So why is getting to know yourself (self knowledge) so important? Well instead of answering that question immediately, I’d like to start with another question: What do you want to do with your life? I’ll then tell you a little story and it will all make sense in the end.
Don’t worry this blog post isn’t too long and if you really are anxious to have the first question answered immediately, go ahead and read the last paragraph.
Otherwise enjoy the ride. So back to the question about what you want to do with your life. For some this may seem like an easy question : “get a job, earn a living, save some cash, meet someone special and settle down”. But on closer inspection it isn’t.
Indeed for a good period of time, I followed the book to a tee and settled into a nice job at a technology startup following my studies. I was comfortable like many other people. Don’t get me wrong I really enjoyed working for this company as it was young, new, exciting and it felt like I was part of something really special, something unique.
At some point however I got the urge to travel, I guess this was amplified by the fact that I come from a very small town and also studied and worked nearby.I didn’t have a specific plan as to where I was going, all I knew was that I wanted to explore and get out of my comfort zone. As I learnt, it is there where the magic happens.
So I started saving (of course with my inexperience at traveling alone, I thought that I needed a lot of money to set off and explore, this of course is not true). Nevertheless, I saved a lot and eventually I departed for a 16 month adventure to Germany, Mexico, US, Czech Republic, Thailand, Samoa and New Zealand.
Upon returning home (South Africa), and spending two months visiting family and friends and exploring, I was faced with the question of “what do I want to do with my life” and I had something burning deep inside, a feeling that there was more to life than the automated process that most people go through in going to work and doing pretty much the same shit every day.
I knew inside that I wanted to create something great. Something bigger than me. Something spectacular. I did not want to settle.
It was at this point where I stumbled across some powerful reading by Jonathan Mead who believes strongly in the idea of getting Paid To Exist, where you blur the lines between work and play. Its all about following your true passions and getting paid to do what you love. This stuff really resonated with me. It was anti-conformist, inspirational and it gave me butterflies in my stomach (no jokes).
Slowly but surely I started to see what I wanted to do and that was to follow my passion and get paid. So I started brainstorming, with help from Jonathan’s beautiful articles. What were my passions? What were my dreams? What were my core strengths? How could I combine these to create value(or the so called secret weapon)? What were my values?
I had never really given myself the freedom to really explore this. I had been pretty passive in truly exploring myself (I guess this is the case for many of us) and what I wanted out of life. I always believed I was good at following my heart. I always had a sense of adventure and did what I wanted, but everything in life still felt pre-determined, like it was all neatly laid out.
What was even more frustrating was that I seemed to have a lot of passions and interests. At this stage I felt a little overwhelmed. I was restless, felt anxious, I got agitated and then I stumbled across Emily Wapnick and Puttylike through one of Jonathan Meads articles.
Her blog/website is dedicated towards Multipotentialites. These are basically people(a personality type), that have many interests and passions and often get bored when having to focus on one thing. I knew instantly that this was my profile as I often started something and never finished it. No, I am not lazy!
And I felt like I connected with everything she was saying. You do not have to follow a niche as everyone advocates, you can create what is termed a Renaissance Business where you combine many interests.
It was at this point that I realised that that that is exactly what I wanted to do: start my own business around several of my passions. I purchased the Renaissance Business and I started exploring my passions and formulating the foundations towards building my own online blog. You are of course staring at it.
My message to you then is the following: The path to truly understanding what you want to do in life starts with getting to know yourself. . What are your passions? What are your dreams? What are your values? What do you want to be remembered for when you die?
Had I not explored these questions, I would either be working a shitty job I didn’t enjoy and/or be just as anxious as ever. getButterflied would not exist. Self Knowledge is the starting point behind it all.
Accepting and understanding who you are, are the stepping stones to creating a life that you truly want to live. And yes this doesn’t happen overnight. And yes you never stop learning more about yourself. But the more you learn, the better you feel and the greater sense of direction you have in life. And ultimately the happier you will be. So I urge you to take time to explore who you are.
P.S Did you read the whole article? Don’t worry if you didn’t, there are some cool resources tucked away in there somewhere though.
Have you started to get to know yourself? Are there any other benefits of self knowledge that you feel I’ve missed?