Act Like the Person You Want to Be

This is an article that I have had kicking around in my head for quite some time.

It was originally an uplifting and positive article. The context has changed, though. The world has changed.

The idea centers on a Kurt Vonnegut quote.

“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be very careful what we pretend to be.”

This is a very powerful truth. One that I firmly believe we should harness to become better people.

Become Your Ideal Self

The original context for this article was quite simple.

Think about the type of person that you want to be. What traits do you wish that you had? How do you wish people saw you?

Next, think about how the ideal version of you would act in a given situation. Then act that way.

Want to be more generous? Think about how a generous person would act on a day-to-day basis. Start working those actions into your day.

Want to be more kind? Think about how a kind person would handle interactions. After you have a conversation, think about what the ideal version of you would have done differently and try to make that change for the next conversation.

When you start acting like the ideal version of yourself, you gradually become the ideal version of yourself.

Hate in Virginia

The Vonnegut quote is from a book called Mother Night.

The narrator that says it spent years pretending to be a devoted Nazi propagandist.

You can see why this article idea floated back to the top of my mind after the events in Charlottesville this weekend.

Nazis and other white supremacists held a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. They came armed with heavy weaponry and body armor. They joined together to send a message that the era of hoods, hidden identities, and shame is over.

They perpetrated a terrorist attack that killed a 32-year old woman that came to protest hate.

While this event was shockingly blatant, this type of hate and bigotry is practiced all around the country every day. It didn’t start with Charlottesville and it won’t end with Charlottesville.

The organizers of the hate-filled rally have already announced bigger plans:

“And to everyone, know this: we are now at war. And we are not going to back down. … We are going to go bigger than Charlottesville. We are going to go huge. We are going to take over the country. … We learned a lot today. And we are going to remember what we learned. This has only just begun.”

What Would Your Ideal Self Do?

All of us have heard of discrimination and atrocities throughout history and wondered how we would have responded.

Would we have hid our neighbors in the attic during the Holocaust?

Would we have stood up to slave owners before the Civil War?

Would we have fought against Jim Crow?

Surely the ideal versions of ourselves would have had the bravery, the empathy, the love, and the drive to stand up for the oppressed against the powerful.

What would your ideal self do today?

If you had the necessary bravery, empathy, love, and drive to stand up for the oppressed, what would you do?

Let’s pretend that we are the ideal version of ourselves. Let’s act like we have those traits.

Let’s take those steps. Let’s make our voices heard. Let’s become the warriors of love needed to combat hate and white supremacy.

Let’s choose to be careful about what we pretend to be.

Let’s choose to become our ideal selves.


[Other writers in the personal finance space are also venturing out to talk about Charlottesville. Please read Sam’s experience with racism and hatred as well as Femme Frugality’s plea to speak up.]

14 thoughts on “Act Like the Person You Want to Be”

  1. Heather Heyer stood up to hatred, and she paid the ultimate price for it. I don’t think that she would do otherwise if she had the chance though. In deeply disturbing times, hope is often found in the heroism of someone who takes a stand. Heyer is that hero. I’ll look to her example for hope, and be ready with what I believe will be greater awareness to stand against any hatred I might encounter in my own life.
    Prudence Debtfree recently posted…Elder Indebtedness on the Rise: Seniors of the Future, Be Proactive NOWMy Profile

    1. If you haven’t read the statement from her mom, you should check that out. She basically says that she wants everyone to respond to her daughter’s death in the way that you have.

      Thanks for be ready to stand against hatred. We need more of that.
      Matt recently posted…Comfort is Not HappinessMy Profile

  2. For now, speaking is the best thing I can do, particularly to my kid. One of the things I’ve been reading the last couple of days (months, really) is that if we don’t actively discuss matters of racial, religious, national origin discrimination, etc, then our kids don’t learn that it’s wrong. Thinking of yourself as “colorblind” isn’t helpful, it hurts because it ignores problems and the problems grow and get worse.

    Kids innately seem to want the world to be fair, but a lot of adults seem to lose that. If we can harness that fairness when they’re young by pointing discrimination out and what it leads to, we’ll do a much better job of combatting our social problems.
    Emily @ JohnJaneDoe recently posted…What Would You Do? Buying a Computer for My Kid EditionMy Profile

  3. We are on the same page down to the Vonnegut novel. I feel like we’re at one of the final potential turning points where we can either shut this down collectively at a societal level, or allow it to spiral out of control until we quickly don’t recognize the country we’re living in anymore. I am trying really hard to believe we can do the former. Thank you for lending credence to that hope with your voice.

    And thank you for the shout out, too. I need to go back into my post and share more of these like you have. There’s a really good one on She’s a former PF blogger who does more lifestyle stuff now. Hers is crazy motivating like yours.
    Femme Frugality recently posted…Don’t Wait to Speak UpMy Profile

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