How to Become the Person You Want to Be

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself" by Joe Dispenza. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Are you the best version of yourself? If not, what’s stopping you? How do you shed your self-imposed limitations and become the person you want to be?

To become who you want to be, you have to make positive changes in the way you feel and think on a moment-to-moment basis, and then make those new thoughts and feelings a habit. Through the power of neuroplasticity and epigenetics, these changes will become permanent and physically ingrained in you.

With this in mind, here’s how to become the person you want to be.

How Do You Change “You”?

In his book Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, Joe Dispenza explains how to become the person you want to be. To change who you are, says Dispenza, you have to break your old emotional and thought habits and form new ones that are in line with who you want to be. This requires changing the way you think and feel. Through the power of neuroplasticity, these changes will become permanent in your brain.

According to Dispenza, when an emotion lasts more than a few hours, it becomes a mood. When it lasts more than a few days, it becomes a temperament. When it lasts years, it becomes a personality trait. Replacing a negative personality trait with a positive one, then, requires changing the emotions that eventually build to that trait. 

Quantum Entanglement: Change Your Past and Future by Changing Your Present

According to Dispenza, changing your self and manifesting what you want is a matter of quantum physics. Quantum physics is the study of physical properties of matter at the quantum—or atomic and subatomic—level.

The principles of quantum entanglement demonstrate that everything is connected. All matter is made up of atoms, which are made up of subatomic particles like nuclei and electrons. When two particles become entangled, whatever is done to one particle is done to the other no matter how far apart they are in space. 

Dispenza suggests that the same entanglement principles apply to time, and that doing something in the present can affect our past. He describes a study in which participants were instructed to pray for a group of patients who were suffering from sepsis, alongside a control group of sepsis patients who were not prayed for. The study saw greater improvements in the outcomes for the prayed-for group, but the twist is that the patients in the study weren’t currently being treated for sepsis but instead had been treated four to ten years prior. Dispenza presents this as proof that the way we think and behave in the present can literally change our past.

So the actions you take now determine your past and future, but you must choose what past and future you want for yourself. An electron orbiting in an electron cloud represents an infinite number of possible locations and, until observed, exists only as potential. Since all physical matter is made up of these subatomic particles that make up atoms, Dispenza says all of our reality is made up of potential—of past, present, and future realities that simultaneously exist and don’t exist. It is up to us to observe and select that potential option to achieve an experience.

Though you can choose an experience you want you can’t control how that experience comes to be. According to Dispenza, you manifest the “what” and let quantum mechanics take care of the “how.” If your goal is to be happily married with a career you love, you can focus your intention on achieving those things, but how you achieve them will be up to the universe. Stay focused on that goal and don’t get bogged down in the details of how it will happen. If you align your thoughts, feelings, and habits to manifest what you want, it will come to you like magic, usually in a way you could have never seen coming. 

How to Become the Person You Want to Be

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Here's what you'll find in our full Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself summary:

  • How your habits are keeping you from growing
  • How to unlearn your harmful habits to create a new you
  • A four-step meditative practice to help you learn new habits

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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