Welcome to week 4 of the year! While I was looking up the exact meaning of epiphany, I also discovered it is a Christian celebration day. Not the intention I have with these posts.
This week I took part in Tony Robbins’ Ultimate Challenge. I was a bit sceptical about joining virtually but I must say, he knows how to keep the energy high! Maybe it’s also because I adore the man… But one of the things that stuck with me is the following quote:
The strongest force in human personality is the need to stay consistent with how we define ourselves
In other words, we don’t want to step away from our deepest identities. Even if this means we would have to sabotage ourselves. Our deepest force is to stay consistent with our identity.
But how do you discover your identity? You are more than just your job title. You might be a father, a musician, an athlete, a reader, a go-getter, an entrepreneur etc. Identities often start with “I am …”. However some people also express some of their limiting beliefs as part of their identity. I am unlovable, I am ugly, I am a failure, I am stupid.
Each one of these statements drive our behaviour and define our perception of the world. It gives the glasses we wear colour. So unconsciously we find ways to strengthen our identities, the good and the bad. Because there is nothing better in the human brain than to tell ourselves “I am right in this”. Saying you’re wrong used to be a sign of weakness back in the day when we were hunters and gatherers. It could mean the loss of the group we belonged to. And the loss of the group could mean potential death. That’s why saying you’re wrong can still trigger a fight or flight response. Sometimes we alter the facts or our perception to justify that we are right. Just so we can keep aligned with our identities and beliefs.
So if we make this practical again. What are some of the identities you give to yourself? Which one is pulling you down currently? And which one is currently missing to grow beyond your own expectation? An example of a less good identity you might give yourself is “I am a smoker”. Some people still feel like a smoker even though they have stopped. This is exactly the reason why they’ll eventually start smoking again. Once we start to question the identity we can overcome it.
A better identity might be “I am an athlete”. If you go to the gym twice a week but don’t feel like an athlete it might seem like a burden every time. It might be an easy excuse to stop going if you accidentally skipped going to the gym for 2 weeks. It is only until you feel like you are an athlete that you keep coming back. How do you become convinced that you are an athlete? By questioning your identities.
If you want to discover which identities you have given yourself in all the years, an easy exercise is to sit down behind a laptop and finish the following sentence with at least 30 answers. It doesn’t matter if it’s a role, a characteristic or a belief, just jot it down!