Lifestyle‎ > ‎

Do You Know Who You Are?

posted 30 May 2011, 13:00 by Mpelembe   [ updated 30 May 2011, 13:02 ]
Comedian Woody Allen says, "My one regret in life is that I am not
someone else."

I heard of one man who took trying to be someone else too seriously.
Newspapers reported that Dutch police arrested a man in the town of
Rosendaal. They found him in possession of 186 false papers,
including 29 Nigerian passports, 30 British passports, 74 Dutch work
permits, 12 British driving licenses, 18 birth or death
certificates, 2 British student cards, an international driving
license and 20 forged checks. Once he was in custody, they still had
a problem. They weren't sure who he was.

I have no regrets that I'm not someone else. But that doesn't mean
I've always been clear about just who I am. I like the way A. A.
Milne's "Winnie the Pooh" (THE WORLD OF POOH) puts it:

  "How can you get very far,
   If you don't know who you are?
   How can you do what you ought,
   If you don't know what you've got?"

One man said, "I go to a doctor and pay him 75 dollars an hour, and
all he does is ask me the same question my father used to ask me all
the time: 'Who do you think you are, anyway?'" But that's not a bad
question, really. How can you get very far, if you don't know who
you are?

I think I spent the first 20 or 30 years of my life trying to define
who I really was. I thought I'd never know what to study in school
and I was sure I'd never figure out what kind of person I might be
happy spending my life with. I managed to get through that phase of
life and then, just when I thought I knew myself fairly well, I
discovered I'd changed. And through the years I keep changing. It
seems like I've always been up against the question, "Who am I --

I appreciate Benjamin Kubelski's story. In 1902, his father gave him
a violin for his eighth birthday. It cost $50, a small fortune in
those days, and especially for a recently immigrated Russian family.

Benjamin did well and was playing concerts as a teenager. At age 18
he teamed up with a woman pianist as a musical team in Vaudeville.
 But he suspected the violin did not satisfy his heart's desire. Then
one night, Benjamin impulsively decided to tell the audience about a
funny incident that had happened during the day. He later said, "The
audience laughed and the sound intoxicated me. That laughter ended
my days as a musician." And it began his life career as entertainer
Jack Benny.

He found who he was and everything fit into place. How can you get
very far, if you don't know who you are?

But how do you figure out who you are? Short of taking a battery of
aptitude and personality tests (which, by the way, do have their
place), there are two simple and accurate ways of knowing yourself

First, ask someone who loves you. Ask her to describe you in as much
detail as she can. Her opinion may not be conclusive, but others see
us differently than we see ourselves.

And second, pay attention to what stirs your emotions. I sometimes
ask people, "What do you like to do so much that you would do it for
free if you could?" What makes your heart sing?

How can you get very far, if you don't know who you are? Answer
these simple questions and I think you'll know.

Steve Goodier [email protected] is a professional
speaker, consultant and author of numerous books. Go here for
archives or to subscribe to your homepage: Sign up for a FREE newsletter of
Life, Love and Laughter at<>