by Elliot Lyons
Disclaimer: there’s really no “right” place where you should start figuring yourself out: you don’t necessarily need to begin with “why,” or “what,” “how,” or even with “who” if you can’t figure out a “why.”
This may seem weird, especially since we just dropped a video on how “who” is a good place to begin if you can’t figure out your “why,” but bear with me.
Asking “who” seems simple. “I am this job,” some of us will say, while others, “I’m a family person.” Yet, at the same time we are these things, they don’t and can’t describe everything that’s in us. That’s why we’re pulled to different things in life; this doesn’t necessarily negate where and who we are, but seeks to complete us.
And that’s the tricky part: navigating a “who” that really isn’t just one thing, but a multiplicity.
If our “who” is a bunch of things, then our life project should center around integrating the different parts of ourselves.
Yet, if we can’t even locate any of multiple “who”s that make us us, then it’s useful to look at what gives us life: the things we do that make us feel good and in some ways fulfilled. We can recognize this type of “what” because it’s what makes us say, “Damn, this is my thing!” It moves us differently and with it we move differently. This movement of our “what”s will help us piece our “who”s together by showing us what’s possible.
From there, we can work on the “why” and then the “how.”
All of this can be confusing: if we can’t start with “why,” begin with “who,” and if not “who,” then “what,” and then if not “what,” then “how.” However, the point is not to necessarily to do things the right way, meaning we all have to start at the same point; rather, it’s to start where we are.
Some of us can start with “why,” others “who,” still others “what” or “how,” but what matters is we ask these questions, cycling through them. And asking is scary because we don’t know where it may lead—we don’t know who will stare back in the mirror. It’s the posing of these questions about “who,” “what,” “how,” and “why” that makes us serious about this thing called life and sincere about making it what it needs to be.
None of this is easy, or even pleasant in the conventional sense, because reorientation is disorienting, but it’s the only way we’ll be able to find out what’s in us.
So let’s get started.