“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.
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.