Recently I’ve just finished the book The Path by Michael Puett, which gave me a lot to think about on life, its struggles, success and things I had difficult times to understand.
In today’s society, we tend to conform to a lot of labels. I went through a lot of them myself: HSP, introvert, INTJ, high IQ person, gay, at some point even borderline and depressive (I’ll take the chance to talk about this more in-depth later I think). We tend to conform to those labels at some point. While they help us finding our place in our society and help us understand who we are, often they end up blocking us or giving false excuses to some behaviors we may adopt.
Discovering asian philosophy through this book, I’ve come to understand how we’re forever a changing person. Who I am can’t really be defined by a label, especially because I tend to change from time to time, from the people I meet to the situation I find myself in. I’ve always had troubles to understand how I could be so extrovert in my work, being sometimes quite assertive, while on opposite being so introvert when I was meeting another guy, having a lot of troubles to engage in a discussion except in a one to one basis. Identifying myself as an introvert tend to make some of my best friends laugh quite a lot, themselves labelling me « the most social introvert in the world ».
But we’re forever changing, there’s no stable self, just as our world is not coherent nor unchanging. We tend to make plans, projections, based on who we are at the moment and who we think we will be in the future. By doing so, we’re cutting ourselves from the complexities of live and the real messy world we live in.
And while some parts of those labels have a deep meaning for me (I’ll always experiment deeper emotions than most of the other human beings, my mind is also working at a faster rate and behaving differently, those are things that supposedly will never change), lately I’ve felt some other labels blocking me. As I’ve always defined myself as gay, lately I found myself having some real crush on some girls, which led to a real struggle in my mind. Those things may change, and I’ve come to accept myself as a « work in progress ».
Same goes for my line of work. Having worked for 8 years now, the job I’m doing now is totally different from what I had in my mind when I finished my degree in graphic design. But I changed, I made choices, I decided to progressively change my career path depending on what attracted me at the moment I was encountering them. And for this I’m so grateful we live in a world where there’s so much possibilities to develop our potential. Too often I found people struggling with a diploma that wasn’t right for them anymore, feeling stuck in their life. Nowadays you have the chance to change, you can bend your life and reorient your path. I deeply believe that each one of us has the possibility to divert, to take another path at anytime. We’re only stuck in our minds.
Lately my life has dramatically changed. This is something I’ll take the time to reflect on by the end of the year, but those changes were fundamentally necessary and even if some things aren’t yet perfect (and some will never be I guess), I finally feel at ease with the path I’m travelling on. After years of trying to understand the logic behind the world, behind human behavior, behind relationships, I’ve finally accepted that our world and ourselves are not logical beings, as much as we’d like to be. We live in a messy and unpredictable world and while this might induce some fear, this also means that everything is possible. So go, grow, take the path you want to take, and become the person you want to be. Because time is flowing by and this might be the only true thing we can get behind.
« You eliminate your ability to grow as a person because you are limiting that growth to what is in the best interests of the person you happen to be right now, and not the person you will become. » — Michael Puett, The Path