Do You Understand Yourself? - Issue #8
There's a biological robot that surrounds your soul. You can never truly be in charge of the former and only begin understanding the latter. The only thing to do is to attempt both.
Have you ever caught yourself in some action and didn't quite understand what made you do it? This happened to me many times and still happens more than I'd like. I wanted to learn more about why I do the things I do. What am I guided by internally, and which of my actions and thoughts set me back?
There's often resistance to this idea that people are in charge of their own lives. The resistance can be justified; there are many things you don't control in life. You don't control how and where you were born or how tall you are. Often, you have control beyond what you consider to be in your control. You can exercise to gain strength, study to learn new things, or practice to excel in something. And most importantly, you are in control of your soul within you (whatever you might interpret this as).
The stoic philosophy is built around the idea that you should be able to control yourself. A situation doesn't make you angry; you're making yourself angry over the situation. This mindset increases the radius of your control. It tells you that you have more control than you might think you have. This places the responsibility of your emotions on yourself, so it carries a burden. But it's excellent news for you because now, internally, you're not relying on the outside world. It finds the only place in the world where you're in complete control.
Now, how do you get in control of the biological robot that surrounds your soul? As with any subject matter, the first step is examining and understanding. And with such a complex topic as a human being, this sets you on an unending path. You can imagine the path as a spiral. And with deeper knowledge, it spirals closer to the center, but it never actually stops spinning.
I liken this to a spiral partly because, in English, people tend to say that it "spiraled out of control" when something unexpected happened.
To better understand myself, I love to fill out online tests that are supposed to tell people who they are. From the personality tests everybody's doing, like Myers Briggs (where I get different results each time), to more professional tests that I'm even willing to pay small amounts of money if I trust the authority that made them.
For people that enjoy structure (like I do as I'm supposedly more orderly than 96% of the general population), I also have a couple of things that I do that help me to come to understand my actions.
A retrospective is a practice in companies where the team sits down after a bigger project or a set time period and reflects on it. I adopted this practice myself, and I occasionally organize a retrospective for myself. It's somewhat structured, but the structure shouldn't stand in the way of absolute honesty. This can also be akin to post-mortem if a retrospective occurs after something bad happened. Alternatively, a retrospective can happen only in your head. However, I personally love to have a structure around it.
Observe yourself closely in day-to-day life. There are many things that we're mindlessly doing. If you think about it, many of the decisions you take over the course of a day are not conscious decisions. They're habits. By observing them, you may come closer to understanding them and understanding yourself.
Make time to daydream. Actively stop for a while and let your mind roam. Wherever it takes you, it shows you a bit more of your inner self. I wish I did this more often, but anytime I do, I discover something new and exciting.
All these topics are topics that people write books about. I'm at fault for not going into too much depth. But even briefly writing and exploring these topics helps me understand how my mind works. And that's my biggest tip of all. Sit down and write on any topic of your choosing. Writing, at least for me, is extended thinking.
Have a wonderful Sunday!
PS: I want to give more credit to the Twitter account @visualizevalue. Go and check them out; many great visualizations of different aspects of life.
PPS: When we're already on the topic of understanding. I love to understand things (even ones that I'm creating). And as we're progressing on Career Tales, I sometimes like to procrastinate by doing things like logo manual. I try to make it a creative work and incorporate the branding outside of the logo. This is a tiny sneak peek into the inner workings of the brand.
PPPS: I also made a couple of wallpapers. Again, out of pure procrastination.