Adopt a Hollywood-Style Mindset To Claw Your Way Out of a Rut

Max Phillips

Have you ever wondered where those late-night bursts of motivation go? I certainly have. You can be raring to go at night, but once you wake up, everything feels flat once again.

If that sounds like you, you’re likely experiencing ‘present bias’ — where you choose your present self over your future self. You may make grandiose plans before you sleep, but they get lost when you wake up, and everyday life resumes.

This cycle can feel endless. You might search for an outside source to restore you to 100% capacity, but the answer lies within like it often does. As I will explain, you need to become the star of your film.

This article is for people who feel like life shows no signs of changing for the better. It explains how you can claw your way out of a rut by adopting a Hollywood-style mindset.

Conduct an honest self-assessment

Being honest with yourself is harder than it looks. For example, I’ve complained about not putting on as much muscle as I’d like in the past. I put it down to genetics. In reality, I wasn’t eating enough food or changing my exercises often enough. But instead of admitting that, I searched for an external, untouchable source to blame.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was working against myself.

When it comes to improving yourself, honesty is the best policy. It may feel brutal at first, but the more honest you are, the more consequences you’ll end up facing. To start this process, consider asking yourself one question: “What is the epicenter of my issue?”

I was unwilling to make a substantiated effort with my fitness. I had a body goal in mind (Brad Pitt in Fight Club) but lacked the drive to gain the knowledge needed to reach that level. Acknowledging your issues' core provides clarity — an essential tool in cutting through the mud and seeing your path to progress.

Watch a film of your future highlight reel

Matthew McConaughey’s 2014 Oscar acceptance speech showcased his A-list mentality. Specifically how he connected with his future self. Here’s the part that caught my eye:

“You see, every day, and every week, and every month, and every year of my life, my hero is always ten years away. I’m never going to be my hero. I’m not going to obtain that and that’s fine with me because it keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.”

In 1992, 22 years before he won, McConaughey laid out ten life goals, one of which was to “win an Oscar.” Even as he accepted the award, his hero is still “ten years away.” As I mentioned earlier, the answer to your problems lies within.

You are the star of your film, and your mindset should reflect that.

Of course, it’s not easy to imagine your future heroic self ten years down the line. Jack Canfield, the bestselling co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, has created a three-part “mental rehearsal” to help you imagine your future self:

  1. Imagine yourself watching a movie in a dimly lit cinema. The film shows you in the future accomplishing your goals.
  2. Get out of the chair and walk through a door in the screen. Watch the film through your eyes.
  3. Finally, return to your seat. Shrink the screen down into the size of a biscuit. Chew, and then swallow it. Take everything you’ve felt and, according to Callan, “Imagine that every cell of your body is lit up with a movie of you performing perfectly.”

In a study, psychologist Hal Hershfield showed a group of people digitally altered photos featuring their older selves. After seeing the image, the participants were willing to set aside roughly double the funds for retirement than those who didn’t.

Interacting with your future self helps pull your present self out of a rut. It’s like you’re unlocking a new playable character. The clearer you can visualize them, the less ‘present bias’ you may feel.

Have an imaginary documentary crew follow you around

It’s all well and good imagining yourself winning an Oscar in ten years, for example, but how do you implement those aspirations today? Joe Rogan has a handy trick.

Imagine a documentary crew is following your every move. They’re filming ‘The Making of ___,’ and want to see how you became such a huge success ten years down the line. How would that change your actions? Play up to the imaginary cameras and make your documentary Oscar-worthy.

All of a sudden, that 5-mile run you dragged yourself on is a Rocky-style montage. Your morning journaling session becomes an inspiration for millions. Most importantly, you give deeper meaning to your actions.

Treat your future fans to behind-the-scenes footage and become your future hero today.

A Hollywood mindset to bring your success forward

By giving yourself something to work towards, you’re giving meaning to your present-day actions. Every action, no matter how small, has its place in your documentary. It all starts with what you do now. So, to recap, here’s what you can do:

  • Honestly self assess yourself to see where you’re going wrong. Ask the question: “What is the epicenter of my issue?”
  • Imagine yourself watching a film featuring your successful future self as both the viewer and the creator. Acknowledge and digest how it makes you feel, allowing it to fill you up.
  • Picture a documentary crew following you around, filming a movie about how you came to be so successful in the future.

There’s something about Hollywood that feels unworldly. It’s so far-fetched from reality. Yet, it doesn’t need to be. Bring it down to your level.

Become the star of your own film.

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