Tag Archive | Identity

Identity Design

The strongest force in the human personality is the need to remain consistent with how we define ourselves. (Tony Robbins)

Your sense of identity is the strongest psychological force in your entire life. (Tony Robbins)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

Who are you?

I am Multitude.

I’ve grown immensely in the last few years. I didn’t know it was possible for someone to change so much in such a short time-span. This is what led me to create the model of life-density [<link; medium read].

There are many metrics you can use to measure progress. In my case, the most dramatic perhaps is my Identity Map, as I like to call it.

What does it look like?

What you see is just a part of it, a selection.

My Identity-Map

As I grow, I’ll certainly be adding more. Everything on the map I express as ‘I am…‘.

I’m using Brian Johnson‘s beautiful Big Three model, which identifies the essential areas of one’s life as being three in number.

The Big Three:
– Energy
– Work
– Love

What’s the reasoning behind it?

What’s important to understand is that, a few years ago, I started essentially from scratch. A blank page and a question at the top – one of the most important questions of my life:

Who do you want to be?

And, in time, I started adding to it. It took a few years of inner and outer exploration and countless iterations to reach its current form.

What was a key point in this process?

A realization which I had early on, which came as a sudden spark of insight:

Identity is a resource.

In a profound sense, at that point I became the Designer of my life. And much of the dramatic growth that followed was an outgrowth of this idea seed.

I’ve since realized that Identity is key to unlocking your full potential.

You become who you conceive as capable of becoming. That’s why it’s essential to Think Big [<link; medium read].

Another way to think of it is as an expression of a principle from Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

Begin with the end in mind.

I call the items that make up the identity-map, identity-blocks. Every identity-block unlocks possibilities. It’s like a design blueprint for your life.

Some identity-blocks are not yet fully realized (eg Leader). Metaphorically, we could say they’re still at seedling stage.

Some identity-blocks are representational-models [link; medium read]. They’re shaping my Inner Reality, a process which I call ‘Reality Painting‘.

Some identity-blocks are tools, they have a powerful priming effect in the moment.

What were the identity-blocks that had the most dramatic impact on the process of identity creation?

In chronological order:

I am Creativity / a Creator.
I am a Life-Artist.
I am a Big Thinker.
I am a Polymath.
I am Multitude.


Life-Artist 3

SEE the Macro in the Micro. [<link; medium length]

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

Make your life a work of art.

Make this moment a work of art.

Make today a work of art.
Make this week a work of art.
Make this month a work of art.
Make this year a work of art.
Make this decade a work of art.


Dedicate your life to finding out.

On Growth and Possibility

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What was your most important accomplishment this year?”

“Profoundly cementing my Writer identity-block, by creating my own blog and committing to write every single day FOREVER.”

“What if you likewise cemented at least one identity-block EVERY YEAR?

Who could you become by the end of your life?”

“A Super-Polymath?”

“Let’s find out!”


The Central Question 2

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
(Mary Oliver,
Summer Day)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What do you want?”

“I don’t know.”

“Do you want to find out?”


“Do you just sort of want to find out, or do you really REALLY want to?

Do you BURN to find out?”

“YES! But I don’t know how.”

The first step is to ASK the question, to really engage with it.

If you just passively read the question, it’s just a bunch of words put together, a verbal empty [<link; short read].

When you really ASK it, the question comes alive, and becomes a guide. You’re initiating a powerful Macro-Process [<link; short read].

What do you REALLY want, deep deep down?

To make it even more powerful, you can pair it with another question:

What do you want?
Who do you want to BE?”

“How long will it take?”

“It doesn’t matter.

This is a Meta-Decision [<link; medium read], a decision that will permanently alter the trajectory of your life. A profound investment in your future.

COMMIT to making it the Central Focus of your life, your ONE Thing until you find out.”

Project Ultralearning: The Why

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“Why do you want to become an Ultralearner?”

“I like to think of it as a Soul Quest, which is an affectionate reference to my gaming past [<link; medium read]. This is part of a much larger Macro-Quest, the Quest for Wisdom, Self-Actualization/Transcendence and Self-Mastery.

I call it my Hero Quest.

My Hero Quest has many facets. One of them is an Identity-Quest I like to express thus:

Super Thinker / Writer
– Super Learner / Teacher (The Art of Learning)
– Super Athlete / Mover (Parkour)

“You used to express it as ‘World-class’. Why the change to ‘Super’?”

“Both ‘World-class’ and ‘Super’ are representational-models [<link; medium read]. I felt the latter is more expressive, as a reference to the Super-Heroes of my childhood, and more mysterious. My goal is nothing short of exploring the limits of my potential. What are those limits? I don’t know, and I have no way of knowing until I get there.”

“Why is Super Thinker / Writer the main focus? And why the pairings?”

“I’ve come to realize my Zone of Genius is my capacity to Think [<link; long read], so that’s become the central Macro-Focus of my life. Learner / Teacher and Athlete / Mover, are subordinate to and integral components of this goal. They are like different kinds of fuel for my thinking. The former provides the materials, the latter provides the energy, and both deeply stimulate my thinking.

Writer and Teacher are both a means and an end.

I find writing an essential component of thinking. I write in order to think.
I find teaching an essential component of learning. I teach in order to learn.

Also, writing and teaching are my chosen ways of giving back to the world, and I’m going to keep developing them over the coming years, until I can earn a living from them.

And ALL of them – Thinking, Writing, Learning, Teaching and Moving – are a beautiful means of self-expression.”

Project Ultralearning

A goal without a plan is just a wish. (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)

Ultralearning: The art of learning hard things quickly (Scott H. Young)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What’s the next step in your evolution?”

Becoming an Ultralearner.

“Weren’t you toying with the idea in the past?”

“The difference is, it’s now become a goal. I’ve actually devised and set a plan in motion.

The difference is, it’s become an identity-goal. The most powerful kind.”

“What’s the plan?”

“Inspired by Scott H. Young’s book Ultralerning, Josh kaufman’s book The First 20 Hours (about rapid skill acquisition), and a blog post by Derek Sivers entitled Monthly Self-Expansion Project [<link], I’m going to make every single month from now on thematic. Every month I’m going to be learning something new.

Derek Sivers’ idea is to focus on something you hate or know nothing about.
My focus is going to be on things that are most useful.

I created an ever-growing document with ideas of things I want to learn. Whenever I come up with an idea, I write it down in the document.

The order in which you learn things is important. I’m going to prioritize them based on my estimation of how impactful they are on my life. For instance those that impact multiple systems of my life. Yet another instance of stacking.”

“What did you start with?”


I decided to start the project by dedicating a month (December) to learning how to learn, to internalizing the most effective learning principles and strategies.

In this endeavor, four books are my main guides:

The Art of Leaning, by Josh Waitzkin (my Learning Bible)
Ultralerning, by Scott H. Young
The First 20 Hours, by Josh Kaufman
A Mind for Numbers, by Barbara Oakley

I read all of them, took a copious amount of notes, which I’m currently in the process of organizing. These will serve as the theoretical framework.

With every learning project, I’ll be putting to practice what I’ve learned, and refining the learning process itself.

Learning how to learn is one of the most important meta-skills, and one of the best strategies for increasing time-density [<link; medium read]. I’d understood this a long time ago. I’m finally breathing life into the idea by putting it into practice.”

The Beautiful Game 3

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

What’s the most notable feature of the Beautiful Game [<link; medium read]?

“I engage with it as both a Player and a Game Designer.

It’s a self-referential game.

I shape it as I’m playing it, and it shapes me in return.

The best way to express it is as Identity:

I am the Beautiful Game.”

Practical Poetry

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“If you were to give your Art a name, what would it be?”

Practical Poetry.

“Why that name?”

“It’s a representational-model [<link; medium read].

Practical because that’s what my main focus in life is, as an Artist/Philosopher/Designer.”

“Artist, Philosopher, Designer… Why that order?”

“These are identity-blocks [<link; long read], and also representational-models.

You can metaphorically think of them as lens on top of one another, forming a ‘reality-filter’ that focuses my thoughts and actions.

The first lens is Artist. Above all, I’m a Creator. In my view, to be a Creator is to be an Artist.

The next lens is Philosopher, by which I mean Lover of Practical Wisdom.”

“Doesn’t Wisdom imply the practical?”

“I like to make a distinction between Wisdom and Practical Wisdom.

Wisdom is practical knowledge.
Practical Wisdom is applied practical knowledge.

The last lens is Designer. Expresses my endless Quest for the Implementation of Wisdom.

Poetry because it’s a vivid way of expressing some qualities that I strive for in my thinking and writing: use of metaphor, vividness, expressiveness, and brevity, communicating as much as possible with as little as possible.”

“Do you think your writing meets those qualities?”

“The value is in the striving.”

On being a Writer

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I tell when I’ve become a writer?”

When you know you’re going to write every single day until you draw your last breath.


I’m committed to studying, embodying and teaching the fundamentals of optimal living. (Brian Johnson)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I am an Optimizer.”

“Wat do you mean?”

“‘Optimize‘ comes from the Latin ‘Optimus‘, which means ‘best’.

In one sense, it’s another name for Self-Actualization. I’m Optimizing myself and my life, with the purpose of discovering and living my highest potential.

In another sense, I regard it as an Art and a Game. I’m designing, refining and beautifying the systems of my life for the sheer joy of it.”

“Can you share one practical tool or insight, something that you regularly use?”

“Ask about any and all the systems of your life, while keeping in view the big picture at all times:

How can I optimize/beautify this?

You’re thus initiating a creative process.

Embrace and appreciate this process, and let it guide your steps.”