Your identity doesn’t get found. It emerges.
That quote is from a book I’m reading right now called The Start-up of You, by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha. Not my typical read at all. It was recommended to me when I was explaining to someone that I want to have a voice. I want to have the ability to touch many lives, and I want to begin to take action to do so. This person asked me “What can you do right now that can get your feet on the ground? Maybe not on a certain path, but walking at least.”
Before I go on let me briefly interject with an anecdote:
I took acting classes for a little while. I did drama in high school and was fairly good, actually- totally nailed my performance as the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, if I may say so myself 😉 I always loved acting and the idea of momentarily living life as another person, or more specifically, from another person’s point of view. Imagine stepping into the shoes of another person completely, because that’s what great actors do in order to play a role completely opposite of who they are. Tom Hiddleston as Loki, for example. The man is a complete gentleman, yet dominates the role of an evil trickster. Kudos, dude. But I digress… Acting helped me understand other people, and it made me more compassionate, and I wanted to be an actress because I knew it would further my compassion, and more importantly give me an audible voice. I could use that voice and do GOOD in this world. I’m a good public speaker, so I could combine the two and influence great changes. Hell, I could take action and MAKE great positive wonderful massive changes in this world! Alas, I am not famous.
But this is the point:
Actors and musicians and other famous people with reputable names can easily speak out loud and their voice echoes through social media and celebrity news shows. They speak and we listen. We don’t always agree, but when you find a celebrity doing good deeds, speaking out against an injustice, or what have you, millions of people hear, and millions of people are sometimes inspired. That’s what I want. And when asked how I could take that first step, I realized I COULD get my voice out there. I can use social media just like all the celebrities, I just don’t have the credibility quite yet. But that doesn’t mean I can’t start! It will take time. A lot of it. But I can SPEAK OUT. We all can. And that’s what I’m doing this very instant as I am frantically typing these words.
As for the quote:
Everyone talks about finding themselves. We put our lives on hold, because we think we need to know everything about ourselves before setting out in this great and complicated new world. It’s competitive out there. There are some bloodthirsty and power hungry people, and if we don’t have a clue what we’re supposed to do we become hopeless. FIGHT THAT NOTION, EVERYONE. It is only by DOING, taking action, proceeding with life, making decisions, making mistakes, and learning hard lessons that we discover who we are. Little by little we will emerge from our shells, we will build our voice, and when that happens we will have an immensely powerful say in what happens in this great age of confusion. So we don’t find ourselves. You can’t FIND what is not lost.
So stop trying to find yourself. Go look in the mirror- OH LOOK! THERE YOU ARE!
Just live. Just be. Just do your thing however ya wanna do it. And in time, everything you need to know about yourself and what you want to do will emerge.