When we’re young we’re essentially given the idea that we don’t know what’s good for us. And that adults do. Yes, this is basically true. But it also plants a seed of self doubt in which we look to authority figures to tell us how to go about living our lives. From our parents to know-it-all friends to therapists, we crave someone else’s answers to our problems.
The right answer is always inside of you, not another person. While friends and family and even shrinks can help motivate, while self-help books can put you in a self-reflective frame of mind that helps you find the answers, ultimately, they are yours to find. Occasionally, there is a piece of kick-in-the-ass wisdom that will get you in gear. But chances are it worked because you were ready to hear it and knew inside of you before you did (hear) that it was what you needed to do anyway.
I bring this up because part of this blog is chronicling my career trajectory, my cultural opinions, but it’s also about marking the growth process. And I have recently grown about a foot in self knowledge. I can tell you that it is priceless.
Knowing yourself allows you to trust your answers. And in that way it speeds things along. You can also let go of the fear that you might be making a mistake, because you’ve made them before and you’ll make them again, and you’ll be okay.
Knowing yourself is what lets you shrug off bad advice that someone gives you based on their own shortcomings. It’s what lets you say no to whatever it is you don’t want to do. And say yes to what you do.