If you want to impact the world, you first have to recognize what the world’s about. If you can’t say you’ve done the same for yourself, how will you do it for anyone else?
“Who am I?” is one of the most painful questions to ask. It’s humiliating because you feel as though you should already know the answer, but maybe you don’t. Admitting that you don’t is uncomfortable, though. It’s embarrassing and maybe even scary. And so of course, what do people do when something is difficult? We ignore it. We move on. We run, we hide. If I can’t see it, it can’t see me.
We can be very predictable sometimes.
Here’s the truth: If you never face up to this question, it’s going to keep coming back to you. I guarantee it. You can turn your head away from truth for a while, but it’s always going to be there. Always. And I’m sure the last thing you want to lose sight of is your own identity.
Or, maybe you’ve convinced yourself you know who you are. Maybe for years you’ve told yourself you were one thing, but deep down you knew you were meant for something bigger - you just couldn’t bring yourself to admit it. The fear of what could possibly lie ahead might’ve been too much for you to handle, so you decided to hide from it. You could act confident on the outside, fooling yourself and others into believing that’s who you are, but the truth will eventually catch up.
So how do you discover who you are? How can you know for sure who you’re meant to be?
Start asking yourself questions. Big questions. What were the traits you’ve had since birth? Who have you always been? What talents have always been natural to you? Even if you can’t answer them on your own, ask someone you’ve known for a long time to help you. Family, or friends that have been around as long as you can remember.
I have a theory that everyone has at least one character quality deeply written into our core - whatever it is, I believe it’s important to recognize.
There's a guy that plays a Hello Kitty drum set on the streets for people to walk by and listen to. Some may argue that it’s fake creativity, a sign of low character and that people like him are a poor reflection of society. I know a lot of people may look down on him because it seems like he’s trying too hard to find a “niche” or be “special” - in that sense he may appear to be a fraud or someone that’s just trying to take your money. I can also imagine many people have negative opinions about him because “he’s trying too hard to get attention”. I’m sure there’s a lot of opinions, I can predict probably most of them.
To hell with these opinions. I think it’s hilarious! For one thing, all street musicians are trying to get attention. He’s not being any different, so why pick on him? Using a Hello Kitty drum set - I actually think it’s funny. Why? Because I constantly hear people say things like, “Man, I really wish I could play drums but I just can’t afford a drum set.”
That apparently wouldn’t stop this guy.
Don’t worry, I’m not telling you to quit your job to do something random like this. You don’t need to go to the nearest toy store to “find your identity”. The reason I brought up the Hello Kitty drummer is because I think there’s something we can learn from him.
He obviously doesn’t give a rip about what anyone is thinking. You shouldn’t either. Maybe being a drummer isn’t at his core, but maybe rhythm is. Hello Kitty certainly isn’t at his core, but maybe humor is. I don’t know this guy’s story, I don’t know what challenges he’s facing or his reasons for doing what he does, but I admire his willing to stand out for the mere pleasure of following his interests.
So on your quest for discovering your identity, remember it may take a long time and it’s definitely going to take guts. The drummer might not know his real purpose yet, but he’s got some clues. The good news is that we all have clues, it’s just a matter of putting the clues together. (Easier said than done, I know.)
If you want to impact the world, you have to be confident in who you are. Frankly, that’s going to take some effort.