking back, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. As a consequence, I started hanging out with old friends I wasn’t so close with and met a bunch of new people who, unlike my old gang, weren’t saying “what you’re doing is lame” but “what you’re doing is awesome”.
I destroyed the old version of myself and was ready to adapt a new persona. When that part was done, it was time for the test.
I decided to spend a week in a country I’ve never visited before. I financed the whole trip myself, arranged all the logistics, and made all the plans without anyone’s help. I was 20 at the time (still living with my parents) and they were completely shocked when I notified them on what I planned to do.
I didn’t know anybody in the country. I’ve never even been on a plane before.
My dad gave me some emergency numbers and extra cash. I purposely left them at home. I knew why I was embarking on this trip and I knew that if I got into trouble, I’d need to count only on myself to sort it out – no training wheels, no connections, no scapegoats.
So I went for it. I wasn’t afraid. I was calm and collected, walking through the streets of London like it was my hometown. I met new people, experienced new things, and came back with a collection of crazy and unbelievable stories. All on my own. I used to be afraid of contradicting my friends in an argument, and now I’m contradicting most of society with my actions. I’m free to do whatever I want and nobody can stop me.
And that is how a changed personality looks like.