Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. – George Bernard Shaw
I saw that quote from Shaw on a cute little wooden sign in one of those Country Knick-Knack shops that my wife and I visit occasionally. How often have you heard someone say that they’re trying to find themselves?
One could wander around forever and never “find themselves.” Indeed many do just that and never seem satisfied with life because whatever they are doing is “just not them.” Now, I have less issue with another saying that I saw in a Forbes article – “Find something that you would do for free and get paid.” Unfortunately, many of the things we like and would do for free don’t pay if you can’t perform at a very high level. I like golf, but I’m not even a 10 handicap, so getting paid for it is unlikely. I like writing, too, and there is always a possibility that writing could pay something.
So that leaves the alternative of creating oneself. The thing about the word creating is that it begs the issue of actually working at it. One does not create by just sitting there waiting for something to happen. In the case of creating yourself, that normally means educating yourself, learning new skills or building a base of knowledge about something that will give you value that someone will be willing to pay to utilize. Most of the time that also means putting in the working time necessary to accumulate that knowledge (and out of that hopefully turn it into wisdom). There is no shortcut for that either; one does not fund “find” wisdom.
So, rather than sit there and lament that you are still trying to “find yourself”; get started on the creation process. Get up and do something! And, if you discover that you don’t like what you are doing; do something else until you do find something that you like doing AND for which you can get paid. You can chalk the earlier attempts up to accumulating knowledge and giving you the wisdom that you really didn’t like doing that.
Another saying by George Bernard Shaw seems to be appropriate way to cover that mistaken foray and end this dissertation – A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.