In my mind there are three big questions in Life:
- Who am I?
- Why am I here?
- What do I want?
In my mind if you answer the first two the answer to the third should be fairly easy to answer.
So lets take a look at the first one
Who Am I?
Well I know who I am, I am a fool. But how did I arrive at this conclusion?
I went through a few years of working at answering this question, and I went through a whole wack-load of other options, some of which were pretty weird (I am an ocean of energy – really?).
It all started years and years ago when I first read “What Colour Is Your Parachute”. This is a book to help job hunters, but it has a great way of going about it – get to know yourself first.
One of the exercises in it asks you to take ten pieces of paper and on the top write out “I AM” on each. Then take a moment and fill in something next to all ten.
Off the top of my head I can remember a few of what I came up with (in no particular order):
- I am a husband
- I am a comedian
- I am an artist
- I am a lover of good stories
- I am a “Capital R Romantic” (ie referring to the Romantic period in art and writing not “romance”)
There were more, of course, but these will do as an example. There was more to the exercise in the book since the purpose there was to determine your ideal career, but for our purposes today, this beginning part will do.
I have expanded on this exercise to create a very simply way of starting your search for self.
1) Create a list of all the things you are.
You can write “I Am” and the top and then just fill in lines with possible answers or on each line write “I Am” and answer it accordingly. Don’t spend too much time thinking about this, just put whatever comes to mind.
HERE’S THE TRICK – for now we aren’t looking for anything deep, just something, a starting point, so your answers can be very obvious and simple. You can start with: I am a man (or woman if that is the case). After that just think about some of the things that define you as you.
Keep writing. Do this over a bit of time (but keep this page with you at all times in case anything hits you), don’t rush it.
2) Choose Your Top 10
Once you have a nice long list, take a look over everything you’ve put down. Some will describe you better than others. Now you get to choose the ones that you feel most apply to you, the ones that resonate the most with you.
Pick out the ones you feel strongest about and if there are more than ten, then narrow them down a little bit until you have the top ten.
3) Order Your Top 10
Now, of your top ten take some time to review them and see which ones describe you the best or resonate the most. Order your top 10 so that the one that describes you the most is on top.
4) Review As Necessary
You have your list, it is done. Now keep it up somewhere where you can see it everyday (mine is on my bedroom mirror). Chances are you won’t come up with a DEEP answer to the question of “Who Am I” with just this exercise but the more you look at these and think about them, other things might come to you. So adjust your list as necessary if other important elements of your self come to you and beg to be put on this list.
Every now and then when you are looking at this list try and imagine what might be one simple word or short phrase that would encapsulate most of these things.
For me (and I did go through a lot of other exercises as well) the word was FOOL. When I go back and look at my list now, I can see how several of the things on my list could work into this.
So like I said, this is a starting point
For another great exercise I suggest looking at your values. I’ll get to this as well as how to find out the answers to the other two big questions in later posts.
Until then, keep laughing.