Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit.” To possess any desirable character trait, you must start acting and thinking as if you already have it. When your thoughts and actions align with your ideals, you will skyrocket your belief in yourself.

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March 4, 2017

If excellence is important to you, pay incredibly close attention to this quote.

Because—if you put this quote into practice—any character trait you wish to possess is within your reach.

The great psychologist, William James, said, “If you want a quality, first act as if you already had it.”

Your self beliefs have a huge effect on your thoughts and actions. However, your actions also have a huge effect on your self beliefs.

Therefore—by drastically changing our actions—you can drastically change your beliefs.


“The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can change the outer aspects of their lives, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds.” - William James

That is to say—to be confident—you must start acting and thinking like a confident person.

To be productive, you must start acting and thinking like a go-getter.

When your actions and thoughts align with how you want to see yourself, you will begin to believe you are that person. Your subconscious mind will automatically assume that since you are behaving a certain way, you must be that type of person.

"As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives." - Henry David Thoreau

With repetition, as Aristotle suggests, you can live at your highest standard and begin to produce excellent results.

To expand on this topic, this video will illustrate how aligning your beliefs, your actions, and your ideals will help you to make consistent progress and build self-esteem.

How to Build Self-Esteem and Become Your Ideal Self

Post Information
Title Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit.” To possess any desirable character trait, you must start acting and thinking as if you already have it. When your thoughts and actions align with your ideals, you will skyrocket your belief in yourself.
Author KingWilliamKent
Upvotes 1439
Comments 64
Date 04 March 2017 03:52 PM UTC (4 years ago)
Subreddit TheRedPill
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[–]YoureAGoodGuyy171 points172 points  (44 children) | Copy

I've read so many of these quotes, so many of these books, listened to so much good advice and yet I still slump. I have so many resources, and could argue I know what I need to do, yet I don't. I'm dominated by ups and downs and always end up thinking what's the point. One minute I'm all about it and the next I'm just like, whatever. I'm saying this because I'm frustrated and these quotes are beginning to have the opposite effect on me.

[–]OneWonder points points [recovered] | Copy

In the Alpha Male 2.0 Blackdragon says that any change will face what he calls the Happiness Change curve. For you to live a happier life you will have to face a huge curve of unhappiness first before it spikes and leave you happier than where you started. Take lifting for example, your first couple months are going to be painful but soon you will overcome your unhappiness and will be left off in a much better position. This applies to any aspects of your life from business to pick up.

[–]curiously_crazy18 points19 points  (0 children) | Copy

It's the same with anything new really.

Both when I was learning to fly and when I was learning guitar (still learning) It was an almost constant case of feeling useless at it but then gaining 2 steps before going back 1. Rinse and repeat.

[–]YoureAGoodGuyy points points [recovered] | Copy

So the other to happiness is through suffering?

[–]Max_smoke19 points20 points  (5 children) | Copy

I struggle with this too. Maybe we're not mad at your situation enough? When I get reminded about how comfortable I am in my shitty life (fitness, work, life satisfaction) it's like a switch is flipped and I'm killing it for a few days. Then it tapers off after a few and I'm back where I'm at.

Maybe all it takes is a reminder. I don't know.

[–][deleted] 25 points26 points  (2 children) | Copy

You need a social circle. You won't feel rewarded for making changes or improvements unless you have people who care about you and notice.

Some people are all internal. Obviously that is the goal. But get some support on the way.

I could not fix myself til I had a good circle of friends. Then it stopped being something I did consciously and came naturally.

[–]SpeakerToRedditors points points [recovered] | Copy

This must be why people who do CrossFit tell everyone hey do CrossFit

[–]cappingPeople2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

You should do Crossfit. Just saying...

[–]YoureAGoodGuyy4 points5 points  (0 children) | Copy

I remind myself all the time which is probably part of the problem. Another part is perspective. Someone else viewing our lives from the outside would be baffled we aren't content.

[–]redrogue122 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

I've found that having someone hold you accountable (like a mentor or a friend) is effective as well as having a big visual way to remind you not to slack off, like a big calendar with big red Xs on the days you completed your daily goals and blank where you didn't. Ultimately plan time to slack off and do nothing without guilt

[–]ZippyTheSpaceMonkey18 points19 points  (3 children) | Copy

Check out Awaken The Giant Within, particularly the chapters on pain and pleasure and Neuro-Associative Conditioning. If you associate enough pain and disgust, you can change any behaviour.

[–]KingWilliamKent[S] 35 points36 points  (2 children) | Copy

Second. Your mind is always doing what it believes is best for you. Sometimes, you have undesirable thinking patterns and belief systems because your subconscious mind truly believes those predispositions are protecting you.

For example, maybe you believe you are a procrastinator because that allows you to avoid working towards your goals and risking failure.

Or maybe you are uninspired by these quotes, because you have been inspired in the past and have been let down.

I have been through exactly what you are experiencing. I have been studying personal development and the subconscious mind since I was like twelve years old. After years of absorbing this shit and still not feeling any better, I started to wonder if there was really an answer. Or worse... if there was, would I just overthink my way out of it?

After years of reading and watching stuff like this and failing to see lasting results, you start to become numb to those motivational highs. And it really makes you wonder if it's all BS.

It's not. It is whatever you want it to be. It is whatever you believe it to be. Those motivational highs you have experienced in the past can just as easily be experienced again in the now. In fact, in a way, you must experience them again now, to know that you have experienced them in the past. Feel into it. Don't think your way out of it.

Start to tell your mind how you want it to react. Give it clear instructions. I backlinked to video that I think will help you to do that. This exercise is largely the reason why I feel empowered by content like this again.

Remember, you will always have highs and lows. Duality is a part of life. But don't think that the lows are a sign this stuff isn't working. They are natural. If you believe that you will strip them of their power. You will convince your mind that the answer isn't already within you.

You don't want that belief. With that belief, you will always be searching. Look within to identify your patterns, and convince yourself to change them, because if you don't they will cause you pain.

"Look within. Within is the fountain of good. It will bubble up if you dig." - Marcus Aurelius

[–]aDrunkenWhaler4 points5 points  (1 child) | Copy

Hey man, good luck with your chanel. Good info and insights, so keep that up. My suggestion, you need to work more on your delivery. If you give tips on confidence, you need to walk the walk. It's hard to gain people's trust and ear when you look weak and have a high pitch voice, no matter what you are saying. Almost impossible in real life, let alone on youtube. It's like getting investment advice from a homeless.

What I believe you should do:

  1. Start lifting. Seriously.
  2. Deepen your voice. Start talking from your diapraghm. Do breathing and voice exercises. Have a clear deeper and sharper tonal ending to phrases. Don't make every thing sound like a hippy 'like, yeeaah, wow...'. Imagine how a CEO or navy seal would talk.
  3. Watch Jocko podcast and emulate his voice. He's a navy seal. When you hear him talk, you listen. See Elliot Huse, Tim Ferris, Buffet, Elon musk(he stutters but still has a deep voice and confident delivery)
  4. Practice.

Keep grinding.

[–]1OneRedYear1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

This is good advice OP. You look and sound nervous and afraid. You can feel nervous and afraid on camera, but you can't LOOK and SOUND nervous and afraid. Fake it until you make it.

[–]C-dubb5111 points12 points  (1 child) | Copy

Get a job at a bar man and work the weekends. I've worked door at a bar in a college town for the past 6 months. It's been incredible for my personal growth. Very quickly you become comfortable with confrontation and how to diffuse a situation. Telling a drunk guy with all his friends behind him that they can't come in because they're too drunk is a daily occurrence. After doing that a few times, other scenarios of confrontation (standing up to a friend or telling someone no) become easier and easier. It's taught me not to give a fuck about what others think of me. The only opinion that matters is mine.

I must mention in addition to going out and meeting new people on my nights off, I try to spend time by myself. Mostly when I hit the gym but, smoking a bowl and playing video games alone after the gym is great medication. Yeah some on here might argue that video games are unproductive but, in my opinion they can help you unwind. It's somewhat like meditation for me but I digress.

I still have slumps man but I've found that I'm more capable of riding through them and picking myself back up. When it comes to girls I haven't given them a second thought. I've met plenty of chicks man but you see first hand how they act when you work at a bar. It really opens your eyes to the tendencies of both men and women when they're trying to get laid. It's better to be true to yourself than to try and be something you're not. People in general recognize others who are genuine.

Strive to be better than who you were yesterday. It's cliche but it's true. When you see some jacked dude in the gym bench 315 easily and you're benching 185 and struggling...don't think "I wish I was like him" or "girls would choose him over me" dude I used to do that all the time. It put me in a shit mood and affected my lift. When I see that shit now I think "props to that guy...what steps can I take to get there?" It takes practice mate...I have to actively think that way.

What I'm trying to say if by maintaining a balance of personal time and going out and meeting new people, my confidence has skyrocketed.

But you must self reflect when you're alone. Seriously think about what you like, what you want out of life, and who you are. Call yourself on your bullshit. Other people will always call you out on bullshit so don't exempt yourself from that. I've caught myself being a hypocrite at times when I thought I was being true to myself.

All in all this has helped me love myself. When you're friends with yourself, doors begin to open that you had no clue were there. Give it a shot if you haven't already and see if it works for you. Wishing you well mate.

TL;DR: having a balance between being social and self reflection has improved my confidence and allowed me to be true to myself.

[–]GenghisKhanSpermShot13 points14 points  (12 children) | Copy

You could have depression and not know it.

[–]YoureAGoodGuyy16 points17 points  (11 children) | Copy

I'm pretty aware I'm depressed lol

[–]GenghisKhanSpermShot10 points11 points  (9 children) | Copy

That's good you realized it, I didn't know I was, thought I was just lazy and unmotivated.

[–]1htbf1 point2 points  (5 children) | Copy

What happened once you found out ?

[–]GenghisKhanSpermShot4 points5 points  (3 children) | Copy

I started self help, nofap, eating better and stopped watching too much TV or playing games. Not for everyone, but I'm sooo much happier and positive now. Not easy but worth it.

[–]YoureAGoodGuyy1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

I just had the best donuts. Definitely not easy

[–]porwegiannussy0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Your username is fucking great, love it

[–]misterwhippy0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

I'd like to second htbf's question

[–]GenghisKhanSpermShot1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

Like I replied to the other guy I started self help, nofap, eating better and stopped watching too much TV or playing games. Not for everyone, but I'm sooo much happier and positive now. Not easy but worth it.

[–][deleted] 4 points5 points  (0 children) | Copy

You need a social circle. You won't feel rewarded for making changes or improvements unless you have people who care about you and notice.

Some people are all internal. Obviously that is the goal. But get some support on the way.

[–]SanJustSan2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

The Chimp Paradox is a good book that explains the phenomenon quite well.

The theme is that everyone's brain is made up of three distinct parts, and the part that's lazy and emotional is referred to as the "chimp"...the book suggests ways of talking to yourself/other techniques to help "tame that chimp" and progress with doing whatever it is you want to do.

It's a good read.

[–]Kalidane1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy

Perhaps when you are in a slump, you are projecting that state into the future. This leads to inaction and perpetuating the slump. The projection is becoming reality. Next you feel powerless to improve your situation (perhaps involving one or two failed steps). You no longer have agency, only hopelessness. Welcome to depression.

A trick is to learn to zoom out. View yourself, your thoughts and feelings in the third person. Observe the shitty feeling and understand that the feeling is causing you to think a certain way. It isn't really you, it's just a natural wired response.

I recently had to deal with 6-8 things and spent weeks doing nothing about it. Too hard and my mind was full of all these tasks and steps to resolve. So I wrote the things down. The re-wrote them in the order they had to be resolved. Now I had one task to focus on. Mind was so much clearer and it was simple to take care of it all. There are other valid approaches, but in this situation this was the easy way to solve a set of problems.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Holy shit that described the past 2 years for me pretty damn well lol

[–]roeddit points points [recovered] | Copy

Yeah, that stuff is mostly a load of shit. Change comes from taking action, not from reading books. You can remind yourself of quotes, but you won't internalize them unless you NEED to.

Unless a quote/advice can map to a behavior that you can do every single day, nothing will change.

[–]Shaman66240 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

It's because making a conscious effort to change takes a lot of effort. Each time you get some inspiration and you feel elated because you think about good things then you begin to try and make them a reality but your mind is like wow that seems like a lot of trouble and then it activates the pathway which you created for yourself to absolve yourself of responsibility, the "I'm thinking what is the point" path.

See your mind as a bus, you are the driver but there are also passengers in the back and each of them is shouting to you to go another way. Only you know what is best for you though. So what do you do? You keep listening to a passenger that's shouting "hey what's the point lets just stop and stare out of the window".

You are ultimately responsible for what you do and what you don't do. These quotes and self help in general can show you the hows but it still takes considerable effort and willpower applied over time to make any kind of change.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Hey man, I'm pretty new to Reddit, and this is kinda long and I hope you read it. I wanted to say I was in a very similar situation to you for the past 3 years. About 5 months ago I finally met with a psychiatrist who suggested I might be depressed and prescribed some zoloft. It took about 3 months for me to notice a difference, and I'm off it now, but I'm much more confident and don't fuck up my ambitions like I used to. I'm turning 21 soon and I can't wait to show my parents how much I've grown, couldn't be happier. So see if it may work for you. Also, years ago my uncle gave me this book called How to Win Friends and Influence People, and my depressed ass never read it. I read through it about a month ago and it was amazing, changed my perspective on many things regarding self growth and human interaction. Do your best to work out too, at the very least force a 10 min jog in the morning. It will improve your mood the rest of the day. Keep your head up bro, there's people out there rooting for you.

[–][deleted] -1 points0 points  (0 children) | Copy

It sounds like somebody has a porn addition

[–]Xavhorn-1 points0 points  (0 children) | Copy

You need modafinil. It's like the real life version of NZT from the movie "Limitless". All your motivational issues will be gone.

[–]gistaminute18 points19 points  (3 children) | Copy

This also works in reverse and can be hard to combat when people are projecting a false image onto you. Took a new job where the boss treats me like a piece of shit after a career of having my ass kissed as a young prodigy... over 30 now so I've lost all magical ability in the world's eyes, despite being leaner and meaner than ever. He treats me like I'm untrustworthy and capable of nothing and I have to consciously and constantly reinforce the opposite idea in myself with the rest of my time... the natural mindset has surely been taken, need a new job but I can hardly talk well of myself anymore. I find myself doing shittier and shittier work as I don't give any fucks. My career is also my passion so having my passion called a piece of shit constantly is more draining than if it were a normal job where I didn't care. I need to quit pretty soon but my resume also looks shitty and it's pretty clear he won't give me a good reference. Pretty personal / wall of text but I think it's on topic.

To counter being treated like a piece of shit I remind myself that I have great people in my network who wouldn't be around if I was a piece of shit. I review my 20 years of open source work. Sounds dramatic if you've got a family and support system in place, but I'm in a city thousands of miles from my family and friends and they don't really sympathize because they are from a far less competitive midwestern city and just think I should go home if it sucks so bad... that isn't happening. Also "kill 'em with kindness" is kind of a mantra... stay positive and continually do good work. When I quit they'll at least have nothing substantially negative to say... my nature is to rebel so it's kinda hard to suppress all the time. Self-reliance is the ultimate key, everything else will eventually chip away at you.

[–]1OneRedYear31 points32 points  (2 children) | Copy

You need to either find a new job or become Machiavellian and destroy your enemies. I got shat on for the last two years by my younger, more incompetent boss. I got sick of it. Decided to get even. So I played the perfect courtier while using every dirty trick in the 48 laws of power to secretly undermine him. He's on meds for anxiety now and leans on my wisdom to help get things done. I recently got a promotion and a raise. Fuck him and fuck that company. They will replace me tomorrow if I die or quit. They deserve nothing from me but my work in exchange for their money. I do my job. But I refuse to let them treat me like crap. I fight back covertly. It's a fun game which helps pass the time.

[–]gistaminute0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

I'm with ya bro, on my way out... 2mo saved up sofar with $1k for self-investment and reading 48 laws like scripture. Thanks man. Market's warming up again, it was basically holiday freeze as industry standard is to basically wrap up the year right when I needed a job and was out of cash. All is well.

edit: sounds like maybe you'll benefit or be entertained from my twitter... it's me doing just that: hoteng ca (no space, for index avoidance)

[–]Flaming_DragonMan14 points15 points  (2 children) | Copy

As many of you have figured out, discipline is a much more reliable force than either motivation or inspiration. If you're constantly waiting for inspiration or motivation you'll never get anything substantial done. You might begin a project but never see it through to its completion.

Another example of what Aristotle is talking about here could be related to your gym habits; viz. it's probably better to be disciplined and work out an hour a day 6-7 days a week than to have a 2 hour workout once or twice a week. You get a strong body through a constant, disciplined, long-term grind, not through a few hard workouts here and there.

[–]rashnull2 points3 points  (1 child) | Copy

3 or 4 times a week is good enough assuming you're working out smart and pushing yourself. With 7 days you're messing with your recovery and gainz!

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

Nah. I've been weight training / body building for 20 years. You can and should workout every day. It takes a bit to work up to it, but you should be working muscle groups 3 x a week, unless you want to wait 5-7 years to achieve your fitness goals. 7 days a week is a MUCH better discipline. And it should be the first thing you do when you wake up.

[–]TheRedThrowAwayPill23 points24 points  (1 child) | Copy

TL;DR: "Fake it 'til you make it"

[–]dmystery20 points21 points  (0 children) | Copy

You just TL;DR'd a best-selling DVD/Book self-help series called the "The Secret" that sold over 19 million copies. The basis was exactly this.

[–]mansmanifesto19 points20 points  (1 child) | Copy

I implore everyone to read Think And Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill, if you haven't already.

Everything that you are taking about, KingWilliamKent, is detailed in this marvelous book.

You can find the first edition which is in the public domain for free online.

Cheers, mansmanifesto

[–][deleted] 8 points9 points  (0 children) | Copy

Benjamin Franklins 13 virtues is a good read.

[–][deleted] 5 points6 points  (0 children) | Copy

"We are what we pretend to be"

Kurt Vonnegut from Mother Night

[–]stoicgorilla5 points6 points  (0 children) | Copy

Posts and comments like these show the value of this community. I too struggle with transforming knowledge into consistent action. It is easy to allow others priorities to usurp your own if you aren't diligent. Thanks to OP for the reminder. Acta non Verba!

[–]Bastcydon2 points3 points  (1 child) | Copy

I've been dabbling in the occult for the past 7 years and I've been taking this stuff to heart, I've done very well for myself living the person I thought I wanted to be.

I'm only happy doing what I did before I made steps to change myself.

Only now I've grown so far past my friends I can't relate to anyone and have a good time.

This shit works but don't go into it willy nilly have some kinda plan and keep friends and family close because they all kinda fade on your quest for greatness.

[–]dCLIFFb0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Can you give me a small summary of what the Occult is? I've been seeing that name pop up recently on various subreddits and YouTube and can't really find a solid description of what it really is.

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

Ancient Greeks had skyrockets?

[–]1ozaku72 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

I want to add that people often are more capable of than they believe, and you can only prove yourself wrong if you just give it your best and try it. It's easy to say "I can't do it and be content", and it's difficult to say "I will give it my best to see what I'm capable of" and be surprised by how far you have exceeded your own expectations. Just a year ago I didn't think I could rebuild a brake caliper and now I've rebuilt an entire engine which is up and running. I slid aside all the risks and just fucking went for it with pride.

Prove yourself wrong, prove yourself you can do better than you believe, and otherwise prove yourself you were right all along, but that will only count if you give it all you've got.

Might hurt my credibility, but here goes:

[–]2guys1canoe points points [recovered] | Copy

Ummm... skyrocket....seems like a word that didn't exist then.

[–][deleted] 5 points6 points  (1 child) | Copy

skyrocket wasn't in quotes. Are you retarded?

[–]chootey points points [recovered] | Copy

He wasn't speaking English.

[–]LeftWingMan1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

One week ago I experienced an awakening of thought clarity; and ever since then things like this have been popping up in my musings. Maybe they were always there and I am just now paying attention, Maybe things are brought forth as we coalesce our lives to a moment of great importance. The more I study and discover, the more I realize that all great accomplishments with which people compare themselves, were achieved by other humans. Nothing conceivable is out of reach.

[–]thenewme2_01 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

This is a truly great post. It's all real.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

The last sentence of your title described cognitive dissonance. Lining up my thoughts and my actions in numerous scenarios (work, social, family etc) is one of the most important aspects to be happy and productive imo. It's a subtle feeling yet you'll know when you're improving. Those times when you hold back or dont say/do something out of fear or discomfort? End that by doing what you really want to do and youll remove cognitive dissonance leading to happiness.

[–]Prime_Tyme1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

Stunting is a Habit. Get like me

[–]JoeWim1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

Just saw this post and it has a good message, but is anyone going to talk about how Aristotle never said this? In a post about striving for excellence it's kind of ironic that the quote the post is built around was misattributed. What Aristotle said was "these virtues are formed in man by his doing the actions", Will Durant is the one who came up with the interpretation that's in the post.

[–]greatslyfer-3 points-2 points  (2 children) | Copy

This honestly sounds like your average self-help post that just talks and to me it doesn't say anything valuable.

[–]Fedor_Gavnyukov6 points7 points  (0 children) | Copy

keep doing what you're doing then bro, godspeed

[–]ZippyTheSpaceMonkey2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

Maybe you should read it again, and think about it.

[–]telenoobies-1 points0 points  (1 child) | Copy

Aristotle also thought the earth was flat.

[–]willybuttbum4 points5 points  (0 children) | Copy

Not relevant. Also I don't know where you get your information from but Aristotle actually argued that the world was a sphere.

[–]abc69-1 points0 points  (0 children) | Copy

Repost, stop spamming this subreddit with the same thing every week

[–]PaullyBeenis-4 points-3 points  (1 child) | Copy

Word bro, this is why I bounce on my boys dick for hours every day. I was bouncing on that fucker while I was reading this post too. Keep up the good work guys, women are all sluts, and we're gonna be the Chads they want!

You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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