Our lives begin by figuring out the world and how we relate to it. As a young child you were soon asked what you wanted to be when you grew up. Before you were even remotely finished with reacting to the world around you, adults wanted you to pick a career, pick a side, and start choosing your goals in life.
As adults we often hit an invisible interior wall. Difficulties arise, and along the way we learn how to figure out strategies for coping with life’s challenges. In the hard times, we go back to the square one question of asking ourselves who we want to be. We wonder if we can refresh the screen of our surroundings, or reboot the operating system of our mind.
Every person, around the world has hopes, dreams, and aspirations. Whether you grew up eating with a golden spoon or a wooden spoon, once you began forming your own personality and figuring out the world, you began collecting experiences and personal ways of interacting with others.
Our ancestors were hardwired to be social and to know how to survive, or else we wouldn’t be living here, in a society. To a greater or lesser degree, each of us is our own social experiment. If we’re lucky enough to live free from the type of restrictive social constraints found in some parts of the world, we can change who we are with less social resistance. In Western societies we have the most relative freedom, and we live in a world of larger social spheres, wider possibilities, and shifting perspectives. Many of our daily social interactions are of our own choosing.
Changing your life in any significant way is difficult. You can’t do it overnight, unless you are very lucky. Do you want to get healthier, start a company, become a movie star, form a band, invent the next useful and fun product, or become the person you always felt like you were meant to be? Prepare to stick with not one, but multiple processes.
In our overly self-aware postmodern world, we are sometimes forced to think like a 3-D chess master, always seeing our potential careers, relationships, and social situations several steps ahead. We live in a society that celebrates big, splashy victories, while always reminding us of the perils of too much success. Extreme success can remove you from your community and family, just as much as extreme poverty and failure. We’ve been given the message that if you fly too high, you’ll lose contact with your roots, and wither away. On the other side of the coin people do reinvent their lives, often in surprising ways. They may even shock themselves and everyone they know. To get to a place of tangible personal reinvention, there is value in stopping and asking questions, looking inside yourself, and getting back in touch with a way of seeing and being that you lost touch with somewhere along the line. You know if you’re able to get yourself back on track, you can leave a stagnant, choice-less version of your life, and connect again with what used to keep you engaged in life.