It’s an interesting concept explored on Raptitude.com but I’m not entirely convinced of it’s universal application in life? Yes, it’s probably a good indicator as you move through daily life, a yard-stick for honing in on the activities that resonate but is it really something one should act on in all cases? He leads into the article with the story of a TV talk show host taking time out from her job because “she didn’t like who she was when she was doing that”.
So that’s all good and well. I get that and I must admit that I’ve reached a similar stage in my corporate and Johannesburg life. Right now though, it’s not as simple as just walking away. Or is it? We have commitments to both B and Caz for tertiary education. If I walk away now then I don’t think I’ll be able to meet those.
“That thought — Do I like who I am while I’m doing this? — has visited me a few times a year ever since, and I’m finally seeing how crucial a question it is. We ought to ask it about everything we do regularly in our lives. If the answer is “No,” then it makes sense to ask how we ended up making it a regular part of our lifestyle, and whether it’s necessary or worthwhile.”
I agree with David. While it would seem a natural thing to do we do actually “seem to be driven more by expectations, gratification and momentum”. As with most things in life, making sure this doesn’t happen requires specific effort and attention.
So, back to the all-pervasive question at hand. If I don’t like who I am when I’m at work all day but I know I need to stick it out for another couple of years at least, then what to do? What I do know for sure is that my overall sense of well-being takes a dive when I don’t take time out for regular outdoor activities, when I don’t actively engage in manual labour and basic chores to keep our lives moving forward. Just the simple act of repairing the axe and chopping firewood yesterday was something that made me like who I was. Rushing out to buy a bottle of red for supper is debatable. Maybe short term I think I like who I am but afterwards I don’t. I do know I don’t like who I am so much when I sit behind a desk for 8 straight hours, day in and day out. I do know a little bit of variety in the daily routine helps. I do like who I am when on board the yacht. I don’t like who I am in the daily traffic grind. And so it goes……..
At the end of the day, like many things in life, I’ll need to compromise with the work situation. As I have for many years now I’ll need to actively ensure that I (mostly) only engage in those aspects of work that are more satisfying, those aspects of work that help me “like who I am” a little better.