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The Highlander Identity
Establishing Healthy Identities
Highlander is the identity that stands in defiance to age at every age.
Identity is the most powerful tool we have to shape behavior. When you assume some identity, the identity requires action to validate it. If you think of yourself as an athlete, you have to train for a sport. The athlete who doesn’t train or compete loses the identity. Others won’t consider him an athlete, and eventually he won’t consider himself an athlete either.
The action associated with validating an identity is the cost of owning an identity.
It’s no accident that most popular health programs are identities in and of themselves: Carnivore, Vegan, Keto, Crossfit, Paleo, Primal. They are religions with rules to adherence that demand commitment. Any health program that cannot be an made an identity is inherently flawed.
That’s why this is the Highlander, not just another longevity blog. Training for longevity isn’t an identity. There’s not a global term for it. It’s not a religion. It’s boring.
The Highlander lives by the rules of the Highlands. He trains with the Highlander Program which outlines the minimum action required to pay the cost of being a Highlander. He strives to meet the Highlander Standard sets the goals for maintaining the identity, which require constant training. To be a Highlander, you must make it your identity.
Identity vs Habit
It takes several weeks to form a new habit. When you do something consistently enough, eventually it becomes routine. The problem happens when routine is inevitably interrupted. That’s when habits are challenged and often fail. Miss a few days at the gym, fall off your diet, the habit has to start over again.
That’s why people who try to create a fitness habit or a longevity habit are destined to be tourists. They won’t last long.
Identities are formed in a different manner. The moment you commit to an identity, it’s yours.
I just committed to doing a bodybuilding show in April 2023 and hired a coach. I’ve never trained for bodybuilding before, but I’m a bodybuilder now. What else would you call someone who’s prepping for a bodybuilding show with a coach?
As a byproduct of this commitment, I have to train like a bodybuilder. I have to eat like a bodybuilder. And I will.
Committing to an identity solves the inherent weakness of habitual commitment. When the actions required by an identity are consistently interrupted, one is forced to either give up the identity or recommit to action. When habits are consistently interrupted, they are easily abandoned in favor of new habits or, in many cases, in favor of the actions required of chosen identities.
Kill Bad Identities and Replace with Good Ones
The power of identity means we must be careful to kill bad identities we may embrace, even minor ones.
We all have certain negative narratives we tell about ourselves. We’re bad at this. We don’t know how to do that. Recognizing weaknesses is fine. Making weaknesses an identity is not.
The worst ways some of us extend these weaknesses is to create narratives around them that paint us as victims. I used to say that I wasn’t born to be strong. I still sometimes slip. That’s a useless narrative.
For others, the narrative might be I’m fat, I’m lazy, I’m whatever. Don’t just intentionally create good identities for yourself. Kill bad ones too.
Your Three Word Identity
You should be able to describe your self identity in three words. More than three identities, and you’re trying to do too many things. The identities are the things you’re committing to being known for and taking persistent action to realize. There may be important things in your life that aren’t part of your identity. Your identities will also change over time.
My three identities now are Highlander, Bodybuilder, and Investment Business Builder.
I life according to Highlander principles as I try to exceed all of the Highlander Standards. I’m now training to do a bodybuilding show as a new challenge. And I’ve been building an investment firm for more than five years. I want to make it a large, successful, and sustainable organization.
What are your three identities? I hope you make one Highlander.
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