Book Review: Be Your Future Self Now by Dr. Benjamin Hardy.

Do you believe that you are purely a product of your past? That past events dictate who you are today and what you do. Does this belief keep you stuck in a limited and unhappy life?

What if the reality was actually the opposite? What if your actions and behaviour were not simply a by-product of the past, but driven by your view of the future instead? How could you leverage that knowledge to produce better outcomes and create a life you love? You can find the answers to these questions and more in the book, ‘Be Your Future Self Now’.

In the book, author Benjamin Hardy argues that everything we do is driven by our view of the future, whether it’s one we’re trying to avoid or one we’re trying to create. The book explains the concept of a Future Self and how to create a powerful one for ourselves, no matter our circumstances. It goes on to show us how to connect with it to start creating the outcomes we want.

The key to real transformation, happiness and success, it reveals, is to be intentional about who we want to be and let that drive our current actions and behaviour.

The book in a nutshell

Everything we do is driven by our prospects of the future, a concept psychologists call prospection. These goals or reasons may not be consciously formulated but influence our thoughts and actions. They can be positive or negative, approach or avoidance motivated but the author explains that about 80 percent of us are primarily driven by fear or avoidance.

The result is that most of us are so busy dealing with short-term issues that we don’t take the time to look beyond surviving in the moment. Yet it’s that view of the future, even when it may only be the next day or next month, that draws us forward. It is crucial, therefore, to move from short-term reactive goals to more thoughtful, positive, long-term ones. As the author describes it in the book:

Shifting our goals from fear-based, reactive, and short term to proactive, long term, and love-based is the path to a successful and happy life.

The bottom line? Your view of your Future Self (positive or negative) is the compass that draws you forward.

Key takeaways

  • The principal threat to your Future Self is a lack of purpose and meaning in your life. The present is meaningless unless connected to the future and it is that vision of the future that guides your decisions.
  • Without hope in your future your present loses meaning. You lack clear goals and a sense of purpose. What is hope? It requires three things:
    1. A clear and specific goal.
    2. Belief you have control over what you do, that your actions matter, and you can impact the results in your life.
    3. You see a path, have a path, or can create multiple paths from where you are now to your goal.
  • Commitment is a statement of what “is.” Whatever results you are producing in your life right now is proof of what you’re actually committed to.  
  • Your identity is based on the vision you’ve committed to. Change your vision to change your identity. In turn, that changes your thoughts and behaviours.
  • No matter how bad your past was, it doesn’t have to limit your vision for the future. You have the power to choose what meaning you give to those past events. Reframe them as positive and become empowered to move forward.
  • Your current self is temporary. Understanding that is key to enabling a growth mindset. Your identity becomes flexible as you continually update how you think, what you know and what you value.
  • Becoming your Future Self takes two steps:
    1. Clarifying your contextual purpose. Given your current situation, what is the most important thing you could achieve right now? 
    2. Eliminating lesser goals. Distinguish between what is moving you toward or away from your contextual purpose. Commit to actions that create the life and outcomes you want.
  • The quality of connection you have with your Future Self determines the quality of your life and behaviours in the present. Connect strongly with your long-term Future Self to make better quality decisions in the present. 

Who this book is for

Have you struggled to make meaningful change in your life? Maybe you’ve experienced trauma and can’t seem to break free of limiting beliefs and behaviours. Perhaps you’ve lived in survival mode for so long that you’ve never taken the time to dream about the future. This book will teach you the science of your Future Self and show you how to create a compelling vision of your future. It then gives some practical steps on how to make it a reality, radically transforming your life in the process.

Final thoughts

This is one of my favourite books so far this year. It takes the latest in the science of Future Self, positive psychology and neuroscience and meshes it all into an easy to follow guide on transforming our lives.  One of my favourite quotes from the book is:

Commitment is a statement of what “is.” You can know what you’re committed to by your results, not by what you say your commitments are.

It drives home the reality that whatever we’re experiencing right now (good or bad) is a consequence of our choices and actions. When we’re not intentional about what we want and act in accordance with it, we risk creating unwelcome outcomes. A sobering message indeed. The upside, however, is we can do something about it right now.

If creating a future far beyond anything your current self ever imagined is something you desire, this is a must-read.

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