I often tell people they have nothing to do with what they think, say and do. As you can imagine, the overwhelming majority refute that statement. They make the claim they have everything to do with what they think and do. In fact, they believe they have control over themselves. I say control is a myth and it’s a waste of time to focus on it. If you think about it, one cannot even stop the bedlam that occurs in one’s mind. Take it a step further – each of us has inherited that bedlam. Here’s how it starts...
When someone claims to be in control of themselves, I ask a series of questions. The questions begin as follows:When you were born, did you choose your first language? Did you choose your name? What about your socio-economic class, religion, gender, or race? Your neighborhood, did you choose it as well? The list can get quite long. The answer to each question is always “no”. What does this tell us?
A person’s identity is partly constructed upon place, time of birth, given name, socio-economic class, race, gender, etc. Identity is not tangible. You cannot reach out and touch it. Identity is a network of conversations about all the intangibles listed above and more. The identity (e.g. conversations), are given to each person, and profoundly shapes individual thought and action. It will frame what you think, the people with whom you socialize, and the activities you choose. Your identity creates your life. If the things that make up your identity were given to you, it implies that your life has been completely controlled by your identity. Why? You were born into a society that had an existing set of conversations and identities; in fact, they were given to you. You had no choice.
Some may call this fatalistic. It’s not. It’s part of the human paradigm that each of us inherited. If it were fatalistic, none of us would have survived. Embracing it is a powerful step to being able to do something about it. To continue to believe you conjured up your personality independently of your environment (i.e. the entire world) is to have a false sense of security.
The challenge of the human paradigm is no one really knows who created it. We accept it without question. Just as hundreds of years ago, man believed the earth was flat. There are other beliefs we accept without question. However, erroneous belief systems about the world, and our environment have been disproven many times over through science and invention. A few important people come to mind - the Wright Brothers, Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison. Perhaps it is time to question all the facts we were given about what it means to be human.
Why question? Human life is multi-dimensional. If our lives have been shaped by conversations we inherited, it is possible to create new conversations that are much more empowering. As a simple example, some people have a conversation with themselves or others where they say, “Mondays Suck, and Thank God It’s Friday!” Inherently, there is no difference between Monday and Friday. And it’s disempowering to believe you can enjoy one day more than another. Yet, our culture sets us up to believe there is a difference. Furthermore, no one is eternally “stuck” with what they were given.
Being able to distinguish this pattern is where the power begins. Whether it’s your professional, or personal life, you can begin to create an entirely new paradigm. Replace the disempowering, internal conversations, with new, empowering ones. You will find that your job, marriage, friends and colleagues appear different. This process avails much greater freedom to live the life you really want, instead of the one you were given.
What do you think? I’m open to ideas. Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, let me know.