3 Steps to Answering Life’s Greatest Questions
Two questions that studies have shown over a lifetime human-beings have either contemplated or struggled with the most, is Who Am I? and What Am I Here For? Today, I want to give you 3 simple, practical steps you can apply to your life, that will help you answer these two important questions. The significance is this, once you know the answer, it changes your life!
Step 1: Change the Question
The first step involves changing the question from who are you, to the real question, which is who do you wish to become?
I’ve spoken about this topic before but recently I came across a book that unlocked a new way to think about this subject. The book is called Atomic Habits by James Clear – I STRONGLY recommend you check this one out. I don’t care if you’re not a reader I’m telling you, this book will take you beyond our discussion here today, so get a copy! (And no I do not receive any benefits for telling you to do this lol)
There are many books out there about habits but one thing that stood out in this book was the correlation between identity and habits. Many of us often think we know what our identity is , however when we take the time to analyze our habits, we realize our habits don’t really represent who we THOUGHT we were. For this reason, we start off this first step by replacing the question of who am I, with who do I wish to become!
Who do you wish to become?
In order to answer this question you have to start by defining what you value. Now, I”m going to open myself up here a little bit and share with you how I did this.
Example of how I did this:
- I took an empty list of 15, 10, and 5 lines, while analyzing a list of values.[See values image]
- I then reviewed each value listing out the ones that were important to me while also adding in a few of my own that came to mind
- Here’s what the final list looked like
Now, you’re list will look different than mine, because it represents your values.
There’s also a chance when you sit down to do an exercise like this you may feel super overwhelmed at first, trying to figure out what your personal values are and that’s ok.
Take your time with this. You might need a few days to think about which values are important to you, take that time, really think about this, don’t just jot down whatever sounds nice. Think about which values are important to you currently, then think about which values you wish to hold in the future.
Once you complete this list, I want you to begin looking at it from right to left while asking yourself this question. Do my habits currently support these values?
This question isn’t meant to be a negative question but an awareness question.
I’ll be honest, in the past I tried to define things like this before and I never could complete it, and if I did, I was only writing down the things that I WISHED to value. It was easy to write down that I valued things like integrity, honesty etc, but I quickly realized that my habits didn’t support that identity. I was creating a false identity because your identity is rooted in your habits! This truth forced me to think about how I could approach things differently by focusing on doing one thing today that would represent each value I listed, starting with only the right side (first 5), then working my way through the other values. Once you are aware of your current habits, you can change them and grow!
As author James Clear says in his book “Your identity emerges out of your habits. Every action is a vote for the type of person you wish to become!” So which person are your habits casting votes for?
Step 2: Define Your Identity
List out the current roles, strengths, and passions that make up who you currently are, or wish to become
I’ve mentioned this step before in previous videos, but today I want to delve a little deeper into how you can do this, and even share a personal example.
Your roles can be the current responsibilities you hold, relationships, a career you aspire to achieve, even if you’re not in that particular career yet, it’s still a part of your identity, and I’m going to show you how. I also want you to list your strengths if you know them, your passions, and anything else that represents who you are or who you wish to become.
Here’s an example:
- Make a list taking inventory of all the current roles, passions, and strengths that make up my identity.
- This gives you an example of how you can begin to think about what makes up your identity.
- If your list isn’t that big at this point don’t worry, your list will upgrade and evolve over time, the key is to find your starting point!
Once you’ve completed your list, now the fun part begins, which leads us to Step 3!
Step 3: Maximize Your Identity
Take a look at your list, now ask yourself this, am I practicing habits that support each aspect of the identity I just listed?
Think of it this way: Whenever you dip a small towel into water, it expands the pores of the fabric until it’s capacity is maximized. Once you maximize it’s capacity you can pour that out into a bowl.
Let’s say the bowl represents the world, the glass of water represents your habits, and the small towel, well, that represents your identity.
The same is true when it comes to the impact your habits have on your identity. Your habits are the key factor that help maximize your identity in to the world
Every time you practice a habit that supports your identity your are expanding and growing that portion of your identity.
So let’s recap these 3 steps:
- First step is changing that question of Who Am I, to Who Do I Wish To Become? This will lead to defining what you value, which creates a foundation for everything else.
- Once you define what you value, the next step is to list out those roles, strengths, and passions that currently make up your identity, or who you wish to become.
- Finally, the last step deals with taking the time to assess if your habits support each aspect of that identity
My goal is that this would add value to your life. Hopefully after watching this you feel more confident in defining Who you are, and What you’re here for. I encourage you to take some time and walk through the steps we discussed, turn off the distractions and really dive into this. I know how scary it can feel to experience this grey area in life, where there’s no real excitement or motivation for discovering and living out your life purpose. You don’t have to live that way, walking through these 3 steps can help bring some clarity to your life, so dive in, give it a try, and most importantly remember, success is your destiny!