What Are You Made Of?
Who are you? A better question might be: who do you think you are? Where does this thing called your personality, your ego, come from?
The short answer is that it is a multitude of impressions, experiences and environments that eventually forged your behavior and your very individual outlook on the world around you.
You could be the arrogant prick who’s tough on the outside, emotional on the inside; the weirdo that only talks to people when he is wasted; that guy with the better-looking best friend who always steals your girlfriends.
Whatever traits your character is made of, your personality is merely a conglomerate of external inputs, and filtered through the values and morals your parents or any other respected instance have given you along the way.
This begs the question of how flexible your personality really is, how rigorous your viewpoints really are and how solid the foundation of your ego really is. If our mental being is tied so closely to your experiences and how we interpreted them, isn’t it necessary to, from time to time, objectively revise your mindset?
If you could rid yourself of your beliefs, your values, your opinions and conceptions, would you stick to who you are or rather give your life a little update? This is what I call the ‘road to independence’, a journey in which you can truly define who you are, or better, want to be.
You would think that this kind of self-evaluation is an automatic process, something that happens regardless of how much thought you put into it. Well, that is precisely what characterizes average people, with average lives and average personalities.
They barely ever consider how their lifestyle affects who they are, simply because they are oblivious to the fact that who they are, is not necessarily who they could be. For them, the concept of personality is more passive than active, more rigid than malleable.
They neither have the awareness to reevaluate their current character nor the capability to determine how accurately their present desires, values and beliefs are reflected in their persona.
They cant assess if they like who they are, simply because they don’t think they have much of an option. Mostly, they will rely on a rusty and fragile framework of beliefs, expectations and desires they call their personality. A mere shadow of who they could be, a hollow interpretation of life.
Put aside your ego for a second, ignore what everyone thinks you are and disregard the façade you call your personality; have you yourself ever thought about your personality being more susceptible to change than you assumed?
Whether you are an extrovert, socially competent and content with who you are, or an introvert, boring and miserable, I assure you there is room for improvement (for some more than others).
Society imprints this thinking pattern of inflexibility onto us. It burns into our minds the belief that who we are is a constant state of being; an invariable state of mind.
Regardless of how society perceives you, your first and foremost concern should always be whatever makes you happy, whatever satisfies you and lets you walk home with a smile on your face.
Nobody, not even the overwhelmingly powerful forces of society, should be able dictate who you are. Who the hell are they to influence you by characterizing you, putting a stamp on you or labeling you.
So, how can you change it? If you suddenly realize you are incredibly boring, lived too monotonous or below your potential, don’t worry. Awareness is a first step. Then act upon it. Don’t waste your time wondering where this road might take you. Rather, understand that what you can and can’t do is up to you.
How often have you said you are not that type? Maybe you haven’t been then, maybe you are now. Society artificially limits your potential and hence quality of life. Stop feeling confined by the parameters society sets for you. Don’t be paralyzed by people who will hardly ever change. Don’t let life bounce off you, but absorb every aspect of it.
Just do more stuff. Try to broaden your social, academic or athletic horizons and meet new people, look into different things, try different sports. How can you be so certain that what you enjoy now can’t be topped by something that hasn’t even crossed your mind? Find something that is not ‘you’.
We all know the magic happens outside of your comfort zone buddy. If you don’t like tennis try ping pong; if you don’t like ping pong try badminton; if you don’t like badminton try speedminton; if you don’t like speedminton try squash;
Maybe you never liked Thai Curry, but maybe this is only because you’re mom did a terrible job making it or the restaurant you were at sucked.
This all amounts to a fairly simple point: You can’t change your experiences, but you certainly can change the spectrum of future experiences you have and the way you look at them.
Realize that whatever you derived from your past might not apply to the present, and whatever the future holds is entirely up to you.
The more you experience, the closer you will get to who you really are. The only way of truly defining your personality and who you are is to fearlessly engage in as much as possible. It’s like trial and error, and at some point, you will look at your life through a different pair of glasses.
A new you, an updated version of your personality, all through the conscious process of embedding your impressions into the existing sphere of who you are. You will have well defined aspirations and a clear perspective on who you really are and what you stand for.
Few things in life are as validating as finding your niche, because from that point onwards, you are no longer one of the people (and most people are) floating clueless in the bewilderingly large space of uncertainty. In the end, remember this: what got you here won’t get you there.
Vincent Coon | Elite.