Years ago, a friend of mine who had recently acquired life-coach training and a certificate, offered to get me out of the life rut that I was in at that time. Side note: most all of us are in some kind of a rut at some time. Often these ruts root from our own state of mind, and the actions we may or may not be taking. Anyway, so Coach sits me down across a cup of coffee and begins with a ‘how are you?’ and moves into unpeeling my internal hurdles to growth.
Even though I was familiar with many similar processes, playing a true participant was fun. Incognisant of my knowhow, she trudged on with the process and I smilingly followed her simple but well-intentioned lead.
Halfway through the session, she said, “Raju now we’ve got to define your being.”
What do you mean?
We have to articulate your uniqueness as a human being in one sentence, she responded.
As a person, what do you really and truly care for, she asked.
Well, I care for honesty. I care for courage. I care that people ought to be compassionate and kind to each other, I responded.
What else, she went on?
Uh, I also do like when people speak and say exactly what they mean and mean what they. That is important to me; I said and smiled.
And, what do you want to be doing in the coming five to ten years, she asked.
I would like to be reading, writing, studying the sciences and philosophies. I would like to be helping others get clarity then lead a happy and fulfilling life. Yes, that is what I would like to be doing, I replied confidently.
Right, she replied, so your uniqueness Raju is that you are a courageous, compassionate, authentic being who wants to help other beings get clarity then lead a happy and fulfilling life.
I smiled, and she said, could you articulate that sentence and then write it down on a piece of paper, please?
Then she asked me to memorise that statement to remind me of who I was and what my intentions were. I must confess, that it felt good and uplifting at that moment but for the life of me, I could not ever remember those words as they were strung together. Though I kept that piece of paper, I could never recite that sentence from memory. Even as of this writing, those words sound beautiful but are a bit misty on my mind.
My Coach friend that day was trying to steel weld the link between my identity and my intentions. She was doing this because linking both these extremes integrates people. Knowing yourself correctly and knowing what you want precisely makes for a powerful partnership towards success.
Your identity is the sum total of all that you believe in and all that you value. These beliefs and these values, over your lifetime, have accumulated into a single entity…you. Your genetic structure, your environment, your influences, your education, and your experiences keep stacking up into becoming you. For a large part of your life, you have little control over these elements but over time you begin to take charge. You begin to choose and carve out your own self. You begin to become a Michael Angelo to your own David-you. Yes, it does matter how early on in your life you pick up the chisel and hammer and how consciously, courageously, creatively, compassionately, and constructively you begin to use these tools. Therein lies self-mastery. Therein, your identity morphs your intentions into destiny.
In my experience, there are many schools of thought and a variety of processes, which will equip you with the abilities to carve out your desired destinies. There are many methods, which help you connect your identity to your intentions. I believe my Coach friend was using one of the better ones, back in the day.
For you, may I offer five questions, which will walk you through a similar process? Reflecting upon these questions deeply will help you ‘know thyself’ better. Answering these questions with courage and precision will propel you towards your desired. I suggest, take paper and pen and write your responses in simple and succinct words. Sketch your thoughts if you can and prefer.
1. What are a few human behaviors that turn you on the most?
When I say, “turn you on” I mean, they either appeal or anger you massively. If they appeal to you then they are something you value. If they anger you then the opposite of those behaviors are what you value.
At this point, let me briefly define values. Values are strongly held beliefs about life, living; about what is right, wrong, or fair. Our values influence the choices we make and the actions we take. Some values are imposed and influenced upon us, while others are our true choices. It is possible that you may value wealth and it is possible that you will value commitment. The first is a terminal value, sometimes called a goal while the second one is an instrumental value.
Choosing a few from both types is fine as long as you reflect deeply, honestly and think through the pros and cons of each value. Do remember that who you are and what you want; your identity and your intentions are not stationary objects. They are in a state of constant flux; improving, growing, and evolving every day. For example, years ago, personal freedom was something I valued. Today, I value kindness and compassion.
2. What are those one or two things that most consume your time and energy daily?
What consumes my energy most is putting together sciences, philosophies, and practices of human behavior. Most of my time is spent in thinking, reflecting, writing, presenting, and publishing principles for people development. I value growth and emancipation.
What might be consuming your energies might be business ideas, news, literature, discussions, and studies. Thus, your values might be enterprise, productivity, wealth accumulation, or even service. You could be a parent whose life and times are filled with how to raise and nurture children. Thus, your values might be parental love or family.
Anything. As long as you know and recognise it as something, that occupies your mind and heart. That is what you value. There is no need to compare our values with others. This is not a contest. Everyone is unique. All we are doing here is acknowledging what we indulge in most of the time.
3. What do you dream about? More specifically, what do you daydream about?
What is that constant conversation that is going on in your head about the future? No, not about what happened in the past. What is it that you think about when you sit by a window and gaze into the clouds? What kind of reverie do you get lost in while you are wide-awake and calm?
When you reflect upon this question, be cautious of words like, ‘I should, I need to, I must, I have to, etc.,” Statements with words such as these are driven by values imposed and influenced by your environment and others. You want to listen to statements that lighten up your daydreams. Statements with words like, ‘I choose, I want, I love, etc.’
The thoughts during these quiet moments are a dance between your unconscious and your conscious mind. It is a challenging conversation to capture but when cued by this question it is possible to remember the essence of your daydreaming.
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4. What exactly, unconditionally do you want?
Yes, this requires a bold response. A very bold, clear, and perhaps even a radical-to-your-environment response. Do note that as an individual in the game of life with another 7.5 Billion people, you do have to make certain adjustments; you have to abide by the rules of society.
Yet through all those demands, all that noise and traffic you need to pin your destination so you can chart out a map. If you will not be able to spell out the exact coordinates of your destination then there is no way that the map will take you to where you want to go.
Yes, at a later stage, a strategy will have to be devised and goals will have to be set. For now, it is important to sit back, run through all the knick-knacks that make up for your life, and decide on what in heaven’s name do you really want.
At this stage, the conversations between your conscious and unconscious mind need to be taking place in the cerebral cortex without the irrational fears that lurk in the unconscious.
Watch this video: Making Your Dreams Come True For A Higher Purpose
5. What are the things, in your current state of affairs, which you are willing to let go of?
An eagle atop a cliff, when she wants to reach a higher point, needs to leap off the cliff. She needs to let go of safety, security, and comfort.
All our ideal, future states are always a distance away in time and in space. Thus, the travel from here to there has a cost, effort, and time involved.
Think about this very carefully and logically. The things that you may have to let go of may not be ‘things’ in the literal sense. They might be hard-held beliefs, habits, or affections to safety and comfort. It is best to diligently list down ones you must part with.
Many years ago, I wanted to be more involved in my work in the other parts of the world but I kept hovering around and getting involved in India. The reason was that my affections towards an elder sister kept drawing me there. I knew what I wanted. I also could not let go. It was a value clash between what my heartfelt happiness with and what my head knew was better for my professional growth.
Answering this question carefully will let you leap off a cliff and land you onto the echelons of your choice.
Questions one to three will give you clarity into your own identity and self-knowledge. Questions three to five will solidify your intentions.
When these two sides are established and you dig in your heels with resolve then building a bridge between your identity and intentions will become an intuitive, automatic process. Every single moment, every single day, every little action you take will be a fruitful one.
It will be like laying bricks between two well-aligned pillars.
All through this process, your values and visions gain higher resolution. You become emotionally calm, confident, brave, authentic, and even compassionate towards all others who are on journeys of their own. The difference will be that you will ‘know thyself’ and know why and where you are headed.
Here are the five questions, all over again,
- What are a few human behaviors/factors that turn you on the most?
- What are those one or two things that most occupy your energy and daily time?
- What do you dream about? More specifically, what do you daydream about?
- What exactly, unconditionally do you want?
- What are the things, in your current state of affairs, which you are willing to let go of?
Indulge and immerse yourself in these questions. Put your heart and mind into answering them such that you will never have to memorise stuff like, “so your uniqueness Raju is that you are a courageous, compassionate, authentic being who wants to help other beings get clarity then lead a happy and fulfilling life.”
Have a good flight!
Watch the video Linking IDENTITY to INTENTIONS