Find your purpose. Find your why. Find your passion. Find your opportunity. Find the ‘place where it all comes from’. If it isn’t these kinds of conversations, its, 7-steps to wealth, 30 days to fitness, 4 hot tips to wellness, 9 incredible steps to lead a life you love, fake it til you make it.
These are all goals and paths that I see being spruiked and talked about every day.
In the same days, I see people chasing empty dreams, people feeling unhappy with what they are doing, transient jobs, transient goals, and ever changing focus. Chasing the faster way to achieve some kind of goal external to oneself, money, body fat percentage etc.
To anyone looking for what to do next, I say, Start with WHO.
Start with who you want to be. Don’t worry about your why, don’t worry about your purpose until you know the kind of person that you want to be. How can you control an outcome external to you, without being the master of your own perception of self. How can you advance yourself and your happiness in any meaningful way without knowing the kind of person you are and the kind of person you want to be?
Who you are is with you in every moment, of everyday. It informs every decision, it is with you in the darkest hours and the brightest moments…. Do you know who that person is?
Your who will affect your why, it will affect your purpose, it will affect how you approach each day, each problem and each success. ‘Who’ you are is something that you are always in control of, so you have it with you in the good times, in the public eye and when you are on your own.
I believe that the reason that so many people are unhappy in a time of unparalleled opportunity and luxury for so many, is that many people have lost connection to who they are. If you don’t know who you are, you rely on external factors to fulfil you. If you don’t know who you are, and have standards to which you hold yourself accountable, then you can find yourself deep into a life that makes you miserable.
I am all about practical, so let’s have a look at how you can get to your who.
First, cut out the bullshit. Stop bullshitting yourself, stop bullshitting others. Don’t try and force your ‘Who’ to come from any particular place, or fit some kind of external circumstance, or look like something that presents well when you talk about it to others. If you bullshit yourself in early days, you will never find your actual ‘who’ and will never find the consonance you need between your mind and your actions to be truly happy.
Before you jump to it, ‘Being happy’ is not a Who, it is a result of being your who, and working towards being the best version of yourself.
Second, every ‘who’ has pro’s and cons. So embrace your real ‘who’ and then assess the pros and cons of what that means. Your ‘who’ might include that you have very high standards, that you demand the best out of yourself at all times. A pro of this kind of ‘who’ can be that you might do some really great work, a ‘con’ of the same trait might be that you might never be truly satisfied with your outcomes, believing you can always do better, or that you might be isolated because your high standards make it hard for you to accept less.
It doesn’t matter what your who is, it only matters that you recognise it and own it. Sometimes the hardest part of finding your who is admitting that some of the things aren’t what we’d like them to be. You might be trying to find happiness, but you are naturally cynical, by denying your natural cynicism you might be actually making it harder to be happy. Instead, once you have found your who, you can work on using who you are to find real happiness. Sometimes the path is not easy, but I will discuss that at a later date.
Thirdly, you ‘Who’ shouldn’t be made up of a bunch of words.
Values as words are dangerous. Words can have different meanings, words can be interpreted differently. Your who should be made up of a couple of questions, or filters. Questions you can ask yourself in every situation. Filters you can use on all of your actions, goals and why’s.
Perhaps part of your who is ‘to look after your family’. A pro of this ‘who’ can be that you are an attentive and loving family member. A con could be that you act in a manner that is to the detriment of others in order to look after your family. Plenty of organised crime is committed under the guise of looking after ‘the family’. The ‘Who question’ in this instance might be “Am I doing the best thing for my family?”
If your who is a question then before you do anything at all, you can ask yourself, Am I doing this in line with x? Am I following my who? Am I improving on the person that I want to be? When the answer is yes more often than no, then you will find yourself being happier. Regardless of your external circumstances.
Your who is not all you are. It is a goal, an outcome and a prescription for yourself about how to conduct your life. You will have times where you drift from it, but when you have a who, you can work back towards being the person that you want to be. BEING the PERSON you want to BE. Not having the things you want to have, looking the way you want to look, saying the things you want to say…. It’s about being the person you want to be. It provides a centre for you to return to, a path to look towards and a measuring stick by which to gauge your progress as a person.
I don’t believe that in life you regret missed chances for external gain. I believe that you regret opportunities to act as the person you believe you should be. In the end we regret the times that we acted contrary to our nature, contrary to the kind of person we want to be.
So, in action. How does this work?
Well personally, my ‘Who’, the who that I aspire to be and maintain. The questions I ask myself every day to remain close to my ‘who’ are as follows.
“Am I working as hard as I can possibly work?”
“Am I being nice and helping others?”
“Am I doing more than I am talking about?”
“Am I doing this the right way, not necessarily the easy way?”
“Am I practicing what I preach?”
“Am I being empirically good at what I am doing?”
These are my main who questions. They help keep me focused.
Who am I? I hope to be a hard worker. I take the question “Am I working as hard as I can possibly work?” and I refuse to fail as a result of my work ethic. I might fail at something due to lack of talent, but to maintain my who it will never be for lack of trying. When I don’t work that hard for some reason…. I feel shitty, and I know the only way to properly fix it is to get back on the grind. On the downside, I have trouble sometimes deciding when some time away from work would actually be beneficial to how much work I can do. Every who has pros and cons. I have many questions, and twice as many pros and cons, more than I can write here. They are for me, and they are mine. But across all my questions, and all my pros and cons I try to keep a standard to which I can hold myself.
I stray, certainly. Some days I come home from work, and I haven’t worked as hard as I can possibly work. Some days I don’t train as hard as I can possibly train. Some days I tell people to do things (i.e. eat clean) that I haven’t been doing.
It is those moments, that I feel my worst, when there is dissonance between the person WHO I want to be and the person that I am being. I have carried these WHO questions through the many different things I have done in my life so far. I encourage you to cut the bullshit and find yours, and find it for no one else but you.
I'd love to hear how you go. Thanks for taking the time to read and share the beginning of working on your Who. Be real, be you, and as always Just Be Nice.
Josh Reid Jones - Founder of The Just Be Nice Project and Odin Sports