How to Connect With Your Higher Self: 4 Transformative Tips

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 is your higher self’s purpose? How do you connect with your higher self?

According to Be Your Future Self Now by Benjamin Hardy, your higher self is the version of you that is living to your fullest potential. Even though reaching your higher self is challenging, Hardy provides four recommendations that will help you on your self-improvement journey.

Learn how to connect with your higher self with these four recommendations.

Recommendation #1: Clearly Identify Your Higher Self and How to Become Them

Hardy says the first step in learning how to connect to your higher self is to determine who you want to be. Imagine the happiest, smartest, most productive and successful version of yourself. Hardy emphasizes that your higher self must be based on what you desire most in life right now—not what society deems “successful” or what you think you should do. 

To make your vision even clearer, identify the big, life-changing goals that your higher self has accomplished—these are what you must attain. 

For example, imagine you’re an unemployed student who gets good grades and designs graphics in your free time. Your higher self is a renowned graphic designer who earned undergrad and graduate degrees, got stellar grades, has an impressive portfolio, has designed graphics for major companies, and has numerous contacts in the industry. These accomplishments are the goals you must achieve to become your higher self.

Principle #1: Identify Your Five-Year Priorities

Once you’ve identified your higher self and accomplishments, Hardy’s next step is to identify three goals to prioritize over the next five years that will help you start to become your higher self. They should be priorities that you can realistically achieve in five years: It might not be possible to entirely embody your higher self in this relatively short time, but you can at least make progress. After the five years are up, you can set new priorities to bring you even closer to becoming your higher self. 

For example, you might not be able to become a renowned graphic designer in five years based on your present circumstances, but you can make progress by getting your degrees with stellar grades and building an impressive portfolio. To accomplish this in five years, your top three priorities might be: (1) Complete your undergrad degree, (2) start a graduate program, and (3) begin freelance work designing logos for local businesses.

Principle #2: Identify Your 12-Month Goals

Next, Hardy notes, get more specific by setting 12-month goals for each of your three priorities along with clear “success” or “fail” conditions. This will ensure that you’re meeting the benchmarks necessary to accomplish your three priorities in five years. 

For example, your 12-month goals for your first priority, finishing your undergrad degree, might be to find a professor who can mentor you, make a plan for which courses you need to take, and get a minimum grade of a B in each class. These are clear-cut goals—you can easily identify whether you’ve achieved them, and as a result, how well you’re progressing toward becoming your higher self.

Recommendation #2: Prioritize Your Higher Self Daily

Next, Hardy argues that you should prioritize the actions that will move you toward becoming your higher self on a daily basis. This will ensure that you make consistent progress toward becoming your higher self and don’t get distracted by other urgent and important tasks, non-crucial activities, and instant gratification.

The following sections will explain how to prioritize your time and quit your unproductive behaviors.

Principle #1: Disregard Non-Crucial Activities

The first way to prioritize your higher self is to disregard non-crucial activities that don’t help you become your higher self. For example, painting your home won’t help you progress toward a higher self who’s a renowned graphic designer and will only detract from the time needed for your 12-month goals.

Principle #2: Schedule 12-Month Goals Before Other Urgent and Important Tasks

Next, Hardy recommends scheduling time each day to work toward your goals. Although your higher self is your top priority, you’ll likely have other urgent and important tasks to complete each day, such as doing your job. To balance your higher self and your present life effectively, schedule time each day to work toward your 12-month goals before you complete any other urgent and important tasks. 

For example, your higher self might be a graphic designer, but your present self still needs to carry out their sales job to make money. So, schedule an hour each morning to work on your graphic design portfolio before work to ensure that you’re progressing toward becoming your higher self every day despite other responsibilities.

Principle #3: Replace Instant Gratification With Beneficial Habits

Finally, replace bad habits that provide instant gratification with good habits that will move you toward your goals. For example, rather than engaging in instant gratification by playing video games, make it a habit to open your Goodreads app to check out different book cover designs. Swapping this for video games will give you insight into trends around book cover design, which will help you excel in your graphic design career later.

Recommendation #3: Seek Out Beneficial Environments

Next, Hardy recommends putting yourself in environments that will help you become your higher self. This is because we’re products of our environments—the situations we put ourselves in and the people we surround ourselves with impact who we are and what we achieve. 

As a result, Hardy says you should step out of your comfort zone and associate with people who are better than you are so you learn to overcome challenges and acquire the skills and habits necessary to progress toward becoming your higher self. The following sections will explain why these two recommendations are important and how to follow them.

Principle #1: Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

Hardy recommends stepping out of your comfort zone by doing things that your higher self would succeed at but your present self might not. This is crucial because, although you might fail, people make the most progress by learning from their failures. Failure forces you to confront your insufficiencies and identify how you can become stronger in those areas.

For example, imagine that your higher self is a professional graphic designer who designs images for major companies; however, your present self is regularly designing logos only for small, local businesses. Continuing to design logos for these small businesses won’t help you become your higher self because you’re simply practicing something you’re already good at—designing the types of logos that small, local businesses like. But applying to design graphics for larger businesses, even though you’re likely to be turned down at first, will teach you what they’re looking for and what you need to improve on.

Principle #2: Surround Yourself With People Who Are Better Than You

To surround yourself with people who are better than you, as Hardy recommends, look for people like your higher self; they’ll have achieved goals similar to yours, or at least be closer to achieving them than you are. Their habits and behaviors will compel you to emulate them and be more like your higher self. Further, they can give you advice and strategies to overcome obstacles you might face because they’ve already overcome similar obstacles.

Recommendation #4: Have an Empowering View of Life and Fate

Finally, Hardy argues that many people fail to become their higher selves because they have a disempowering view of life and fate. Specifically, they believe they lack autonomy over who they are and who they can become because of three factors:

  • Their past
  • Their current circumstances
  • An inability to control their fate

Let’s explore the roots of these three disempowering beliefs and the empowering beliefs to adopt instead.

Principle #1: Don’t Let Your Past Dictate Your Future

Hardy explains that many people falsely believe their traumas and past shape who they are and what their future holds. For example, if you got poor grades in art class as a child, you may believe that you lack the potential to become a graphic designer. However, Hardy argues that regardless of what happens in your life, you always have the power to choose what happens next

If you look at negative past experiences and believe they’ve limited your future, this will become your reality. However, if you tell yourself that your negative past experiences have helped you grow—for example, by teaching you an important lesson, reminding you what’s important in life, or redirecting you down a better path—this will become your reality. Adopting this perspective will empower you to overcome your doubts and keep striving for your goals.

So rather than letting your past control you, control your past by reframing the meaning and impact it has on your present life. Use it to propel you forward rather than hold you back.

Principle #2: Take Ownership of Your Circumstances and Ability to Change

While some people fixate on their past, others believe that their present circumstances are beyond their control and are limiting their ability to change. For example, if you don’t currently have the skills to be a professional graphic designer, you may feel like you’ll never be able to do so. 

However, Hardy argues that, as with your past experiences, it’s your responsibility to determine how your current circumstances impact you and to acknowledge your potential and opportunities for growth despite them. To do so, find at least one way in which any given event can benefit you. For example, being turned down for a graphic design gig is a perfect way for you to identify which skills you need to improve on to become a better graphic designer. Further, if you don’t like your present circumstances, identify actions you can take to change them.

Hardy contends that adopting a growth mindset is crucial for taking ownership of your circumstances and ability to change. A growth mindset is the belief that you can improve your present state through hard work and determination. Hardy recommends adopting this mindset by identifying the differences between your past and present self and the anticipated differences between your present and higher self. This will help you recognize that, as your past self has learned and grown into your more knowledgeable present self, your present self can similarly learn and grow into your higher self.

Principle #3: Believe That You’re the Creator of Your Own Fate

Many people believe a higher power controls our fate; therefore, no matter what we do, our outcome will always be the same. Others believe that a higher power created us and that we’re inferior beings with no true purpose. Hardy explains that both of these perspectives take autonomy away from us and prevent us from reaching our full potential.

Instead, Hardy suggests we think of ourselves as children of a higher power—we’re just a less advanced version of our creator. As such, our purpose as humans is to learn and grow over time and across generations until we reach the level of this higher power. Hardy asserts that our purpose under this framework is to achieve fulfillment—to do what we most desire and become the highest version of ourselves. With this belief, we can feel empowered to take control of our lives and choose our fate.

Finally, Hardy says to adopt a firm belief that you will become your higher self—that this is your fate—and express gratitude for being this person. When you know that becoming your higher self is a definite outcome (your fate), your actions will match that perceived reality—you’ll be more confident and more likely to do what’s necessary to achieve your goals without fear of failure. Further, expressing gratitude for things you don’t yet have as if you already have them reinforces your belief in yourself.

How to Connect With Your Higher Self: 4 Transformative Tips

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Here's what you'll find in our full Be Your Future Self Now summary:

  • Why everyone must try to live up to their full potential
  • How to identify your potential and the goals that will help you reach it
  • 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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