Everyone seems to be on a mission to figure out who they are. With the rise of self-help books, magazines, tv shows, and seminars, there’s a lot of hype around “finding yourself”.
They make all kinds of money on the idea that you’re not good enough and if you buy their book and go to their seminars you’ll be “fixed” and “find your passion” so you can “live your dreams”. <- All the buzzwords and marketing I see every day.
Like there’s some great part of you that’s hidden and you could only find it if you look hard enough.
Yes, there’s something to be said for taking the time to explore in silence and get to in touch with what matters to you or to reset your values if you’ve fallen off track.
However, at a certain point it, trying to “find yourself” just becomes a form of procrastination.
You’re fine just how you are. You just might need to work harder on what matters. Thinking too hard about yourself and your life can cause you to think too much, then you’re stuck in your head going nowhere because you’ve built up this idea in your head.
Instead of taking small action steps, it becomes and endless chase of finding the next form of media that will have the “right” answers you need.
I know a ton of unemployed people and people working way below their qualifications who are so busy “finding themselves” instead of working on their big goals. They spend their free time drinking and smoking weed instead of putting in the hours to excel at what matters.
There are so many people who have real, serious talent, but they don’t progress in life because they refuse to put in the work. Talent isn’t enough to carry anyone without some sweat put in.
That’s what these self-help books rarely look at: the hard work that must be put in. The effort that it takes to create something new out of your life.
If you’re going to take the time off to find yourself, you must get somewhere quiet or out in nature.
Not long after losing both his mother and his wife within the same 24 hours, Theodore Roosevelt moved to North Dakota to become a cowboy and deputy sheriff.
In the silence and hard work, he was able to sort out his mind. That’s a part of what Roosevelt calls living the strenuous life. The ability to work hard and spend little time dwelling over any misfortunes. To wake up, serve the world and your community, and not paralyzing yourself with your thoughts.
There is also another theory I’d like you to think about: Instead of “finding yourself”, what if you made up your mind about who you were going to be and what you were going to achieve and simply made it happen?
This is a lesson I must keep reminding myself of: the ability to create your own life.
The ability to just decide in a moment that you’re going to work on a new path and put in the work.
I recently fell into the “what do I want” black hole. You can spend months thinking about life and what you want, but until you get out in the world and put in the work, you’ll never really know.
I realized at a certain point, all you need is a small idea and commitment to your new path.
I wrote out all the traits I would need to start to get the things I want:
- Discipline in writing
- Outgoing enough to meet people in a new city
- Perseverance to overcome rejection
- To be able to finance an apartment not far from the beach and also to eventually save up for a house
- Relentless effort day in and day out
- The ability to overcome rejection and not let it ever stop me
This is also what I did when I decided I was going to leave my hometown and move thousands of miles away to Colorado.
I am not the brave type to generally do things like that, and if I had sat around and thought about it too much, it never would have happened.
Instead, I knew I needed to be brave, so I just was.
No second thoughts. I decided to create my life because the thought of regret was greater than the fear of going.
I’ve known to many people who blame their lives and actions on “who they are”. Sure, we all have our own preferences and quirks, but at a certain point it’s just a lame excuse.
“Sorry, I lied / cheated / stole / didn’t reply / am always late / get angry / I can’t help it, it’s just who I am.”
Yes. You can help it. You’re not a lifetime victim to your mind. Some things may take more time to fix, but it’s always possible.
You don’t need to “find” anything. I have a sneaking suspicion you already know what you want out of life, but you’ve just been either too scared to go after it, or you built it up so much in your mind that you’ve stopped yourself from taking action.
Here’s what you should do:
1. Cut the shit.
You know what you want. If you don’t, take only a few days and get away with a notebook.
2. Write out the habits and virtues you need to develop to achieve these goals.
Every single goal requires different virtues to be developed. More discipline, effort, focus, etc., or whatever it needs.
3. Get working.
There’s no book, workshop, school, or anything else that will teach you more than simply diving in and getting started. Almost every single successful person just started.
They didn’t focus on anything else but crossing things off their To Do list every single day.
Stop over thinking. Start doing.
That’s it. Literally three steps. Decide what you want, outline a simple plan, and get going.
The world has tried to convince you that it’s harder than that to make things happen, but that’s simply not true. It’s not sexy marketing, so it’s not easy to sell.
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