Be. Do. Have. Ep 376



In this episode, Alex, the host of the podcast and co-creator of, delves into the psychology of success and the formation of identity through actions. He challenges the common belief that simply setting goals leads to success, arguing that it's the consistent behaviors and activities aligned with one's identity that truly drive progress. Alex emphasizes the power of the question, "What would a wise person do?" as a keystone habit to guide decision-making and cultivate the desired identity. He shares insights on how adopting this mindset can transform one's approach to business and life, ultimately leading to the creation of a self-reinforcing cycle of actions that shape who we become.

Summary Notes

Introduction to and Personal Success

  • Speaker A shares his personal journey and the success of his company,
  • is a portfolio of companies with a significant annual revenue.
  • Speaker A has had experiences where he was outperformed financially by a friend but later surpassed him.
  • The conversation with his friend provided insights that inspired Speaker A to share his thoughts on achieving wealth and status.

And over the years, my wife and I created, which is portfolio have companies, does about $85 million a year.

This quote introduces the success of, highlighting its substantial annual revenue, which serves as a testament to Speaker A's business acumen.

And ironically, there was a period of time, not ironically, that he did significantly better than me. And then just from a financial perspective, and then I ended up passing him.

Speaker A recounts a personal story of competition and eventual success over a friend, which frames the context for the insights he is about to share.

The Three Elements of Achieving Goals

  • Speaker A discusses the three components necessary for reaching goals: the desired external result, the process or behaviors to achieve it, and the identity of being someone who engages in those behaviors.
  • The concept is supported by behavior psychologists and is similar to the "be, do, have" philosophy in personal development.
  • Speaker A emphasizes the importance of not just setting goals but embodying the habits and identity that lead to achieving them.

There's kind of three elements to the goal, right? So you have the external result that you're looking for, which might be make more money, get a six pack, whatever you've got the processes, behaviors, activities that result in that goal being achieved, which would be like doing the work.

This quote outlines the three critical elements of goal achievement: the result, the process, and the identity, providing a framework for understanding how to approach success.

And then the third aspect is being the type of person who does those things.

Speaker A highlights the importance of identity in the process of achieving goals, suggesting that who you are is just as important as what you do.

Keystone Habit for Success

  • Speaker A introduces a keystone habit that has been instrumental in his success.
  • He discusses the concept of having a desire as making an internal contract to be unhappy until the goal is achieved.
  • Speaker A believes that simply writing down goals is not enough and that the real difference lies in the behaviors that lead to goal attainment.

And so one of the things, and this is what I wanted to give to you in this video, is a keystone habit that has served me very well.

Speaker A is about to reveal a personal habit that has been a cornerstone of his success, indicating its potential value to the listener.

So I have a desire, which means I've made a contract with myself to be unhappy until I get what I want.

This quote introduces the concept of desire as a commitment to oneself, which can be a driving force for achieving goals but also a source of dissatisfaction until those goals are met.

Goals: Not Unique Among Winners and Losers

  • Speaker A states that having goals is not unique to successful individuals, as both winners and losers share the same goals.
  • He argues that the act of writing down goals, while a first step, is not the main determinant of success.
  • The difference between those who achieve their goals and those who do not lies in the behaviors and actions taken toward those goals.

Winners and losers have the same goals.

Speaker A makes the point that simply having goals does not distinguish successful people from unsuccessful ones, as goals are common to both groups.

Everybody olympics has the same goal. Everybody who's in business has the same goal.

This quote reinforces the idea that goals are universal and not a differentiating factor in success, suggesting that the focus should be on the actions taken to achieve these goals.

It can't be having the goal that is the main driver of success.

Speaker A concludes that the mere presence of a goal is not what drives success; rather, it is the underlying behaviors and actions that lead to the achievement of the goal.

Key Theme: Identifying Effective Activities for Progress

  • Identifying activities that lead to desired outcomes is crucial for progress.
  • Advertising, in its true sense of making something known, is essential for gaining customers.
  • Activities like private communications (one-on-one reach outs, cold calls, DMs, emails) and public communications (social media posts, broadcasting) are effective in making products and services known.
  • More engagement in these activities correlates with acquiring more customers.

And so if we do activities that make our products and services known, like doing more private communications, which would be one on one reach outs, one on one cold calls, one on one dms, one on one emails, et cetera, prospecting, or one to many.

This quote emphasizes the importance of both private and public outreach efforts in promoting products and services, which in turn, helps in attracting more customers.

Key Theme: Discrepancy Between Knowledge and Action

  • People often know what activities they should be doing but fail to act on this knowledge.
  • Speaker A aims to explore why people don't act despite knowing what to do and how to remedy this issue.

But the thing is that people will know what that activity is, right. They will know that inherently they should be doing more of it, and yet they don't.

The speaker highlights a common issue where there is a gap between understanding what needs to be done and actually doing it.

Key Theme: Simplifying Decision-Making with Mental Models

  • Speaker A suggests using a simple mental hack to align actions with desired identities.
  • Asking oneself, "What would a wise man do?" or "What would a billionaire do?" helps in making decisions that are consistent with the type of person one aspires to be.
  • This mental model is based on the concept of identity as a collection of votes towards the type of person one wants to become.

And I think the simplest distillation of that concept is simply asking the question, what would this type of person do?

The quote presents a straightforward mental model for decision-making that involves envisioning the actions of a person representing the qualities one wishes to embody.

Key Theme: Identity and Habit Formation

  • Identity shapes behavior through a voting system where each action counts as a vote towards the type of person one wants to be.
  • Repeatedly asking oneself what a certain type of person would do in a given situation helps in forming habits that align with that identity.
  • This process leads to deep, long-lasting change and eventually becomes effortless.

And those are the things that create long lasting, deep change. And what's more about this is that these changes, when they become internal, when they become ingrained in our behavior, they become effortless.

This quote explains how consistent actions informed by the identity one wants to adopt lead to significant, enduring change that becomes second nature over time.

Key Theme: The Power of Mental Cues and Refrains

  • Mental cues or refrains can simplify complex decision-making processes.
  • Speaker A has experienced success with this method by asking, "What would someone ten times smarter than me do?" as a way to approach situations.
  • The effectiveness of this approach lies in its ability to guide behavior towards the desired outcome without the need for complex checklists.

And so I tweeted about one and it got shared a zillion times. But is what would someone ten times smarter than me do in this situation?

The speaker shares a personal anecdote about the impact of using a mental refrain to guide decision-making, demonstrating its popularity and resonance with others.

Importance of Self-Reminders

  • Small, physical reminders can be effective in shaping one's identity.
  • Speaker A suggests using a post-it note as a personal reminder of the type of person one aspires to be.

"But I think rather than having that big checklist, you can put just a little postit on your computer or wherever you work. That's a reminder to yourself that."

The quote highlights the idea of using simple, visual cues like a post-it to keep one's goals and aspirations at the forefront of daily activities.

Podcast and Visual Learning

  • Speaker A promotes the video version of the podcast for visual learners.
  • The video content includes additional effects, visuals, and graphs to enhance understanding.

"If you ever want to have the video version of this, which usually has more effects, more visuals, more graphs, you know, drawn out stuff, sometimes it can help hit the brain centers in different ways."

This quote emphasizes the availability and benefits of the video format of the podcast, which could aid in learning and retention through visual stimuli.

The Limitations of Affirmations

  • Affirmations alone are not enough to change one's identity unless accompanied by action.
  • Speaker A criticizes the practice of using affirmations without evidence of change.

"Because the whole concept behind affirmations that I do not like, which is, I'm a lion, I'm a tiger, I'm a whatever, right? Is that just saying them doesn't make them true? Unless you're a crazy person."

The quote expresses skepticism towards affirmations, implying that without tangible actions to back them up, they are ineffective.

The Role of Evidence in Self-Identity

  • Evidence of actions is necessary to reinforce the desired self-identity.
  • Speaker A discusses the importance of activity and action in forming evidence of one's identity.

"And so if we have this degree of sanity that's on our side, then what we have to do is create something else, which is evidence, right? We have to give ourselves evidence that we are this type of person in order to become that."

The quote suggests that rational individuals should seek to create proof of their desired identity through their actions.

The Power of Language and Etymology

  • Understanding the etymology of words can change one's perception and use of language.
  • Speaker A shares a personal anecdote about the word "philosopher" and its positive impact.

"And the reason I like this better, too, is that if we're trying to reinforce an identity or an identity trait about ourselves, and I just learned this, and this is a really good habit, I think, that I've picked up over the years but breaking down the etymology of words is really, really cool."

The quote stresses the value of exploring the origins of words to gain deeper insight and appreciation for their meanings.

Identity as Repeated Beingness

  • Speaker A explores the concept of identity as a product of consistent actions.
  • The etymology of "identity" is linked to the idea of repeated existence or being.

"And to the same degree, identity comes from, like, I don't know if remember the actual latin word, but entity is being, right? Like, just beingness in and of itself, and identical, which is repeated. So repeated beingness is what your identity is."

This quote explains the linguistic roots of the term "identity" and how it relates to the consistency of one's actions.

Action-Oriented Approach to Identity Change

  • Speaker A advocates for an action-oriented approach to changing one's identity.
  • Decisions should be made based on what the aspirational identity would dictate.

"And so I think the simple and easiest cue that we can use to change who we are, to change character traits that we find undesirable, is to simply ask ourselves, when we're confronted with the decision, what would this type of person do?"

The quote suggests a practical method for identity change, proposing that one should act as the type of person they wish to become when faced with decisions.

Adaptability in Decision-Making

  • Speaker A emphasizes the importance of adaptability in unforeseen situations.
  • The approach of acting according to one's desired identity is beneficial in unpredictable circumstances.

"You're going to be confronted with situations that you have not predicted. In fact, the vast majority of us don't predict things well, in general, it's because there's far more variables than we can possibly comprehend."

This quote recognizes the complexity of life and the challenges of prediction, advocating for a flexible mindset that focuses on aligning actions with one's intended identity.

The Power of the "What Would Jesus Do?" Principle

  • The "What Would Jesus Do?" (WWJD) question is a guiding principle in the Christian community.
  • It is suggested that even non-Christians could benefit from considering what Jesus would do in various situations.
  • This principle can lead to actions and behaviors that align with becoming more like Jesus.

"And that's why I think the what would Jesus do? Was such a powerful statement in the christian community."

This quote emphasizes the significance of the WWJD principle within the Christian community and its potential universal applicability.

Identity and Decision-Making

  • Our identity is shaped by the questions we ask ourselves repeatedly.
  • These questions influence our actions and the stories we tell ourselves about who we are.
  • The speaker encourages asking oneself what a person they aspire to be would do in their situation.

"Which creates our identity, which then creates the tasks that we do, and the activities we spend our time on, reinforces the story that we tell ourselves about who we are, right."

This quote highlights the cyclical relationship between the questions we ask, our identity, and our actions.

The Importance of Activities Over Goals

  • Both winners and losers may have the same goals, but their commitment to activities differentiates them.
  • The speaker stresses that the goal should be the activities themselves, not just the outcomes.
  • Making a lot of money in one month is not the achievement; the consistent commitment to the right activities is.

"Every winner and every loser have the same goals. What separates them are the activities they commit to."

This quote underscores that success is determined by one's dedication to the process, not just the desire to reach a goal.

Shifting Comparison and Self-Perception

  • As individuals improve their lives, they often shift who they compare themselves to, which can lead to dissatisfaction.
  • The speaker references Jordan Peterson's discussion on the topic.
  • This tendency to compare can make one feel inadequate, regardless of their achievements.

"You will simply change who you compare yourself always find a way to make yourself feel terrible."

The quote reflects on the human tendency to constantly seek new benchmarks for comparison, often to one's detriment.

Tactical Advice: Identity and Actions

  • The speaker advises to focus on writing down what actions a person with the desired identity would take.
  • This approach emphasizes the doing over simply setting goals.
  • The outcomes will naturally follow from the internal identity shift and consistent action.

"Instead of writing down your goals, just write down what would a billionaire do?"

This quote suggests that focusing on the actions of a successful person, rather than on goals, can lead to a more effective pathway to success.

Personal Reflection and Consistency

  • The speaker recommends defining the type of person one wishes to become.
  • This definition should serve as a constant reminder at decision points.
  • By continually asking oneself what the ideal version of oneself would do, one can shape their identity and actions.

"Write down what type of person do I wish to become and then make that the chorus that you recite to yourself when you're at your crossroads."

This quote is a call to action to define one's ideal identity and use it as a guide in daily decision-making.

Introduction to Alex and

  • Alex introduces himself and his business,
  • The company specializes in buying minority interests in various types of businesses and helping them scale.
  • Alex creates videos to share his experiences and help others avoid the struggles he faced.

"My name is Alex. Like I said earlier, my wife and I own"

This quote provides context about the speaker's professional background and the purpose behind the video content.

Conclusion and Welcome to New Viewers

  • Alex concludes the video by welcoming new viewers to the channel.
  • The purpose of the videos is to share knowledge and prevent others from experiencing similar struggles.
  • Alex signs off with a message of love and anticipation for future interactions.

"But I do this stuff just because I struggled a lot on the way up and I don't want other people to struggle and I don't want my pain to be in vain."

This quote reveals Alex's motivation for creating content: to offer guidance based on personal challenges and to foster a supportive community.

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