Get to Know Yourself!

When you meet someone new, you’ll ultimately wind up talking about yourself.  So what do you tell people? My guess is that you start out with your name and occupation, but you don’t go into a lot of details—after all, who knows if this guy (or girl) is a real nut job? You wouldn’t want a total stranger knowing your secrets, and besides, we’re all so used to talking about our jobs to describe ourselves that it’s pretty common.

If you could tell someone anything and everything about yourself, do you even know what you’d say? Who are you? Do you even know who you are?

We all Grow and Change

Understanding yourself takes time, and it’s not always easy. Ever think back to your teenage years and wonder “Why the hell did I do that?” about some particularly dumb stunt you pulled or a crazy decision you made? We all go through phases in our lives because it’s normal, and we all have to learn from our mistakes. If you hadn’t gone through those things, you probably wouldn’t be who you are today.

Which leads back to my original question … who are you?

You’re a Whole Person

I receive a lot of emails from people that “want to know my secret” because I finally have a career that I love (working for myself) and I’m currently travelling through Europe (something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.)
I offer a lot of advice right here on this website regarding how I got to this point in my life, but in order to live the life that you want to lead, you’ve got to understand yourself— you, the total package.
You’re George, not George the Accountant. You’re Becky, not Becky the Teacher. If you’re in a relationship, you’re a lot more than half of a couple, and if you’re a parent, you’re much more than Mom or Dad.
Even though you have specific responsibilities at work / to your spouse or partner / to your children …. you’re still a person with interests and hobbies. Don’t forget that. All too often, people do. It’s a reason that a lot of people get depressed when their job ends, they get divorced, or their children go off to college.

Know What you Want Out of Life

My challenge to you is this: start thinking about yourself a lot more often than you do now. Get to know yourself better. After all, you’ve got friends (most likely, anyway) that enjoy your company. Why do they like being around you?
• Figure out what you want from life.
• Accept your strengths and weaknesses.
• Know what bothers you and what makes you happy.
These are just a few quick suggestions to get the ball rolling. What else should we do to understand ourselves? Give me some ideas!
Take Action. Get Results.

18 thoughts on “Get to Know Yourself!”

  1. Hi Steve,

    Super question in this post which we should all take the time to answer.

    It baffles me how many people live other people’s lives since they don’t know themselves. They think of themselves as others think of them, or they define themselves as a worker, child or parent when they are infinitely more.

    Knowing yourself takes serious introspection, which takes some time. But if you are going to spending time, why not spend it getting to know yourself better? This is better for you and every person you touch.

    Ryan Biddulph

    • Thanks for a great comment Ryan. Almost missed it, it was in the “spam” folder.

      Having real self knowledge certainly does take some introspection. Like total immersion in another language simply “not talking” about what you Do can really force you to put into words “who you are”

      As you pointed out, in the long run the effort is worth it as you better yourself and have a more significant impact on those around you.

      • Thanks for catching it Steve. It happens because of the “cash” in the URL, it’s picked up as spam at times, but I promise, I publish quality content at RBs Keys 😉

        • I feel you, I know something about my posts sometimes send them to spam folders sometimes too. (usually first time I comment on a site) It is frustrating to leave good comments and not ever see them posted

  2. Scott, I always try to avoid talking about “what I do” when I first meet someone. I don’t want my identity, as it stands in that persons mind, to be attached to the way I make money.

    It has also made me get more creative with things to talk about. Sometimes, we get lazy, and default back to what we do as a crutch. If you truly know yourself, you will probably find there are many more important things to talk about.

    • People spend a good portion of their lives at work. It becomes easy (and lazy) to fall into the rote of “I am a….” I think that people are much more than what job they do and what they do outside of work is often much more interesting.

      Of course, like you said it is a crutch and can also be a fallback for people when they don’t know what else to say but it should likely be avoided if possible.

      Thanks for stopping by Joshua. I appreciate your fine comment!

  3. Steve

    A very thought provoking post (with some good realisation questions). For me, its important that I look within myself to find answers for problems that effect me. In this ‘information age’ it is very difficult to understand ‘who I am’.

    Friends are very important, but today’s world we are subjected to so much information that we take the information as being our friends.

    Change first begins at home, in your own heart, in your own mind and thoughts. Once we make the first move, it becomes more easier to learn who we as individuals are.

  4. Awesome post. You make a really good point that most people actually define themselves by what they do. Finding out who you really are is not the easiest thing to do, but it’s very important. It definitely helps every once in a while to ask yourself what you really hope to accomplish in life, then look around and figure out if you are really moving in the right direction.

  5. Thanks Brian, introspection surely isn’t easy but you did define a good method to go about it. Really taking a moment and seeing if what you are doing can really guide you to your destination. Good Stuff.

  6. This week I was going through my stuff to see what I can get rid of (I’m moving in a couple months and tired of carting around junk I never even use anymore) and I found my art supplies– paints, brushes, charcoal, all that good stuff. I’m certainly no artist, but I took a few classes last summer and I really enjoyed what I learned. Now that my daughter is bigger and demands a lot more of my attention it’s just about impossible to break out the paints for fear of it all winding up on my kitchen walls.

    It actually seems that most of my hobbies have fallen to the wayside– I love making scrapbooks to preserve memories for my family to have when I’m no longer on this earth, and I haven’t worked on those in well over a year either.

    Lately if someone asks me about myself, all I talk about is my daughter, my husband, and my job — even though I know definitely a lot more than that! Gotta work on that, I guess I will add it to the list of things to tackle. 🙂

  7. hello Steve,

    Usually when I describe myself, I tell people my name and what I do. This helps steer the conversation towards what I want other people to know about me…which is what I do and what am good at.

    Understanding oneself is not easy and it takes time. But this is essential to know what we want out of life. Finding out who we truly are is important to be happy and successful in life…

    Really enjoyed your post and the conversation….

    • Thanks Adam

      Letting people know what you do is fine, but I think it should not define you. Of course if you are really passionate about your work, and it is more than just a J-O-B it can take a larger piece of who you are, but still you should have more than that to really define yourself.

  8. That was a very thought provoking post. My view on this has changed a lot with age, but I think the problem of defining yourself by what you do is more of a male thing.

    How many ‘bios’ do you read on the web where you’re told ‘mother of two’. I do it myself and I don’t know why. It’s not a qualification. What interests me is that you rarely see it on sites run by men ‘father of two wonderful boys’ isn’t a description you see much!

    I noticed my children are often mentioned in comments on this very blog – I think most are relevant, but there’s no getting around the fact that females with children spend more time thinking about them (and their husbands) than they do about themselves.

    Sometimes we don’t know who we are because we’re not sure who we should be. I Have found age very liberating. When I passed fifty I started to care less about what other people think – and that’s a joy because it has left me free to discover without censure.

    But I don’t want to get myself completely fathomed out. Now that I’m not worried about the whole thing, I’m enjoying the process of discovery. Shame it took so long to get started though!

    • Certainly mother or father are important roles and SHOULD be foremost in your mind. But I don’t think that it should define who you are. Of course I do not have children and could never really understand because I do not…

      Not caring what people think is a great thing IMO. Of course you should not try to hurt or abuse people, I would even go as far as trying to please people if it is inconsequential to you. But living a life where all you do is try to make others happy really is not a very positive thing.

  9. I laughed out loud when I read this line “Why the hell did I do that?”

    So many times we make choices without really thinking it through. Often we just go along.

    And it’s so easy to get caught up in “what you do” vs. “who you are”.

    Great post, I’m glad I found your site.

  10. As soon as I finished college, I already know what career I want in life. My small investment from my allowance mold me to be a future businessman. Now, we already started an small business with my family. Hopefully, this will grow within few years time.

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