You meet someone for the first time at a party or social function and you ask them who they are. Of course, they answer with their name, but that’s not quite what you meant.
You continue, ‘Sorry, what I really meant was, who are you?’
‘I’m a recruitment consultant from Brisbane, but originally I’m from Reykjavik.’
Okay, great, but still that’s not what you meant.
What you really seek to inquire into is who they are? What do they stand for? What do they care about? What’s important to them in life? What guides their steps in life and their interactions with other people?
That is who they really are.
Okay, so maybe such a deep train of conversation is overkill for the first time meeting someone! And as a result you might find yourself as the guy or girl flying solo in the corner of the room checking the same Instagram posts over and over to avoid the social awkwardness you’ve just created for yourself!
But let me explain my point and elaborate on what I’ve recently come to see as an erroneous psychological thought process in modern day society…
We are not defined by what we do nor where we live, how many friends we have or where we go out to socialise. And we are certainly not defined by how much money we do or do not have in the bank!
None of that really matters. That’s not who we are. That’s largely just the result of where we happened to find ourselves in life, mostly by chance.
Think of how different our lives could have been if the genetic lottery had have lead us to be born into an impoverished central African village…
I was speaking with an old school teacher of mine recently. He really surprised me mid-conversation by saying:
‘You know what I really like about you Paul…?’
I had no idea what was coming next.
‘What I really like about you is that you always remain true to your core values. You are not defined by what job you have, how much money you have, where you live or what’s going on around you. You have such a strong sense of self and you know the person that you will become.’
Inevitably, I paraphrase. I was so blown away at the time by what I was hearing. And it all made so much sense. Something in my mind clicked. My Instagram bio now features the line:
‘Guided by values not status.’
Because that’s me. I never properly realised it until that impromptu phone conversation. But that’s what defines me. What I really care about in life defines who I am. Not my name. Not my job. Not my status.
Nothing other than the instrinsic motivators that drive me to challenge and change the injustices, inequalities and social shortcomings I see around me in the world.
I am guided by love.
I can only now ask:
What are you guided by? What do you really care about? What in life matters the most to you?
Let the answers to these questions guide your steps through life’s labyrinth. Step back from the external and discover the wonder of the internal.
Dare to be yourself.
Dare to discover how great you really are!
Leave your thoughts in the comments below 🙂