Thursday, May 17, 2012

Abandon your Identity for Growth

Who we think we are holds us in place.  This process is so subtle that it is hard to see even when you understand the concept.  Consider for a second that you want to be a better athlete.  You practice and play and compete until you believe that you are good and you begin to beat the people around you.  Well you are still limited by your self image.  The way that you see yourself is your limitation. If you think that you are a good athlete when you can win a certain number of matches then even while understanding that your self image holds you in place, you do nothing to get to the next level.  Why don't you get a coach?  Well, nobody around me has a coach.  Exactly.  Much of our identity is set by the people we surround ourselves with.  I have learned that as a salesman I must make a herculean effort to outperform my peers.  I must be willing to break rapport and not be liked or approved of in order to be a great performer.  I read somewhere that most people will live their entire lives broke because they have to be liked. 

Identity - How do we define identity?  Well this seems like an easy question.  We are who we are because we choose to be that way.  Let's look at this. We define our identity by how we dress.  We define our identity by how we talk.  We define ourselves by how we set goals and how we work to achieve those goals. We define ourselves by our heritage.  Now look back over the last few sentences.  It isn't a  complete and comprehensive way of how we define our identity but I do want you to notice that everyone of those things is determined by outside influence.  We dress a certain way because that is the way our peers dress, and in order to fit in and be approved of and accepted we must maintain a certain level or method of dress.  Tattooed bikers tend to hang out together as do blonde princess types and nerds and vegetarians.   Obviously, I could demonstrate that every way that we act and interact is determined by the way that we are influenced by our environment and more specifically those people we interact with on a daily basis.  

Abandon your Identity - Becoming a super performer requires us to be able to choose our path and breaking with our current influencers.  We must be willing to abandon our current environment and identity if we are ever going to be able to move ourselves and our lives to the next level.  Have you ever gotten into a rut?  Why is it so difficult to get out of that rut?  Because we are surrounded by people that we believe depend on us to remain in that rut.  Destructive habits go away once we abandon our environment.  I once read that there was a high percentage of US forces in Viet Nam that were addicted to heroin because it was such an easy drug to access while in country.  During the Viet Nam era there was a fear that the US would have to deal with a large number of veterans returning to the US addicted to this very destructive drug.  It turned out that the fears were unfounded.  Upon returning the service members returned to lives where that behavior was unacceptable.   They came back to homes where they were loved and they had responsibilities and goals and dreams.  Most returning veterans were able to drop the drug altogether and never return to it.  How is this possible?  Well the soldiers and sailors were in an environment where heroin use was accepted.  When that environment was abandoned, so were all the habits and tendencies associated with it.  Consider for a second that your ruts, self destructive habits and laziness are products of your environment.  We must be willing to abandon that which gives us identity to take our life to the next level.   Are you unsatisfied with your life?  Could you be better? Do you feel like you are nothing but potential?  Do you ever want to live up to your potential?  You must be willing to abandon your identity to grow. 

Most of my posts are just notes to myself.  I want to be able to remember what I have learned and be able to communicate it well.  If this helps you please let me know by commenting.  Thank you for reading my blog.  Rolando