Have – Do – Be

“In order to have, first you must Do. In order to do, first you must Be”.

This concept comes from the Mastery Keys system; a program released in that served as the inspiration for both Think and Grow Rich and The Secret, which was thrust into fame by Oprah back in 2006 . The program was released as a book and was meant to be studied over 6 weeks, with each lesson being focused on for a full week. Original copies of the book are difficult to find but if interested you can find the course for free online here.

I first heard of the program during a Tim Ferriss interview of ex-NFL player, actor, and artist, Terry Crews. Crews, a self-proclaimed self-help book junkie, said that it is the book that he has gifted the most, all because of that concept.

“If you want to have, first you must Do. In order to do, first you must Be.”

There is a lot to unpack in this simple phrase.  If you want to Have something – be that money, success, fitness – you must Do the work consistently to achieve those aims.  But before you will Do the needful you must first become that person.  You must Be the change.  When you reach that point mentally then the rest falls into place naturally.  You’ve already won.

An example of this is quitting smoking.  Many people, myself included, have struggled with quitting.  Dates are set, or you swear this will be the last pack, yet you end up buying another.  The actual quitting doesn’t occur until you finally decide to Be a non-smoker.  Once that switch flips mentally you begin to Do what a non-smoker does until you Have the clear lungs and fresh breath that you wanted all along.

The example Crews gives on the podcast is another good one.  Early in his career he wanted to Have it all.  He wanted to be rich.  One day he decided “I already AM rich.  So what would a rich person Do?”.  His demeanor changed and his actions began to reflect that change.  By accumulating those actions consistently over time eventually he had what he wanted.

This is sort of like the act-as-if principle; also known as “fake it til you make it”.  If you act as if you’ve already achieved what you want to achieve your actions will be more congruent with that goal.  But I feel that this only brushes the surface.  You need to become your goal.  Once that happens then it is already reached.  Very zen.

Writing is a great example of this.  They say that writers hate writing, but love having written.  They dislike the Do, but love the Have.  But to Be a writer is to write.  Self-identifying as a writer is the first step to doing what writers do.  The more you write the more you reinforce that you Are a writer.  It is a self-fulfilling loop.  Eventually you look up and realize that you Have what you were looking for.  All because you decided to Be a writer.

An Exercise

What is something that want?  Something that is important but that you have ignored or self-defeated against?  It could be to lose weight, write a book, or finish school.  Let’s use fitness as an example.

In order to Have fitness you must Do things that make you fit – primarily eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep.  Like most things in life we already know what to do; the problem is doing it.  You already know that waking up 30 minutes early to workout, followed by three healthy meals in a day, then bed at a reasonable hour is a great start.

Next, say to yourself “I am fit” and Do the things that a fit person would do.  Lay out your workout clothes, set your alarm, and go to bed.  Wake up the next day, put on your gear, and work out.  Eat right and say to yourself “I don’t eat garbage” because fit people don’t.  Repeat this process daily, thereby reinforcing that you truly ARE fit.

It is really as simple as that.  You just need to shift your perspective so that you are looking at the challenge from a different angle.

Be The Change

When you get into a bind, ask yourself “What would a rich/fit/artistic person do?”.  Then do that.  Until you start self-identifying as what you wish to become, no change will stick.  You need to Be in order to Do consistently.  The Have will surely follow.



You may have noticed a distinct lack of posts over the previous month.  The fact is that I have been extremely busy with work; many late nights and early mornings.  The little free time remaining then goes to my family and marathon training.  The hierarchy of priorities in practice.

While I’m a little disappointed that I won’t reach my goal of posting every week this year, I am happy to have been able to write as much as I have, and to have had such a great response.

This time off has given me time to examine what I am trying to accomplish here.  The website has been a great outlet for me however I have decided that I am going to take a step back. I’m not going to stop posting entirely; just posting less.

I have a couple of projects lined up for the new year that I probably would have started already had I not been working to meet my publishing schedule.  The weekly practice has been excellent but it is time to create something… bigger.

Thank you everyone for reading and your support.  While I will be posting less it is in favor of bigger and better things.  And when those are ready you will all be the first to know.

Finish What You Start

Commitments are important.  To others for sure, but especially to yourself.

Sometimes life gets in the way of your commitments and your practice falls by the wayside.  When this happens, and it will happen, it is important to start again as soon as possible.  Get back into the gym, pick up the pen, climb back onto that horse.  The negative momentum builds quickly so it is vital to not allow it too much of a grip.  This can only be accomplished by dusting yourself off and taking a step forward.

A slipup in your practice is also an indicator for you to stop and evaluate your commitment.  Why did it slip?  Why has your enthusiasm waned?  Have you overcommitted yourself?  Lost interest?

Taiichi Ohno of Toyota developed the 5 Why’s method in the 1950’s which, in essence, is to question something again and again like a child until the root of the issue is found.  If you have lost interest, why have you lost interest?  Because it seems to take up all of your limited spare time?  Why is that?  You are sleeping later?  Why?  Because you are spending more time with someone and not getting to bed at the same time as before?  Keep going until the true reason appears and then work to fix that.

Once a commitment is made it is important to see it through, no matter how justified you feel the reason for quitting.  It helps if the commitment has a predetermined end date, or desired end state.  This helps to set the stakes and to gauge where it falls in your chain of priorities.  One year is a great place to start for a serious commitment.  You can test the waters with something once a week for a month, something else for a semester.  Your greatest commitments – marriage and children – will be for the rest of your life.

Whatever you have committed to, make sure to fulfill your end of the bargain.  Show up every day and get the work done.  Be mindful about what and how much you commit to as it will affect how much time you have for your other commitments and your free time.

Don’t commit lightly, but when you do, finish what you started.