SYNERGISE YOUR 3D MINDSET©
Limitations are in your mind
SETTLE FOR THE LIFE YOU REALLY WANT
Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.
- Mahatma Gandhi
Your thoughts dictate your perception. Self-perception is like the pixelated image of your characteristics and features. Each pixel represents a different part of your culture, education, habits, behaviours, physical traits and beliefs. They are the embodiment of who you are.
Questioning who you are is a philosophical paradox. The conventional answer usually revolves around seeing yourself as a single, autonomous unit that is independent of your environment. Your name is Jemma, you have blond hair, you work for a law firm, are married, are very friendly, and you like jazz music. But this is an imperfect list of traits that is far from defining who Jemma really is. The static version of Jemma is the result of roles and physical attributes that lead her to think that her choices, preferences and social connections define who she is. As you can see in this example, the answers to this question are trivial and incomplete.
Is it relevant to define who you are when the query itself is inherently biased? Any transformation begins with a state of awareness and acknowledgement. When it comes to your self-perception, it is key for you to understand what you believe in and why you believe it. There is no right answer to this deep and complex question, but there is the answer you are giving to yourself and to the world.
Like everything around us, we continually change, move, evolve, and react to our environment. One cannot be tied to a singular view - there isn’t a simple or singular answer to who you are.
You can choose to keep what you consider to be the good parts of your being and let go of the old parts that you think are restraining you from growing. Ultimately, you are the first person that sees how you perceive yourself. Do you believe yourself?
It is still debatable if life is fiction. Do we have to be the actors in this giant play? If we’re playing particular roles, is it possible to find our true selves? We determine a great deal about who we are based on what others say about us on a cognitive level. In the presence of others, it’s tempting to pretend to be someone we’re not, driven by a destination-oriented urge to be accepted and feel like we belong. Focusing on the journey, however, on the path towards one's authentic self can be daunting.
The vast majority of people live their lives a certain way only so they can be accepted and included. Their need to be part of the tribe supersedes their desire to become self-fulfilled. We tell stories in all areas of our life, but more importantly (and worryingly), we tell lies to ourselves. The lies are sweet and painless - so much so that they become socially accepted and ingrained. They become our identity.
In her TED talk in 2012, Harvard psychology professor and best-selling author Amy Cuddy proclaimed that in order to succeed when you’re doubting your abilities, "you have to fake it until you make it". This aphorism can be traced back to Austrian psychotherapist Alfred Adler who developed the ‘acting as if’ therapeutic technique in 1920 for patients to role-play alternative identities to their own. The approach is valid so long as your ‘act’ is aligned with who you want to become and not with a pretence to please others. Otherwise, it could be incredibly toxic to your self-identity, leading to poor life choices, such as building disingenuous relationships or choosing a career for the wrong reasons.
There is convenience in pretending - the process is easier than consciously deciding who you want to become. But the price to pay is high, and it holds you back from living a meaningful life. Keeping insincerity alive requires at least two people: someone faking (you) and someone believing the lie (others around you). To create a real sense of who you are, you only need one person (you) and one act: introspection. However, now that there isn’t someone else to share your act, the burden is all your own. It’s harder to look within than to exist in the eyes of others.
Introspection is where we see ourselves honestly. We embrace our vulnerabilities, imperfections, unanswered questions, darkness, emptiness, and expressions of our intricate and utterly unique reality. We don’t become what we do, but rather what we think. Therefore, we need to cease desperately trying to reach the destination and instead become familiar with, and learn to enjoy, the process.
There is a difference between existing and living. I believe that you’re born twice in life: the day you arrive into this world and the day you decide who you want to become. In other words, you exist when you’re physically present, and you live when you consciously realise who you want to be. This difference is fundamental and, in my opinion, the sole purpose in life. Are we here to become and experience who we choose to be? I choose the answer to be yes.
As kids, our creativity was unlimited; our minds were free. Our environment, the school system, and our workplaces taught us the opposite. We were moulded to conform, believing that we had to follow the norms and stay within the bounds. In more traumatic circumstances, some of us were pushed in unwanted directions. Nevertheless, your past doesn’t have to determine your future. Asking yourself the profound and straightforward question: ‘Who do I want to become?’ will place you back in the driver’s seat. It reconnects you with your inner child and all those endless possibilities - highlighting the true difference between existing and living.
By realising who you want to become and creating a fulfilled life, I know you will spread your optimism and knowledge throughout the world, and you will care more than ever about the others within it. I also know that by deciding who you truly are, you create a virtuous cycle, whereby you enable others to fulfil their dreams and goals too.
On a cellular level, most of our body is renewed every ten years. Shifting your mindset and being a new persona can be done in a much shorter period from a spiritual point of view. We are the stories we tell ourselves and what others say about us. By changing your narrative, you ultimately change your destiny.
Whatever you want to do, do it now. There are only so many tomorrows.
Regardless of your past, present, insecurities, or dissatisfaction in life, the only questions you need to determine the life you really want are those that start with the end in mind. You are the captain of your life’s ship. Check your map, use your compass and start charting your course.
What do you want your legacy to be?
What do you want to be remembered for?
What world do you want your children to inherit?