I Became My Best Version ... Here's The Formula (3 Steps)
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I spent most of my life feeling like I’d never really amount to much, and this feeling only got worse after graduating high school, where it seemed like with each passing year, everyone around me was moving forward while I just stayed the same.
So if you told my younger self that one day I would move to another country, learn spanish and salsa, box and climb mountains, build a massive business, learn philosophy and discover spirituality. That, as a lifelong introvert, one day I would make YouTube videos where I helped to illuminate this path for others. If you told all of this to my younger self, I would have told you that you were out of your fucking mind.
Anyway, all of the big questions of personal development, how can I develop confidence? Discipline? Work ethic? How can I stop procrastinating? Stop making bad decisions. Stop feeling depressed?
All of these questions are all rooted in a much deeper question, perhaps the question of questions: How do I become my best version?
Now, judging by the number of bullshit, pseudo-motivational “how to be your best version” videos there are on YouTube, two things are clear to me:
- A lot of people aspire to be their best version
- A lot of people have no idea what the fuck “best version” even means, let alone how to get there
So in this article, we’re going to go deep. I’m going to break down the complex psychological implications of all of this as I share the exact 3 steps through which I was able to become my best version. Let’s begin.
Step 1: Understanding “me” and “ideal me”
How do I become my best version? If we look closely, this actually implies two different people. We have “me”, who exists in the present moment, and “my best version”, an ideal version of me who exists at some future moment.
Present me is lazy, unproductive, weak, and sometimes masturbates in excess of 5 times per day.
Ideal me wakes up at 5am, effortlessly works entire days, and climbs mountains in his spare time.
So when we ask the question “how do I become my best version” what we’re really saying is that “I am me, right now, but that’s not who I want to be. Who I want to be, is the me that I want to be, somewhere in a future moment”
These are two different people, which implies something else really important, the reason that our “present me” is not yet our “ideal me” can be summarized in a single word: control.
Because if we had control, then we would all go to the gym and have 6 packs, and instantly develop good habits, but that’s not what happens, instead we fail and procrastinate and delay things, because we lack control.
For most people, it’s uncomfortable to acknowledge this. I used to hate the idea that I was not in control of myself because it made me feel weak, but here’s the thing, most people who begin this journey immediately start posting motivational bullshit to social networks and want to see themselves as a model for everyone else. But how are we supposed to begin an authentic journey of personal development, if we can’t even acknowledge the obvious stuff, like how weak (and probably also pathetic) we are right now in the present moment before we make changes?
The acknowledgement that we lack control, that we are not nearly what we could be, is what allows an authentic journey to even begin in the first place. Anything else is just delusion, and not the good kind.
I am me, in the present moment, a weak pathetic creature who has very little control over the sort of decisions and habits that will help me transform into who I want to be, my “ideal me”, who exists in the future and is primarily characterized by one thing, control.
Got it? Ok let’s move to the next step.
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Step 2: Authentically understand “me”
Ok so we’ve got “me” and “ideal me”, if we’re going to move any further we should probably work to have an authentic understanding of both of them. So let’s start with the first one, “me”. What exactly is “me”?
Well, we might think we know, but let’s be honest here. For most of us, who we “think” we are is not even close to who we “really” are. We all know someone who thinks they’re things that they’re clearly not, these are “inauthentic” people, and while this is easy to observe in others, it’s extremely difficult to observe in ourselves.
I’ll give you an example that most of you, if you’re being honest, will relate to. In the past, when my friends shared accomplishments on social media, on a surface level I would feel and act as if I was happy for the person, but deep-down on a “root” level I was jealous. When my friends “failed”, on a surface level I was supportive and compassionate, but on a root level, I actually wanted them to fail.
Now most of us don’t want to think of ourselves as being jealous and bitter, probably just as much as we don’t want to think of ourselves as weak, and so even if we authentically experience these emotions, instead of acknowledging them, we instead choose to bury them beneath the mask of who we pretend to be.
There are lots of problems with this, but at least insofar as it has to do with becoming our “best version”, it is critically important for us to honestly identify as much weakness within us as possible because this all comes together to form the starting point of the journey. The authentic starting point.
To acknowledge our lack of control and how the people around us truly make us feel is how we come to understand our “me” more authentically, which is ½ of the “become my best version” equation.
Being honest about how things really made me feel allowed me to understand “me” on an authentic level, and in doing so I was able to realize that I felt “jealousy” because I wanted the success of other people for myself. I felt happy when others failed because their failures made me feel better about my own position in life.
These discoveries then led me to realize that my entire self-worth and everything about how I measured myself had to do with others, the external, fake world where, to make matters worse, most of the successes people share are highly exaggerated, and most of the failures people share are to garner likes and attention.
Realizing this allowed me to stop comparing myself to others, and to start comparing “me” to my “ideal me”, which is the correct comparison to be making if we want to become our best versions.
Now, instead of comparing myself to others, I simply see myself in them. When people succeed, I see myself succeeding, and I feel genuine happiness. When people fail, I see myself failing, and I am genuinely supportive and compassionate.
We are probably not who we think we are, and if we want to understand ourselves authentically, we should start by turning off the TV, disconnecting from social media, and at least temporarily removing ourselves from the external world, because that world is governed by profit and virtually nothing is as it seems.
The external world doesn’t want us to authentically understand ourselves because there’s no profit in here. The less we understand ourselves, the less capable we are of solving our own problems and dealing with our own issues, and the more likely we are to seek out all sorts of bullshit products and services to fix symptoms and never root causes.
The external world programs us to believe that we are something that we are not, and who we really are is waiting to be discovered in the internal where not even a 12 minute YouTube video can take us.
Step 3: Authentically understand “ideal me”
Most of us have a rough idea of our “ideal me”, the problem is society generally has its own plans for what it wants us to be, and it’s very easy to confuse “who I think I want to be” with “who I really want to be”.
I’ll share another personal experience and maybe you can relate. During my early teens, when the other kids were playing outside, I was busy working on 3D renders of fighter jets, or writing reviews for the role playing video games that I used to play and posting them to a website I had designed entirely with HTML and photoshop. But because my parents had different ideas of what “success” meant, they steered me away from my passions and towards what they considered to be “high paying” careers, my choices were basically banker, doctor, or lawyer. To make a long story short, I spent 5 years getting a degree in economics, and a couple more years fumbling around in internships and jobs that I hated before somehow stumbling back into building websites (something I was actually passionate about) and now many years later I own a massive real estate web design business.
Anyway my point in all of this is that the idea that I had of my “ideal me” had been completely defined by society and other external influences and yet I fully believed that being a high-paid banker was part of my “ideal me”. It was only when I started building websites again that I came to more authentically understand my true “ideal me”, at least the occupational part.
Our “ideal me” also has expressive, physical, and mental components, and we’ve got to work to authentically understand those parts as well, which is not easy because society already has plans for us.
Now as far as how you can discover your “ideal me”, well that’s a really good question. I think that if your “ideal me” is something along the lines of a famous, rich person, with a huge mansion and lots of cars, then that’s probably an indication that you have a lot of work to do.
To discover your authentic “ideal me”, I’d recommend taking a closer look at things you truly enjoy doing when nobody else is around. If you’re not sure what you really enjoy doing, then just keep doing more things, out there in the real world.
Alright guys, quick summary we bring all of this home.
If we’re trying to be more disciplined, stop procrastinating, develop confidence, and truly be happy, these are symptoms of a much greater question that we should be asking, How do I become my best version?
To answer that question, we should follow these 3 steps:
Step 1: Understanding “me” and “ideal me”
The words “best version” imply two different people, “me”, who exists in the present moment, and “ideal me”, who exists at some future moment. We are not “ideal me” because “me” lacks control.
Step 2: Authentically understand “me”
“Me” can be further broken down into the “me” that I think I am, and the “me” that I really am. “Who we think we are” is generally a sort of “societal mask” that covers who we “really” are. We can remove the mask by being honest about how things really make us feel.
Step 3: Authentically understand “ideal me”
“Ideal me” can be broken down into the “me that I think I want to be” and “Me that I really want to be”. “Who we think we want to be” is probably just another societal mask that we can remove by taking the time to disconnect from everything around us and put ourselves into a space where external validation is a non-factor, the answers are in the silence.
Alright guys, If we want to become our “best versions”, then we had better understand what that means in the first place.
Now here are two final pieces of advice that should help you bring this all home.
First, is that if you don’t feel tremendous motivation to make progress on this journey, then you probably have very inauthentic understandings of “me”, “‘ideal me”, or both, because regardless of how much effort this all takes, it should feel effortless because authentic progress is far more rewarding than it is difficult. You will never become your best version if what you’re chasing are inauthentic, false constructions of society.
And my second recommendation, and this may come as a surprise, is to keep in mind that your “ideal me” is not your “best version”. Ideals are perfect things and so your “ideal me” is simply what you should aspire to. Unlike ideals, we are not and will never be perfect things, and so your “best version” is simply what you become when you live mostly in accordance with what your “ideal me” stands for.
Alright guys, hope you enjoyed the article, if you really want to get the most out of it I recommend pausing after each of the 3 steps and really considering these things for yourself. Once you’ve done that, in the comments below let us know something inauthentic that you were able to identify about your “me” and your “ideal me”.
I want to take a second to thank the sponsor of this video, Coursera, which literally has the best courses online. For anyone who considers themself similar to me, I highly recommend their web design courses, which are taught by actual teachers and run the gamut from basic to advanced. I started my web design career customizing templates and it was easy, fun, and really profitable especially as my skills improved.
If you want much deeper insights than I’m able to fit into my YouTube videos, make sure to follow me there @NelsonQuest.
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This is the path. Ciao and I’ll see you in the next article.
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