Self-Signaling: The Science of Identity
According to research by Dr. Ronit Bodner and Dr. Drazen Prelec,
“Actions provide a signal to ourselves, that is, actions are self-signaling.”
Put bluntly, your actions solidify your identity. Your identity overtime becomes your personality. Therefore, you should be conscious of the actions you take. You’re providing a powerful signal to your subconscious of the type of person you are.
If you wake up early and go running, you’ll think to yourself, I’m the kind of person that wakes up early and goes running. Whatever decisions you’ve made, you’ll conclude that I’m the type of person that does X, Y, OR Z. (Luckily, as will be shown in a moment, your past is actually highly fluid, and can be changed by future actions.)
In the recent book, Skin in the Game, Dr. Nassim Nicholas Taleb explains that what you do is the purest definition of your value system. In Start with Why, Simon Sinek said the same thing. Your actions demonstrate what you really believe.
Gandhi said, “Action expresses priorities.” He also said, “To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.” Being dishonest with yourself is what psychologists call cognitive dissonance— the state of internal conflict. You can’t be confident if you don’t trust yourself. Confidence is a by-product of congruent and successful behavior.
Confidence is the emotional state of someone whose prior action was intentional and accurate of the person they planned on being. Your present confidence is based on prior decisions. Your future confidence is based on present decisions.