Choosing your identity

Identity is one of those frustrating challenges. Being able to define ‘who I am’ has always been difficult, or at least how to express who I am in ways which others can understand. And yet, breaking it down, I can give you some words which start to offer some clues. Some of those words are easy like ‘white’ or ‘male’. But the more useful ones come when I start describing more what I do than who I am, and if I am what I do, those should be more telling anyway.

For instance, I read a lot. I get up very early in the morning to read every day. I’ve started walking for an hour every day when I listen to an audiobook. People tell me how they find my reading intimidating. Some people even find my reading funny, although I’ve never understood why. So I’m definitely a reader. Maybe even well read.

As I’ve got older, I’ve added things to my identity which has changed the way I behave. ‘Husband’ and ‘father’ were doozies that I’m still getting my head around, but regardless, have had clear impacts on the way I think and behave.

Recently I’ve started to identify other things that I would like to be, over which I believe I have control. ‘Entrepreneur’ has been something I’ve always wanted to be. ‘Physically flexible’ is something I’ve never been but have always wanted to be because of its promise of comfortable longevity. ‘Smaller’ is a constant challenge for many I think, and I’m no exception. I’m taking specific actions to become all of those things.

I’ve come across a number of people who seem stuck in their identities. Like a certain relative who has decided he’s ‘not technical’ like that’s set in stone and there’s nothing anyone can persuade him otherwise. It seems to me that decided one is not something, especially something useful, is a little backwards. By all means decide you’re not a smoker or a drinker or something harmful, but why apply the same logic to something that will help you in everyday life and grow as a person ?

I guess it’s fine for anyone to do that for themselves. Just don’t expect me to have any time for you or your laziness, and certainly don’t come to me when you want something technical done.

We are all in charge of who we are, and in this day and age, who we want to be. If 9/11, Trump and Brexit show us anything it’s that people who can imagine something are a good way towards making it happen.

Wannabe entrepreneur writing about startup life, online marketplaces, product, marketing, future of work and any other topics that come to me