I had the opportunity to talk to Benjamin Hardy. This man needs no introduction.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy is an organizational psychologist and the bestselling author of Willpower Doesn’t Work.
He is the number 1 writer on Medium. His work is viewed by millions of people monthly and featured on Forbes, Fortune, CNBC, Cheddar, Big Think, and many others. He is currently writing his book Personality isn’t permanent, which you can pre-order here.
On his personal front, Benjamin and his wife Lauren are parents to 5 lovely children.
Maxim: Tell us about the start of your blog. What made you start writing about Self Improvement? Was it an instant thought or a series of events?
I become interested in self improvement when I was 20 serving a church mission. I did a lot of learning, writing, and growing during those two years. I spent all of my time helping others. Reading books, learning how to overcome my own trauma, and filled stacks and stacks of journals. This experience led me to studying psychology for many years. Ever since my mission, I wanted to become a writer but I essentially made no progress towards that goal from 2010-2015.
In 2015 something very surprising happened that lead to the traction I needed to make my dream a reality. In 2015 my wife and I became foster parents to 3 children. My level of commitment to these children transferred over to my work. I stopped worrying about what people were going to think about my blog posts and ideas. I started taking risks and trying new things. I began investing in myself. Why? Because my kids were counting on me.
Maxim: When you first started blogging, how far did you think you would go?
When I first started my blog, no one but my wife knew it existed. It wasn’t until I started writing for medium.com while creating new content for my own blog that my subscriber list took off.
Maxim: Tell us about your personal journey in self improvement. Give us the top 3 examples of how you improve yourself regularly.
When I was young my parents divorced. This lead to a very toxic environment growing up. I barely graduated high school and by age 19 I was spending my time playing video games, sleeping on my cousin’s couch, and living off of pizza and mountain dew. I began running at night and through running was able to meditate and really think about where I was headed with my life.
This was just the beginning of my self improvement journey. Running/exercise is still very important in my self improvement journey. It gives me time and space to process and meditate. It really helps get me into a peak state. Journaling is another habit that is crucial in my life. Lastly listening to audiobooks. I love listening to books on my long runs or walks. I listen to books over and over again.
Maxim: Among all the articles you have written, which one is your favorite?
A lot of the articles I write are lessons I’m learning myself. One of my favorites is this on about gratitude
Maxim: Self improvement has various aspects. However, if you had to give only one single piece of advice to your readers, what would it be?
Self improvement takes courage. Put simply, courage means you proactively acted, in spite of risks, toward something you believed to be important or meaningful. When you are continually acting out of courage rather than fear, your internal sense of freedom provides you the ability and confidence to limitless creativity.
You no longer worry about success or failure — because ultimately, you know that you cannot be stopped. Do at least one act of courage a day.
Maxim: What advice would you give to a young person just starting his/her journey of self improvement?
Measure the gain! It’s easy (but discouraging) to focus on how far you have to go. What is even more powerful though is to focus on how far you’ve come.
Maxim: If you had a time machine that sent you 10 years back in time, what self improvement advice would you give yourself?
10 years ago I was just beginning my self improvement journey. I have learned so many crucial lessons along the way. Now if I could go back 15 years I would help my past self tips for processing trauma so that I could work towards becoming my future self!
Maxim: How has your blogging and writing influenced and transformed you? Do you think you have changed as a person since you started blogging?
Blogging is a forcing function for me. It’s a place that I share the ideas from my education, research from my dissertation, thesis, various books, my online courses, and lessons I am learning for myself. If you follow my blog then you get a front row seat to whatever project I am currently working on!
Maxim: What makes you happiest as a blogger?
I love hearing about readers who are inspired to make changes in their own life after reading an article. Or when people read an article and automatically think of a family member or friend that would benefit from the article.
Maxim: Who are the other self improvement bloggers that you’re a fan of?
I am a fan of Bloggers/authors Ryan Holiday, Hal Elrod, Bo Eason, and Tucker Max
Maxim: What are the top 3 things you would recommend as advice for self improvement bloggers?
There are a lot of self improvement bloggers/influencers out there. It’s a competitive field. Here are a few steps to becoming the best.
1. Structured your day for optimal creative expression. Go to bed early. Wake up early. Get yourself in peak state. Then get to work. Most people’s lives are structured in a reactive way. The first thing they do in the morning is to check their email or social media. These things are highly addictive inputs. In order to become a creative master, you must focus your efforts on outputs by leveraging your subconscious mind. While you’re away from your work, like sleeping, spending time with friends, or other activities, your subconscious is working through and mulling over the problems you’re trying to solve. So the first thing to do when you wake up is output. This may be in the form of writing in a journal to capture all the work your subconscious has been doing while you were sleeping.
2. Invest in yourself. Take courses, attend seminars, join masterminds. When I first started blogging I decided to get coaching. However, this time, I did it in the form of a virtual online course. Within a month of taking the course, I wrote a blog post that was read over five million times across multiple outlets and in several languages. This online course was not the reason for my success; but it was an important part of the progression I would inevitably get one way or another.
3. Be consistent. If you haven’t had your big break yet, keep going. Consistency is the most fundamental virtue of becoming the person you want to be. Almost everyone can sprint for a while. But most burn-out and quit. Everything meaningful in life is a marathon — meant to test your commitment and will.
You can read more about these ideas here
Maxim: Thanks a lot Benjamin. It was an honor knowing your thoughts. Continue blogging and influencing people. All the best for your future.