paul le

On "Finding Yourself"

A phrase that is often said by people who are unsure of what they want to do with their life - especially after high school - is that they need to “find themselves”. This is typically associated with thoughts of travelling the world or embarking on a new journey that takes them far from where they grew up. The implication is that once they complete their adventures, they would have “found themselves” somehow along the way.

I would argue that “finding yourself” is a continuous process that you constantly develop throughout your life, and that you never actually “find yourself”. It’s not a final end goal that you ever achieve, but rather a process where you constantly evolve as you gain more life experiences. In fact, if you spend your whole life waiting to find yourself, then you will have wasted your time.

In the book, Mastery by Robert Greene, he never actually specifies a point where you would ever call yourself a “master” at anything. Achieving “mastery” just means that you now have a bigger picture view of your area of expertise. However, you don’t just stop once you get there. You still follow many of the previous steps you took to get to that stage, just at a higher level.

Even in the beginning stages, where you are “finding your calling”, it is never really a binary process where you either have found your calling or have not. It’s a journey that you follow, where you incrementally approach your natural inclinations.

The best thing that you can do is to have as many diverse experiences as you can. Read books on topics you typically do not read about. Watch movies or TV shows in genres you usually would not watch. Learn about new things that you have never explored before. Try new things and make plenty of mistakes.

It is through this incremental process of constantly refining your own image of yourself that you “find yourself”.