Your true self is a wonderful being that continues to change and grow as you change and grow. This was something that I learned a few years ago when watching a goal cast video where academy award winner Matthew McConaughey dropped this gem about who his hero is.
Even though he knows that he’ll never be able to catch up to his hero, there is always a reason out there for him to keep chasing it. All the same, even though we will never reach our greatest level of self, we can continue to be great, grow, and learn about our true self.
Pursuing this self right now is a smart idea. During the midst of a pandemic, many people feel like they’re out of touch. Their lives seem to be on hold as we keep ourselves in our homes, waiting for this to blow over.
It’s an ideal environment these days to be exploring ourselves and getting to know ourselves. But even outside of this pandemic, there are other reason to consider learning about your true self.
Your True Self Knows Your Motivations
Motivation is one of the key ingredients to taking action and making progress in life. But motivation still comes with its traps that many people can slip into. The specific trap that I’m most familiar with is the types of motivation that people use.
For many, motivation is motivation, but it’s not always that simple.
When you have an understanding of your true self or are seeking yourself, you’ll have a higher chance of finding intrinsic motivation. This is motivation where the source stems from inside of yourself.
This makes a huge difference as the other type of motivation is extrinsic motivation – motivation that stems from outside sources – has many problems. It ultimately leads to the erosion of enjoyment in tasks plus your own ability to perform this task well.
Whereas intrinsic motivation is able to be renewed, and offer you a plethora of benefits. The only catch is that you need to have a grasp of yourself. You need to know the reason for why you are pursuing this in your life.
If you know what motivates you, you know what is able to get you to move and do things. Figuring this out in every avenue in life will ensure that whatever you pursue in life, you know you’ll have a reason to pursue it. This can also filter out the things that you don’t want to do in life, making you happier since you’re priority is things that make you happy and give you a purpose.
Your True Self Knows Your Triggers
This normally applies to things that make you angry, frustrated or drive a negative response from you. However, I’d also extend this to various actions and habits that you perform too.
Everything that we do is based on a set of triggers. Habits are formed by subtle shifts in our life. For example, I go and do a workout every weekday and what triggers me to do these every single weekday is noting the time. I know that I have a workout at a very specific time and so when that time hits, I’ll go through a particular set of actions that get me ready to go to the gym.
This same philosophy is true in cases where I experience various emotions. I have an understanding of why I’m experiencing these emotions and what the source is.
All of these things apply to you in many kinds of scenarios. You know if you do this one thing, you’ll typically receive the same kind of results. This applies to things that you want to do but also things you don’t agree with.
Another example of this at work is lending people money. I remember a speech from someone saying to never lend money to a friend. The exception is that if you’re fine with knowing that you’ll never be getting paid back.
Still, people lend money anyway because they have a set of triggers that lead them to this. Even if they know that this was the outcome. By knowing your own triggers, you can have a better response to things that you know won’t be helping you out. Or in scenarios that benefit you, you can word things in a way that still makes it favourable for you to follow up later.
Your True Self Knows Your Fears
Fears come in all shapes and sizes. Fear isn’t just about the physical fears that we have. There is also the mental fears too. Fearing the unknown, fearing failure.
When you know your fears – by understanding your true self – you also know what leads you to those particular fears. At the same time as this, you also know what you can do to mitigate it too.
Handling fears isn’t all that difficult when you know how to acknowledge them and use them to your advantage. You can better accept that emotion now and in the future and begin to leverage it in various aspects of your life.
You Have Better Relationships
Another reason to know your true self is that you’ll forge better relationships. Knowing more about yourself means knowing how to better relate to other people around you. You can develop empathy in this manner which is a skill that goes a long way.
Empathy allows you to better step in people’s shoes and understand their point of view. Even if you don’t necessarily agree with that perspective, that relatedness can allow you to bring understanding and seeking some level of common ground.
Their perspective can also aid in other ways too. For example, their perspective in something can add understanding for you in that same area. A new perspective can broaden your horizons in understanding of a topic.
You Can Challenge Yourself Further
The underlying message that Matthew McConaughey left in that speech is the ability to challenge yourself and push yourself. If your hero is always yourself 10 years in the future, they’re going to ideally have a better life than where you are at now.
And as much as you keep pushing yourself, you won’t be catching up to them.
As depressing as that could be, it again creates an opportunity for you to be challenging yourself and pushing yourself further.
When I was 19, I was pursuing an accounting career that I felt kind of invested in. Now at 29, I am living on my own, making alright money and pursuing something that I’m satisfied with and that gives me a purpose.
My life now is better in a number of ways compared to who I was 10 years ago. And I have no doubt that 39-year-old Eric will have an even better life.
Convincing yourself that your life will progressively get better every 10 years can spur you on to challenge yourself here and now. Even though you won’t know what kind of life you’ll lead in the future, you still want to be pushing yourself to achieve and succeed and grow yourself to ensure that 10 years from now you’ll have a much better life than you do now.
And the only conceivable way of doing that is having a grasp of who you are and who you want to become.
You Make Better Decisions
The final reason to know your true self is that you ultimately make better decisions in life. From a couple of points above, I mentioned that people do things that they don’t want to do.
While there are definitely cases where you do run into that at times, you can avoid a lot of those things when you know who you are and where you want to go.
Take my freelance work. I’m very picky about the clients that I take on. Yes, there are times where I do get some bad clients. However in most scenarios, I don’t. I love the work that I do and that’s because I made the decision on what kind of people I work with.
I avoid most of the traps of freelancing because I know myself, my goals, and what generally has to happen to achieve those things.
This doesn’t apply to freelancing but any other decisions that I make too. This too can happen with you when you have a grasp of yourself and know what’s worth your time and when it’s time to move on.
Meet Your True Self
Knowing your true self allows you to tap into a great amount of potential. I consider it as one of the crucial stepping stones that can lead you to a happier and more fulfilling life. After all, by knowing who you are and your values, you can come to better terms about where you want to go, how to get there, and how to feel better about yourself.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon