“An identity would seem to be arrived at by the way in which a person faces and uses his experience.” James Baldwin
There is an exemplar phrase in NLP which goes, “I can’t do that, here.” The sentence illustrates several ‘excuses’ why people don’t do things.
“I can’t do that here” – Emphasis on the beliefs and values level: What keeps me away from doing the task? Who told me that I am not made for to do that?
“I can’t do that here” – Emphasis on the capability level: Do I need additional skills, techniques or methods to proceed?
“I can’t do that here” – Emphasis on the behavior level: What kind of actions can I do? Does the task have a positive intention? Is it in accordance with my personal development?
“I can’t do that here” – Emphasis on the environment level: Where, when, with whom could I take action? What is my ideal working environment? What time of the day will be best?
(Copied from Ansus Consulting Blog.)
The astute will notice that I haven’t opened with the ‘I’ part, which goes to the crux of this article. What is it about ‘I’ that can either stop us doing something – or actually enable us?
Our identity is more than our name. As Baldwin suggests, it is an encyclopaedia containing every experience, lesson and unifying principle to which we have been exposed. Some have been imposed, some have been chosen – hopefully by the time you’ve read some of my blogs you’d certainly have chosen the latter.
But Identity is not something set, once baked. (Or half-baked.) Identity is something fluid, which changes as experience changes, as lessons and understanding change, and as we choose to change. That last one – choice – is something we must do for ourselves. Better still, it is something we can do for ourselves. If we want to, that is.
Ever heard someone say ‘that’s just not me?’ If you have, and if you were unenlightened at that time, you probably scoffed, but the truth is that when someone uses that expression – it is the truth.
But what is also true is that the individual can choose to make ‘that’ part of them; they can choose to learn the new skill, to accept the new value, and to change their way of thinking. They can do it in the moment, or over time.
At YB12 Best Year Ever© one of the first exercises that we encourage our clients to undergo is for them to conduct an exercise in Self-Analysis, to discover what’s important to them, what’s stopping them, and to decide whether they want to do something about it. The objective is not necessarily change, but a ‘subjectively objective’ process to explore, and then decide whether they are content with who they are. The rationale is as much to derive contentment in who they are as much as discontent. So many people ‘strive’ for something they think they want, only to find that it wasn’t them who wanted it – it was their family, their friends or their society. The gap between ‘who they are’ and ‘what they’re encouraged to want’ is identified, and the choice then made in terms of which to pursue.
All of those choices are what makes a HUGE part of who we are – our Identity.
And once we know, explore or even change who we are – we can decide what we CAN do, and where we can do it. Properly.