Who are you? If you can’t promptly answer that question you don’t have a very clear picture of your own identity. Having a clear image of yourself is essential in relationships, self-confidence, and growth. Just as it’s impossible to reach your destination when you don’t know where you are, it is impossible to become who you want to be when you aren’t clear about who you are. Aristotle said and I quote “knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom”.
Discovering yourself is the most important thing you should do before taking steps into relationships, marriage, career, business etc. When you discover who you are, you know what you need, instead of seeking permission from others. It allows you to bypass tons of frustration caused by putting in effort into wrong things. Yes! Life is supposed to be full of trial and error, but discovering yourself helps you find the best areas for you to deploy your efforts rather than waste them. Once you discover yourself, you will become more confident, you will understand your purpose and begin to make a bigger impact in your world. Albert Einstein once said and I quote “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”.
FOUR KEYS TO DISCOVERING YOURSELF
• Disconnect yourself from others and get into solitude
The first thing you need to do to discover yourself is to get away from this noisy world. Take some time out to disconnect yourself from distractions, get into solitude and, stay in your world. Albert Einstein discovered the theory of relativity while he immersed himself in his own world. He was in complete solitude. It was said that he was standing by a train track watching the train traveling passed him. He instantly realized then that to him the train was moving, but to the people on the train, he was the one that seemed to move. The same goes for Isaac Newton who discovered the Law of Gravity. Therefore, if you want to discover yourself, you must spend quality time alone. Switch off your phone, take a walk in the park, sit in the garden like Isaac Newton, take a long thoughtful journey, or practice meditation. Just embrace solitude for a period of time with a focus to discover yourself.
• Find what you are good at or passionate about.
This might be the most difficult step in the process of finding who you are, but it’s a necessary one. Sure, it takes trial and error to find what you’re good at, and not. I don’t want you to give up before you’ve had more than enough attempts, but knowing when to quit is a gift that everyone needs to learn.
Quit when you’ve put in ample time and your efforts aren’t giving back the desired results. What is ample time? Only you can decide that. But when you quit correctly, it isn’t giving up, it’s making room for something better. When your actions do nothing but drain you—rather than produce more passion and increase your drive to do more—that’s a good sign it is time to focus elsewhere. Your strengths will show you who you are.
• Seek Inspiration
Another way to discover yourself is to constantly seek inspiration. The easiest way to do this is to read a book. When you read, you are training your mind to imagine in pictures. This is different from watching TV. When you watch TV, the sound and the image are already there. So your mind will do nothing much but just follow through the movie and enjoy the show. However, when it comes to reading, your mind has to put the words into sentences and visualize the picture in your head. This will make you more creative and inspire you to think. Seeking inspiration usually comes when you are in a relaxed state and thought will suddenly hit you. This is your ‘Eureka’ time.
• Serve and Help Others
When you serve and help others, you will discover something different that will change your life and the people that you help. Jack Ma once said that when you help others, the change does not only happen to the person that you helped, but it happens to you too. One of the keys to becoming successful in life is to help and serve others. In business terms, it is often called creating values. You create a better product to solve people’s problems. And when you do that, you are creating value to someone’s life. The computer or the smartphone you are using to read this right now is connecting you and me. The people who created these devices are creating conveniences for people. That is why they are successful because they helped others and solved people’s problems.
I don’t have the answer to what you can accomplish and what you want to do with your life, only you can answer that. There is no perfect or right way to how you can discover yourself. All you can do is to follow the steps suggested above and start listening to your heart.
Written by Onyeogulu Tochukwu Rowland