Introspection is a powerful exercise, and I think essential to practice.
By studying our individual behavioral history, we can predict our future behaviors. Not perfectly, but to a better degree. To illustrate this, I will open up to you and tell you a little bit about my story as I came to realizations while analyzing myself. By doing so, it has helped me to get out of my own way in pursuing what I want in life.
Through this exercise I realized, man dude, I’ve been a creator my whole life. I have always been curious and had a love for the arts/anything related to creative expression but I was blind to it and I held my own self back from it.
When we’re young, we pretty much let our parents tell us what we should be and let that control who we are up until we decide to move out.
Art and Language Arts were some of my favorite classes in school growing up, and in middle school too. I had the opportunity at some art classes/interior design/graphic design in high school, and found myself very interested in music.
When I reached high school and had to decide what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, I was SUPER drawn to an art institute. The graphic design and advertising program was very appealing to me. However, due to costs, I did not attend. Then came college where I started at a community college. I remember sitting in a communications class one day and the professor asked us to draw some pictures of things we enjoy as an ice breaker exercise to help us get to know one another. I remember sitting there thinking, I didn’t really have much to draw because I didn’t really know myself that well and the things which I enjoyed might be viewed as weird by society. Shameful, right?
I LOVED listening to music, and specifically hip hop, and finding new music that was released. I wanted to be the first to hear new music, by the time it got to the radio, I was over it. Any mainstream music was too generic and I didn’t want to listen to what everyone else was listening to. I enjoyed hip hop and listening to the lyrics and relating them to my life. But HOW LAME did that look to draw on paper and reveal to the class as an activity I enjoyed. So I stuck to “safe” hobbies like shopping, hanging with friends, watching movies, and softball as activities I drew to explain myself. I held back my creative interests.
In college, I was drawn to Advertising/Marketing and really enjoyed my Consumer Behavior and Communication courses, all related to the creative field. I also had the opportunity to take an entrepreneurship course a few years later in college because I have always had this start up spirit. These were additional signs of me wanting to pursue something creative and innovative.
A few weeks ago I was sitting in a meeting at work, and rather than watching the actual presentation on the screen I found myself more engulfed in the music playing and the beat going on in the background.. To be honest, I didn’t even know what the presentation was about when it was done playing after a couple minutes. It is like these little signs that I really wouldn’t have known if I didn’t take the time to reflect and truly observe my experiences and pick up on that I actually have a huge passion for the creatives and the arts and I need to continue to express myself.
So the point of this point isn’t to relate to you that I have a well developed sense of self now and I have my life figured out. Because really, I don’t. Life is ever evolving and there will be new experiences that shape me in different ways. However, analyzing how the past has led you to where you are today can help to propel you for where you can go in the future. Becoming more in tune with yourself can help you to live out a life of content, generating value to others in a way that brings meaning to you. And living a life doing something that is not only a natural talent and gift that you possess, but benefits others at the same time, which is even more motivating to pursue and will produce a better society. That’s a win win.
When it comes down to it, the point of this post is to convey the message that we are all given a gift and have natural talents which we can capitalize on to give back to the world. But in order to realize your potential of what you can contribute, you must truly know oneself and observe in what areas of life bring you fulfilment and make you feel alive. Things which come natural to you are not weird, they are your calling. And you must pursue these things….pursue your true authenticity.
Stay curious, stay creative, stay hungry.
#LeaveYourMark #RealizeYourPotential #FailForward