Alter-Egos and Personal Development
Hands up if you have heard of this concept?
Nope. Me neither.
Let’s have a look at what it means. And how it might help us. Or not.
Some Thoughts From Real People To Start With
- Alter-egos are usually a form of escapism
- I don't think it's a thing that the actual, serious self-development field uses
- It can help you to step out of your comfort zone.
- An alter-ego, at times, can be beneficial provided it does not go overboard
- If an alter-ego is more perfect than your real self, then it can result in low self-esteem
- If an alter-ego is dominating, then it can prevent a person from leading a normal life
- Lack of self-esteem, confidence or living an unsatisfying or unhappy life may tempt somebody to invent an alter-ego
Where Does This Leave Us?
Is this a good idea? Should we use this technique in our own lives? Our personal development pathway? Or not?
Since an alter-ego is something we create within our minds it cannot harm us in any physical way – unless we jump off a building expecting because we have on our super-hero cape we can fly. But I reckon this activity is more likely to be based on some sort of psychosis than a carefully crafted alter-ego with a specific purpose.
Determine why you want an alter-ego. More in a moment.
An alter-ego could be as simple as a nick-name, a computer-like tag or ID, a pen name or as complex as a completely different persona, a whole different character. Make sure there is a specific purpose or why for this kind of thinking.
Simon Sinek in his book “Start With Why” talks about the Golden Circle and how we need to start from the inside and move through the why, to the how and then the what. Not the other way around as most people do. He says, if we know why we are doing something, the how will become apparent and the what ie the outcome, will be a foregone conclusion.
How can we use this in our discussion of alter-egos?
Quite Simple, Really
Our result, let’s say the person we want to become, the life we want to lead; is achieved by our behaving/living in a certain way. How we behave in the way that will give us this desired conclusion, is dependant on the level of commitment we have to be that person mentioned above. That’s where we meet our WHY. Our reason for getting out of a warm bed in the morning.
Some of you may know of this as the Be, Do, Have model often used in life coaching. It’s the same thing really. If that means nothing to you, let me know and I’ll cover it in a later article.
Now I’ve really confused you, right?
Here’s What I Mean
I want to be a person who is disciplined and consistent so I can achieve my goals on a regular basis. I have a lot of goals but I am consistent in the wrong way. I almost always miss my goals for VERY good reasons. I am not disciplined and I allow other less important things to take my valuable time. Like reading for pleasure when I have a book review to prepare for. (Tomorrow – right?). I want to be more controlled in my approach. Why? So I can be of more value to myself and others. So I can make money and travel the world.
I’m not sure HOW to do this? So the NEW me (the what) is kinda unlikely. If you don’t know HOW to hammer a nail – well, it will not nail itself. So nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch.
Strong Disciplined Type
What if I created, in my mind’s eye, a super hero who NEVER puts stuff off, and was the strong disciplined type - all the time? What if I set this guy the task of doing the stuff I keep avoiding? Might that work? Do you think?
Could it hurt to give it a go? This guy is in my mind – right? But he gets shit done. Sounds good.
Looking Back On My Life
Have you EVER wondered, when you looked back over time at an event in your life, whether you read about said event, were told about it by someone else, saw it in a movie or perhaps you were really there and it actually happened to you? Think about it. Has it ever been the case? Be honest.
Alter-Ego And The Mind’s Eye
If that is true and you have been confused in such a way, (and I’m sure you have at some time in your life. Take your time – go back to the dim dark ages and really look at those memories), is it not possible to confound your mind DELIBERATELY and create a memory that doesn’t exist, an event that happens only in your mind, such that your crazy procrastinating self actually does something? Completes a task? Maybe not you, but a person in the mirror, or a person in a home movie, or a story you tell your hairdresser? I mean, that’s possible, isn’t it? Can’t hurt.
So Why Don’t We Get Started?
- Generate in your mind's eye a personality for your alter-ego. Be very detailed. You can have more than one for different situations in your life
- Develop distinct image(s) – what does he/she/it/they look like
- Write back story. Origin. Again be specific. Obviously fictional
- Pick a name or title
- Make it different from your normal life, the way you want things to be
- Create a costume you wear when you are this character. Becomes a trigger. Change costume – change alter-ego
You can write it down. Might be a good idea since our memory is so flaky. Figure out when you might need some professional help; and using whatever trigger you choose (costume change is a good one – or picking up a tool like a light sabre for example) move, in your mind, into the persona of this really cool, got it all together person who does this kind of stuff (the thing you – the real you – finds REALLY hard) before breakfast. And Bob’s your uncle.
(Don’t expect it to necessarily work the first time – sometimes even Batman or Wonder Woman had to have a couple of goes), but keep at it and see what happens.
Check It Out
Let us all know via the comments to this post how it went for you. Obviously, this is a tiny bit of information. Research it a bit for yourself, but it seems to me that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And that is what we want? Correct?