Finding Yourself is Necessary

Finding your true self is a quest. Although this is not a groundbreaking or novel concept, when you embark on the path of personal growth, finding yourself becomes offensively necessary. In my previous blog post Planning & Productivity for Personal Growth, I talk about how I see productivity only through the lens of my personal development. 

Based on my personal experience, productivity is nothing if there isn’t a purpose connected to the act of being productive. Chasing productivity to achieve more in less time is not a purpose in and of itself because it doesn’t guarantee you will find yourself. Productivity is not something you consume. It is a way of being that leads you to where you aspire to be. Becoming productive isn’t going to help your personal growth if you focus on the things, people, and aspects of your life that are not in alignment with who you are. In other words, you can be productive and still head in the opposite direction of where you actually envision yourself going. 

Productivity becomes everything when it’s closely tied to your personal growth. 

Your Flow Signature

I started getting interested in productivity because I was looking for more personal fulfillment. I was looking for more meaning, getting more pleasure out of my day, and deeper relationships with people. In essence, I was looking for a deeper internal relationship with myself. My purpose was not to do more in less time. It was to focus on what I align well with so I can add meaning to my relationship with myself and others. As a result, I envisioned experiencing simple fulfillment throughout the day.

That is what productivity becomes when you find your true self – experiencing fulfillment as you flow from one activity to another throughout the day. That’s it! At least that’s what productivity means to me. Not just getting shit done but getting it done with a flow that carries my signature.

Finding your true self is a conscious, intentional act. This act needs consistency and it is constant. Once you find your base, establish your foundation, you don’t stop. You pay very close attention as you build on that foundation. It’s a way of being that is not for everyone, but anyone can do it! Don’t expect it to be easy, but understand that it is very simple.  

Do You Know Who You Are?

Some think finding yourself is for the wanderers in this world, for the soft at heart, for the meek. Because why would you need to find yourself? You already know who you are! But let me tell you, decisiveness, loud presence, go-getter attitude and I got it all figured out mentality says nothing about knowing who you are. I should know! It does say a lot about who you are in front of the world, but do you know who you are? 

Who are you? How did you find yourself? How do you “find” yourself?

Most of the time finding your true self is not a conscious activity until you make the decision to make it so. As a not conscious activity (not to be confused with the unconscious), finding your true self may or may not lead to the things you align with. You may identify with a lot of the stuff in your life and you may feel strongly about it, but it may not be who you are, internally. And while you believe you know who you are because you are “set” in your way of life, you may still be the very wonderer you occasionally like to mock. This is why who you are for the world doesn’t always translate to knowing who you are, truly. 

Keep in mind: once you make the decision to truly find yourself, there will be times when you will feel like you know exactly who you are. There will also be times when you will feel like you have no idea who you are. That’s part of the quest.

My Case

My quest to finding my true self has been bumpy at times, it has taken many turns, and many times it has been a circle race. All of it has been interesting, to say the least, but it has also been necessary on my personal quest as separate from anyone else’s. Everyone’s quest is different. And what I come to share here may not be at all what you agree with. However, I hope it will still enrich your perspective and the outcomes of your own quest. Or maybe you prefer a journey? 🙂

For much of my young adult life, I have felt like I needed something else. Something deeper. A meaning, a purpose to everything I did. It was very important to me to have a reason for doing something and a deep connection to what I am doing. 

Unaddressed, this kind of longing led me to much confusion around what I wanted to do in life. This confusion transferred to an endless search for my perfect vocation.

Later on, I stumbled upon personal growth and the land of self-help literature. It’s something that piqued my interest and captured it indefinitely. My experience with self-help literature has been one long on-again and off-again relationship. But based on my experience so far, this kind of relationship is probably the best way to apply the wisdom this type of literature offers. Be careful though. There is a wrong way of doing it. I should know! …Let me explain.

The Polar Opposites

When I first dove into the topic of personal growth, I was all in. So much so that I started chasing the next big book on this topic hoping I would find yet another insight to lead me closer to finding myself.  I did this so much so that I came to a point where all the books I read started sounding the same. All the authors started sounding like they were selling the same message using different words. And all the insight I was so desperately looking for was not to be found beyond the next best-selling book title out there.

My quest for finding myself started turning into frustration. That frustration led me to the opposite extreme – away from my quest – as I decided to simply quit reading personal growth books. And I did. I stopped searching for my purpose and let purpose come to me.

The problem with this was that by coming to a complete stop on my quest, I also stopped actively doing anything about getting closer to my purpose. So I was in some kind of a twilight zone of being stuck. At first, I didn’t even recognize this because I was blinded by self-inflicted frustration. I went from trying to absorb as much as I possibly could on personal growth and use it to “fix” myself, to trying to forget it all.

Coming To My Senses

The big gap I created that I am personally responsible for is not applying aspects of what I have learned. In other words, because I didn’t find the one “fixer” for it all I didn’t give a lot of what I learned a chance to experiment and play with. So I was stuck for a long time. I had the knowledge but lacked practicing that knowledge because I was looking at my quest to finding myself as an all-or-nothing thing.

Years later I reopened this chapter of my life. I dusted off the thick layers of dust that have accumulated over the years and I gave personal growth the chance it deserved. But this time I decided not to rush through the material (the mad scientist style). This time I approached my quest to find my true self in a brand new way! A way that was not doomed to fail, rather destined to succeed! I began consuming personal growth in small, iterative batches. I began experimenting with productivity based on what I needed on the day-to-day, week-to-week.

Doing this shed off layers of doubt, confusion, preconceived notions, personal expectations, social expectations, stress, fear, and everything in-between. In turn, I gained perspective, clarity, depth, direction, and the very meaning I was so adamantly searching for! I gained the ability to experience fulfillment – experience life in a whole new way! It all led to something even more amazing. Not only did I find myself – I found gratitude!