Many factors influence the development of our self-concept. A dynamic interplay exists between the original potential we are each born with and social programming (early programmers and environment). We did not consciously choose our self-concept.

“Bob,” the primitive robotic mind, has absorbed hook, line, and sinker, an identity that may or may not be in keeping with our original potential or current goals.

We might answer the question, "Who am I?" in another way with exposure to different early programmers and environments. We may have different feelings about who we are, and we might evaluate ourselves with other standards. 

It is hard to outperform our identity since "Bob" has become accustomed to it and resists change. This does not mean, however, that we cannot refine our self-concept.


How we see and evaluate ourselves has a long history in the nature/nurture equation. We know that genetic predisposition and external programming play a role in our development. Here we focus on the impact of programming, knowing that we can influence this factor. 

Are self-concept and self-image the same thing? No, our self-image is how we see ourselves. But, when we refer to self-concept, we also consider:

  • how we think the world perceives us.
  • how we have incorporated the world's perception of us.
  • the value we place on ourselves.
  • how we see ourselves in the now and the future.

Remember, we might answer "Who am I?" differently if we had other experiences. But, as I have said before, now that we are adults, we have more cognitive capacity, power, choices, and the ability to choose new role models. We can update our beliefs and experiment with new thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Our self-concept becomes malleable if we allow ourselves to be curious and open. 


No. However, we should be clear that our self-concept influences every area of our life. The self-concept that “Bob” has absorbed may or may not result in a life experience that brings us joy or success. 

There is not one ideal self-concept. But it is important to remember that we rarely outperform our identity. If our self-concept serves us and does not damage the world around us, then allowing “Bob” to hold onto the current self-concept is our choice.

But, remember growing and expanding into our potential is an innate human drive. Ignoring this drive can create internal conflict. 


If we decide to forge a new cow path, we ask ourselves to adjust who we think we are and what we are capable of. As we grow into a new cow path, our self-concept changes.

We begin with simple curiosity. We could ask, "What else is possible for me?" This question can be scary. Remember, "Bob" likes what is familiar, and like a toddler, he will fuss. He prefers the status quo even if it does not serve us.

We need “Bob” to accept new ideas/beliefs about who we are. One of the ways we do that is to be specific. The term “confident CEO of our lives” is a catchall phrase to capture the potential new beliefs we want to expose "Bob" to.

If you are considering a change in your life, would exposing “Bob” to any of these beliefs serve you?

  • I can direct my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
  • I have the right to update my beliefs and goals.
  • I am responsible for the well-being of my future self.  
  • I know curiosity, planning, and experimenting could improve my life.
  • I understand that deliberate, incremental action creates the cellular memory required to create my new cow path.
  • I realize that refining my self-concept is a deliberate creative process.


P.S. Have you listened to the Audio Post-"Are You Still Like the 16 Year Old You?" 9:32 mins