The Benefits of Connecting With Your Higher Self

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Be Your Future Self Now" by Benjamin Hardy. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What are the benefits of connecting with your higher self? What is the most crucial element for success?

Your higher self is the person you aspire to be. According to Benjamin Hardy’s book Be Your Future Self Now, when you stay in touch with your higher self you become a more productive person with ambition and drive.

Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of connecting with your higher self.

The Importance of Your Higher Self

Hardy argues that one of the benefits of connecting with your higher self is that it’s the true measure of success in life. To attain this goal, all of your present actions must move you toward becoming your higher self in some way, big or small. As a result, it’s crucial to identify your higher self as soon as possible because your goals and desires for the future drive your present actions.

Furthermore, if you have a clear, ambitious vision of the person you want to become, you’ll take productive actions in the present that will benefit you over time and move you toward becoming that self. By contrast, if you lack a clear, ambitious vision of your higher self, you won’t reap the benefits of connecting with your higher self: you’ll take unproductive present actions that will harm you over time and prevent you from reaching your fullest potential.

Self-Discipline: The Crucial Element for Success

In The Power of Discipline, Daniel Walter reiterates that success is defined by your ability to attain your goals and reach your full potential. And like Hardy, he believes that having clear goals and a detailed vision of your desires is crucial for success—this element of the equation allows you to create a structured plan of action that will guide your daily behavior and help you achieve your full potential. However, Walter argues that there’s a third crucial element in the formula for success that Hardy doesn’t discuss: self-discipline.

Walter explains that self-discipline is crucial because we tend to opt for instant gratification (unproductive behaviors) over long-term rewards (productive behaviors). This means that even if you have a clear vision of your goals and the actions you must take to achieve them, your brain will still urge you to engage in unproductive behaviors. The only way to fight these urges and take the action necessary to achieve success is to develop strong self-discipline. We’ll elaborate on Walter’s argument and how to develop self-discipline in later commentary.

When You Lack a Clear Vision, You Become Unproductive

Hardy explains that lacking a clear, ambitious vision of your higher self causes two main types of unproductive behaviors that prevent you from reaching your full potential: engaging in instant gratification and non-crucial activities.

(Shortform note: The urge to engage in unproductive behaviors like instant gratification and non-crucial activities isn’t the only downside of lacking clear goals. Psychologists explain that setting ambiguous goals is linked to depression. People who are depressed are more likely to set ambiguous goals, which makes them more likely to fail and consequently worsens their depression. Essentially, a lack of clear goals can lead to depression and vice versa.)

Instant gratification is when we choose to do things that are enjoyable in the moment but have no long-term benefit or a negative long-term effect. For example, playing video games instead of working on becoming a professional graphic designer (your higher self) might be enjoyable now, but will be detrimental in the long term by detracting from the time you should spend on practicing graphic design. 

(Shortform note: While Hardy explains that the urge to give into instant gratification is increased when you lack clear goals, experts explain that there’s a deeper, biological reason why we crave instant gratification. Giving in to instant gratification was initially an evolutionary advantage because resources like food were scarce—so, for example, eating as much as we could while food was available gave us the best chance for survival because no one knew when the next meal would be. Consequently, psychologists argue that we’re predisposed to give into instant gratification because of our biological tendency to seek pleasure (instant gratification) and avoid pain (delayed gratification)—this is called instant gratification theory.)

Non-crucial activities feel rewarding (often temporarily), but don’t move us toward becoming our higher selves. Hardy says we tend to engage in these behaviors when we either lack a future goal or haven’t fully committed to one yet—they feel good because they give us a sense of accomplishment, but they’re really just taking up time that we should be dedicating toward becoming our higher selves.

For example, instead of focusing on beneficial activities and big goals that will help you become your higher self, like taking a graphic design class and designing logos for local businesses, you might focus on non-crucial activities and goals, like improving your chess skills and painting your house.

(Shortform note: In The Power of Discipline, Daniel Walter explains that engaging in non-crucial activities is a common form of procrastination, and that one of the most common forms of procrastination (non-crucial activity) that people fall victim to is over-planning. This is because planning out a goal makes you feel like you’re making progress, when in reality, your progress doesn’t start until you execute that plan. Further, the longer you plan, the less likely you are to actually start executing. To overcome this procrastination trap, Walter recommends executing your plans when you’re 70% sure you’ll succeed—perfection doesn’t exist, so if you aim for a perfect plan, you’ll never get anywhere.)

The Benefits of Connecting With Your Higher Self

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  • Why everyone must try to live up to their full potential
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  • Recommendations on how to become your highest self

Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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