I know sounds like a high school algebra or calculus topic, but it is actually a pretty cool idea. I saw this quote pass me by on my twitter fashion in some fashion of a robot spammer trying to get me to signup for their get rich quick scam – but the idea is great. Another inspiring piece for this blog is my friend Billy Chasen’s post of a Chart Displaying the Time Complaining About Age which is great……and I have blogged my evolution of man in my personal development.
I will try my best here to draw up my own picture of how we become who we truly are over time.
The main factors I can think of is, we are born into a family, that has their ideas and expectations of their children. And whether they openly say it or not, it is embedded in the children just by living in the specific home and environment they are surrounded with. Then we go to school…..wow, and in USA, definitely is not just about learning your ABCs. It’s about fitting in, feeling part of the group, accepted. Wearing clothes that others won’t joke to you about, getting a cool haircut so the girls don’t giggle at the opening bell. After that, we get a job, suddenly have to pay the rent every month, wake up early for work. Can’t get time to think about what we really want to do, who we want to become. And then yea, hopefully people realize “why am I really doing all of this, and what is really important in my life”?
Maybe I can try to write it a different way, the below timeline is more based on my experience growing up in USA, I am told its much different in China:
- Baby – Toddler age – we have no idea what the hell is going on …..learning to speak, surrounded by our family and our cultural environment that will shape who we become.
- Grade School – FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL. I remember those days….leaving mom and dad and going off to a classroom with a bunch of strangers the same age as you. Seems here you find your group of friends, define if you will be in the “nerd group”, “cool sports group”, “popular fashion” group, “bad boy” group, etc etc. There is also the separation by color and race which I don’t know if still exists today in schools.
- Junior High School – For some reason, I feel life got more full of pressure at this point, age is around 11 -13 years old. Peer pressure, wanting to be accepted by others. To fit in. To wear TOP STYLE clothes, brand name designer sneakers. If your family didn’t have money to afford nice things, normally you were picked on or joked about. Sadly, some kids were isolated and bullies were the top of the food chain.
- High School – Similar to junior high, except I think adding in some friends could drive. House parties. Definitely more peer pressure. Some kids had night jobs. Finding ways to get alcohol and beer for weekend parties. The cool kids smoked out on the corner after school. I think personalities developed rapidly.
- College – Hopefully you got into the university you wanted to, and you didn’t choose it based on influence from friends, family, or money. As many are unwilling to move away from home and friends. Or they have the boyfriend / girlfriend they cannot leave behind. Others think they cannot afford the expensive prive school. but in college, generally people became more independent and mature. In college, people start to realize they have to choose a specific concentration of studies, think about what they want to be when they grow up. Because there are certain tracks of classes for certain majors, you spend a majority of time with students who are also pursuing similar career goals. But again, still tons of peer pressure – to be cool, to be accepted. And I think that influences the decisions we make, and doesn’t allow us to become who we truly are.
- First full-time job – WAKE UP CALL. Its no more parties and hanging out with your classmates after school. Time to sign an employment contract, sign a 1 year lease for an apartment, get up early every day. Better hope that major you took in school is what you really want to do. And that you selected the right job out of college. Maybe the economy wasn’t so great, and you didn’t have many choices. Maybe you just choose what PAID THE HIGHEST SALARY, and ignored what you really wanted to do.
- Few years into the work world (mid 20s) – I think this is when we really define who we are. I have blogged before about an article saying that this stage is called the oddessey – where we test what we want to do in life, we try different jobs, try different relationships, different places to live. I believe these times truly define what will happen for the rest of our lives.
- Beyond that – well, I cannot exactly say from experience…..of course…..soon I’ll be 30 years old. I am a bit scared of that to be honest. normally this is where we will develop a family of our own. And we will start to share more with loved ones. Its more giving then taking – and changing from the student to the teacher.
But my main idea is that WE CANNOT WORRY ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK OF WHO WE ARE. We have to be comfortable and confident in who we are, our cultural and family background. WE HAVE TO BE PROUD. we only live once. Life is too short to wish we were someone else. We are who we are. And to try to change who we are…..hmm….I think it’s more effective to instead develop stronger the personality and strengths that we have rather than to work backwards.