Becoming Your Own Person

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver, Poet

We are born (literally) surrounded by others. Parents, doctors, foster parents, siblings, relatives, godmothers. We spend our early years like a sponge — absorbing everything we see, touch, smell, feel. We learn to enjoy the company of good friends (and good books 😉 ) and become immersed in the world we experience through ourselves.

Naturally, we adopt the traits and characteristics of people and culture surrounding us. Sometimes we take in good things, like treating others like we want to be treated, listening during conversation, smiling (with teeth showing) when passing someone on the street. And sometimes we take in not so great things, or things we don’t understand but file away in our minds as characteristics that get us what we want, or negative traits of the world around us, such as learning that money is something to be fought over, quitting early gets us out of fear or laziness, or worrying about everything.

We adopt the traits and characteristics of people and culture surrounding us.

And then we get older. We become more independent. We grow into someone with likes, hobbies and dreams. Various curiosities catch our eye, like learning Ju Jitsu, dance or wakeboarding. Our mind physically matures. Our body goes through things. We gravitate towards things we are good at, and avoid like the plague things we aren’t hot in. We fall in love. We get crushed. We fall in love again. We rebel. We dye our hair black and grow it long. We wear spiked belts and ironic necklaces. We break bones skating, or fall off a trampoline and hurt our back.

Yet, through it all, we still carry the characteristics (good and bad) that we learned in childhood. I am my own person, but I’m also the accumulation of lot of others too. The people we surround ourselves rub off on us. Their hopes and dreams become part of our own hopes and dreams. Their likes become our likes. Their dislikes, ours too.

And the key question to remember and challenge yourself with is this:

“Am I doing this because I want to, or because someone else wants me too?”

Are you enjoy X because you enjoy it, or because someone is pushing you too? Are you working at _ company out of interest and curiosity, or because your boss or your family is telling you too? Are you doing this because you want to, or are you doing this because you feel like you have to?

Some forces are universal, like retirement funds and compound interest, and are probably not going to change anytime soon. Other things are moving so quickly they’re likely already changed by the end of the day. But at the end of the day, we get to choose who we want to be.

We get to choose the kind of person we want to be.

Right now. This very second can be your chance to change and become the person you wish you would be.

Becoming your own person starts by not being everyone else. Through success, failure, feast or famine, we get to decide what we do, say and be in this life. And not do.

So, what kind of person do you want to be?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #784

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