#1620 Areté +1° #144: Alter Egos

The Power of Secret Identities

Hi, this is Brian.

Welcome back to another Areté +1°, a micro-chapter from Areté: Activate Your Heroic Potential.

451 ideas like this.


Todd Herman is one of the world's leading high-performance coaches and mental game strategists.

He wrote a great book called The Alter Ego Effect. As per the sub-title, it’s all about “The Power of Secret Identities to Transform Your Life.”

Before we get into some of my favorite wisdom from that book, get this…

Did you know that you can bring people into a lab, test their vision, and find that people dressed up as (and pretending to be) Air Force pilots will LITERALLY SEE BETTER?

It’s (goosebumps) crazy but true. Ellen Langer proved it.

In her great book Counterclockwise, she talks about that study and other mind-bogglingly powerful research she’s conducted in her “Psychology of Possibility” lab at Harvard.

In his great book, Todd Herman helps us apply the science behind the power of “secret identities” to transform our lives.

It’s truly remarkable stuff and one of the reasons I’m so bullish on the power of committing to and living in integrity with our “Identities” via the Heroic app.

Here’s one of my favorite ideas from Todd’s book…

Think about Superman and Clark Kent. We all know they’re the same guy.

But… Which one is the “real” person and which one is the alter ego?

Alas, although 90% of the people to whom Todd asks this question say that Superman is the alter ego, they get it backward.

The REAL person is Superman. The fumbling Clark Kent is the alter ego.

With that in mind, I ask… Who is the REAL you?

The eudaimonically, soul-level inspired Superyou or the fumbling, fearful Clark Kent-ish you?

(Insert Jeopardy music here.)

To help us answer the question, let’s bring Eric Butterworth back into the discussion. (Love that man.)

In Discover the Power Within You, he tells us: “You may say, ‘But I am only human.’ This is the understatement of your life. You are not only human—you are also divine in potential. The fulfillment of all your goals and aspirations in life depends upon stirring up and releasing more of that divine potential. And there is really nothing difficult about letting this inner light shine. All we must do is correct the tendency to turn off our light when we face darkness.”

Our +1°…

Close your eyes.

Imagine the absolute best, most Heroic version of yourself.

Feel your power. See your radiance.


The old you? They’re on permanent vacation.

It’s time for the real you to take over.


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