Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Who are you?

Have you ever thought about who you are? I mean really, really thought deeply about who you are? Well I have. One thing I realize is that my character is a collection of beliefs, assumptions, norms, actions, ways, means, habits, foibles, follies, fantasies, frustrations, morals, ethics, behaviors and any number of other hangups, hopes, dreams, and desires. I am a husband, father, son, brother, historian, philosopher, thinker, believer, friend, helper, judge, entertainer, worker, creator, questioner and myriads of other hats that I wear (real or imagined).

However, I also realize that these things are me not because of only me but because of others as well. Who I am (and who you are) is a product of how others have shaped, molded, driven, guided and pushed me. It is also how I reacted or accepted or rejected the influence of others. But a huge part of who I am exists because of people in my life, those I encounter, and even those to whom I read or watch or listen. It is why this on again, off again online journal (and the several others I keep offline) is devoted to and about the wisdom, knowledge, information and data of others. We not learn from others, but we are what others have made us.

A thought that has nagged at me lately is how stuck in the past we all can become and how we can all live our lives based on outdated and outmoded assumptions. This sounds odd from someone who LOVES all things history. What I mean is that I continue to encounter people who not only enjoy the past, but they live in it. They will not see the past for what it should be: lessons for the present and future. I encounter this a lot in my work and among business people. Those who continue to believe that we must continue to see the world and operate as if it were 1776.

So have you ever questioned yourself? Why you think and act and believe the way that you do? Is it because of you or because you have learned from someone else? Do accept everything everyone tells you because they tell it to you? Or do you think about, mull it over, ponder it? Does it fit both with who you are and who you want to be?

I find myself caught in a trap at times. I want to BE something, but I only play at it. I strive not just to play at a role, but to BE that role. It is hard and I make mistakes (as we all do). As a result I think we all need to try to follow a simple process more faithfully:


It bothers me that there is still so much desire for wealth, power and control in the world. So much fear, anger, hatred and injustice. Yes, I am only one person. But if I make an effort to change the world, and so does everyone else individually, then the total becomes greater than the sum of the parts. If we want a better world for us and future generations, then we must make it better and not just hope or assume that the "thinking that got us into this mess is the same thinking that will get us out of it"--Albert Einstein.

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