Thursday, 29 March 2018

Defining Ourselves Is Not Our Decision

It was over a coffee meeting today that my thoughts turned again to how we define ourselves.

The person I met with is an independent contractor with a particular interest in new technologies and start up enterprises.

He is not a native of Australia however, having lived and worked in a number of Asian, Australasian, European and American Cities has decided to base himself in Brisbane and make it his home.

In addition to his professional expertise, he is a talented endurance athlete including having completed a number of Iron Man Triathlons, the most recent of which was in 2012.

Business and personal circumstances combined 5 months ago to allow him to prepare for another tilt at Iron Man fame.

Through a variety of conversations, he decided in the last few weeks he doesn’t need to do another Iron Man event.

He came to realise that he was defining himself by way of being an Iron Man Triathlete and in doing so, was distracting himself from a range of other things in life.

He very consciously and deliberately decided to no longer be an Iron Man.

He remains highly motivated to remain fit and healthy and to continue endurance sporting activities. He will compete in a Marathon overseas in May and perhaps another locally in July, it is just such activities will compliment rather than dominate his being.

I enquired as to how he came about this “self defining” realisation and he mentioned a newly blooming relationship.

Bluntly, his new “friend” put it to him that his obsession with training and sole focus on the Iron Man Event meant very little time for her. It was she who asked if he always plans to define himself as an Iron Man.

His first reaction was to explain that this is who he is and who she was attracted too until it dawned on him this is a repeating pattern. He realised for the first time that other relationships and potential relationships had faltered due to his obsession with training for the next event.

He also realised that if he didn’t change his ways, he was more than likely destined for aloneness.

How we are defined is a perplexing question. It is also one we don’t really get to answer, at least not about ourselves.

Our ego may drive a type of behaviour that dictates how we may want to be defined however this is either not sustainable or is not a pathway to being happy and fulfilled. Even an actor gets to be themselves when not working.

As with many things, the answer is based in simplicity.

If we focus on being the best version of our authentic selves, we have no concern with how we are defined, and more so, we simply won’t care.

Wishing a safe, fulfilling and authentic Easter to all.

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