In the last post we briefly looked at the dilemma involved in balancing our uniqueness and our commonness. I mentioned some ways of actually identifying and nurturing our unique qualities using creative activities. In this post, we will go deeper into knowing and applying such methods in our lives.
What do you know about yourself? Do you tag yourself with descriptors and key concepts based only on what you do? What has been your journey and how have you arrived at what you do today? Has your pursuit largely been accidental or are you seeking something specific? You might be seeking tangible or intangible life goals, although there is a big difference in the nature and quality of these goals, what is important is that these goals exist.
Goals are known directions of movement in life. This movement is figurative generally. It is defined in terms of the quality and nature of details one will be involved with over time. Though it might seem that everyone must have goals – many of us do not.
Some find goals slightly oppressive. They believe in the power and potential of serendipity. They define intangible goals for themselves and expect the dynamic of life to actually match it with actual content. Some feel that having clearly defined goals is limiting and binding.
The feeling that magically we will end up getting more than what we have even articulated even for ourselves in the form of a desire, is wrong.
I am not saying here that to be able to do something, you should want to do it.
I am saying here that to be able to do something, you should already know what kind of experience will be satisfactory for you.
If you do not know that, you will not know when to stop seeking. You will not know when life has already served you with a solution, the problem of which you have not defined yet!
You can be a seeker (I am one too), but you must define your problem. What is it that will make you feel fulfilled? What is it that will allow you to start seeking something else?
Defining goals of this kind clearly requires a sufficient amount of self-knowledge. And that brings us to the next main thing that this post would like to share. How should you pursue this self-knowledge? Almost everyone would desire more of it and be more effective in life. But how can one acquire it?
The strange scenario here is that those who do know themselves a little bit, do not know how they found out. They feel that this self-knowledge is a personal accomplishment that they managed because of some very personal traits.
But this is not true.
Self-knowledge can be first felt as an enhanced kind of self-confidence and as an unreasonable & unexplained conviction. It should also be accompanied by the feeling of gratitude.
Because we can perform some processes to seek self-knowledge. But if we at all manage to gain some of this self-knowledge, it is not entirely the fruit of only our own efforts.
There is nothing to take ownership of and feel good about.
We perform processes to gain self-knowledge and as a result we start sending out signals. These signals communicate (to those who know how to read them) that we are seeking something other than what is already present.
Such a signal is very important, I believe in the work and personal relationship environment. It guides others about the kind of bets that could possibly be placed on us. What kind of partnerships would we get into? What would we like, what would we not?
And now, we get to detailing some of these processes, the activities that can prove to be supportive in the pursuit of self-knowledge.
- Keep An Idea Journal: The situation in your life might not always be supportive to doing anything at all, this might lead you to think that if nothing can be done what is the point of thinking? But ideas, iterations and notating; each have different roles to play in this process of getting to know ourselves.Ideas reflect our current state of understanding of our capacities, the context of the wider world out there and identifying the resources in our ecosystem that we can draw on to accomplish the project in question. The idea journal is something I recommend to every young person who want to do something original: be it a designer, or an entrepreneur.Keeping a journal allows you to track the growth of the clarity and sharpness with which you know the above parameters about yourself. Each new idea is a clearer and sharper articulation of the above parameters. As you browse through this journal later, the growth and transition is something you can observe yourself. You do not need anything or anyone external for this.
- Have An Opinion: A clear opinion helps you fathom why you like or dislike something. For sometime, whatever maybe the field in which you want to eventually make a mark, you should review as much of what is in the public domain. After each review, you should at least decide whether you like it or not. Liking something can mean a lot of different things.Identifying enough number of things that you like gives you:
- An Idea About Your Internal Operative Framework. What is the unique mix of things needed to feel that something is good? Knowing this is a very good preparation for an eventual phase of action. It works well to do this while you are preparing yourself.
- Your Aspirations as a Doer. What would you do if everything that you need to be in place, does in fact come into place? You open the doors to forming collaborative relationships, you allow supporters/investors to figure if they want to support your aspiration.
- What Kind of Future Do You Visualise? For a moment, breaking into fantastical narrative makes sense here. Almost everyone is seeking ways to better their condition in some way. But if there is actually a genie out there, what would it choose to do? Do the people who want to better their condition, have any idea about what and how that would happen? Anything better is too broad and would only confuse the genie more. Window-shopping in this setting is a productive exercise. Having an idea about what is being offered by whom and having an opinion about how each offer is suitable for us helps us be more prepared.
- Look Around: In the field of your choice, every now and then, you should put your ear to the ground. What is the community talking about? Which new offering is innovative? And which misses the point entirely? Looking around helps you define the bounds and the context of your space of eventual practice.
Perform these processes for 90 days – you will definitely feel clearer about yourself than before. And maybe, I will even make the claim that you will have a greater degree of self-knowledge.