Last week I wrote about values, your values and how they align or misalign at your workplace.
In my research I stumbled about a quote by Thomas Cooley which I love:
“I am not who you think I am; I am not who I think I am; I am who I think you think I am!”
I read it probably 73 times. I kept on googling and reading and thought:
Who creates our values?
In that context another quote exists: “You are the average of the five people you surround yourself with.”
So, let’s dig a bit deeper. We probably all agree that it starts with our parents or the people we spend our first years with. To survive we copy their values and behaviours. We know if we do certain things we will be rewarded with food and affection. Once we realize a bit more consciously the effects of our actions, we start intensifying certain things, we become good at them and they start defining us. We become who the people around us think we are, so we get their praise. This can continue for long and for some it never stops, not even with death. They never question any of what they have been told as it would shake their core.
The question, who am I and what am I here for are too scary to touch.
To an extent life becomes an echo chamber. We hear want we want to hear, or we hear what we have been taught to hear, we hardly question beliefs and values. How many people take the religion or the political views of their parents? How many never question how certain things are done? Often, the vicious circle continues with their children.
I would invite you to look in the future in your job, as a parent, millennial, partner or friend. Do you want to be like the people who are many years ahead of you? Do you want what they have? More important are you only seeing the result or are you also seeing the path? For example, most people want to be rich moneywise, but do you want to put in the effort in to get there?
If you see something in the future you don’t want to be, don’t take the path. Question the values and beliefs. But don’t question them in the echo chamber. Don’t discuss them with the people you hang around with all the time, as all you will eventually do is trying to fit into the box that’s been created.
The quote: “Thinking outside the box”, has probably been overused, but its true in the sense that you can only find new answers if you explore new grounds, new role models. At the beginning you can’t be what you can’t see.
Hence, I humbly suggest exposing yourself to new challenges, take a close and good look in all detail, and I mean very detailed observation and then ask yourself: Does that work for me? And it’s cool if it doesn’t, change isn’t for everybody and isn’t always a necessity.
Life is a process, and it can also be an adventure and not a package tour of predefined values and paths.