At some point of our lives, we start to search for a genuine version of one’s self. Who is the real me?
Today, an American who is honoured as the advertiser of the decade (2000-9) quit advertising. Mr. Alex Bogusky said, “you start to search for the more genuine version of yourself” at a point in your life, “and I’m doing that.”“I’m exploring and figuring out what is that genuine version,” he added, “and it’s not really consistent with corporate life” because in that realm “you’re kind of in the ‘get yours’ mode.”
The honesty is refreshing. The courage to be honest and say exactly what is there is inspiring to me. He was in advertising for 20 years, successfully breaking rules, challenging boundaries. Finally, he quit, just like that. No grand plans in the life thereafter. In fact he was on a bike ride when his last company put out the press release on his resignation.
For most parts of my life, I wondered who I am. I lived a confusing existence. My experience of myself was that I am someone capable of being so many things and ways, some good some downright awful and disgusting. For most parts, I am secretly happy, almost relieved, there is some decency in me; at times, I was disgusted with the person I am. The first reaction was to resist I could be that repelling and hang on for dear life the good parts of me and hope that they will cancel out the bad and leave me, on balance, someone worthy.
Even at times when I am nice, I know deep down I am nasty. When I am nasty, I know I am capable of immense love, even to perfect strangers. Trying to be only one way or another is futile but I tried anyway. I wanted to build evidence that I am a decent human being. Who is the real me?
So I experimented. I tried being many things. I tried to be everyone’s every thing, somebody’s some thing. At the end of it, I was just tired of being nothing. I was tired of pretending I was anything at all.
The overall experience of life was acute survival. I survived many episodes in my life. I survived periods of loneliness, anger, a loss of direction, pain, darkness, idiocy, a lack of self respect, arrogance, hopelessness. Life was a struggle but pretending I am OK comes natural. I mean, seriously, I’m OK.
The six months after I did the Landmark Forum coincided with a period of involuntary unemployment. During this time, I went on an excavation. I dug, dug deep. Who am I? What is important to me? What makes me happy? Who is the real me?
Layer by layer, I peeled away the pretenses in my life. It was initially scary and every fibre of my being resisted. There were a few days when I was home alone and I broke down and cried for no apparent reason. Slowly, I started to listen to me and begin to hear that little voice that has been suppressed by the deafening voices of survival and reasonableness.
Eventually, I stood before myself stark naked. In that moment I know who I am. More importantly, I accepted myself for who I am and who I am not. In knowing who I am, I can begin to create who I am in the future. Who I am is entirely a creation. I am who I say I am.
I am the possibility of inspiration and love. Of ease and grace. Of power and empowerment. Of happiness, compassion, contribution.
Possibility is a space to be, not a point I arrive at. There is nowhere I need to get to. There will be no sense of arrival when I am being my possibility. Moment by moment, I am my possibility. Every moment is a moment of creation and what I say it is.
I will fall, many times over. I will experience being discouraged, frustrated and upset. These are unavoidable. What is completely avoidable is allowing these to drive the way I live my life, to shape the way my life is. I am my possibility. I have every say how my life turns out.