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Don’t Just Do Better. Be Better.

Stop defining yourself by what you do instead of who you are


If you’re anything like me, you put a ton of pressure on yourself to make the most out of your life. Like a damn-near suffocating amount.

As simple as the process of clearing one’s mind is, it certainly isn’t easy. Every thought, on a second-to-second basis, is based upon some degree of selfishness — what’s going on in relation to us. Even when we want to give or do something for others, we know how it’s going to make us feel as a result.

It’s almost impossible not to be selfish in some way.

What’s responsible for this is our obsession with doing.

Why?

Because in today’s society, most of us allow socialization to dictate how we define ourselves. We think that by doing more, doing things differently, or doing things better is the gateway to a more gratifying life.

When we DO well by societal standards, we feel an increase in self-worth. When we don’t do well, the opposite occurs.

Ask many people who they are and they may answer with terms like writer, photographer, dancer, investor or philanthropist.

Common denominator: more doing.

We set goals to BECOME better people. How do we determine the way in which we will become better? By doing. By creating a plan of action. By following through with daily disciplines.

Doing is necessary, I get it — where it stems from however, is worth challenging with an alternative view.

To Become, Be

In order to become something, we must be it.

If who I am is a giving person, than giving is not something I do. I give because it’s who I am.

Whatever it is that we’re after, we can achieve or embody it through being.

Doing may get you there, but it may leave you feeling somewhat empty.

The action-intention gap has been well-documented throughout human psychology. Consider a husband attempting to rekindle the spark in his marriage: He’s making multiple efforts to express his love to his wife but is experiencing minimal success.

In order for him to get through to her, he cannot merely perform acts of affection or state words of affirmation.

For him to turn the corner, he must BE LOVING. Loving as in who he is.

While on the surface, they may appear like the same thing, Benjamin Hardy will tell you, “Willpower doesn’t work.”

Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash

The same is true for an upstart entrepreneur struggling to acquire the necessary funding and resources needed to feel secure in the launch of his new business.

He can make all the calls, bank visits and partnership attempts he wants but only until he becomes a resourceful person will he truly flourish.

Doing isn’t enough. It must be rooted in something deeper.

When how it is that we’re being comes from who we are, incredible things begin to take shape. Energy is transferred between people like an electric current. The look in our eyes starts to tell a story of our most burning desires. Our touch sends a signal to another person that we are for real, yet cannot be explained.

It’s just who we are.

Identity Starts With I

As I mentioned earlier in this post, many of us identify with what we do.

Others identify with how we do it or how well we do what we do.

But when we start to identify as who we are, what no longer remains are the shackles of expectation to do more, differently or better.

We can BE better by BEING more of who we are.

By being more loving.

By being more caring.

By being more honest.

By being more sincere.

We can also appreciate that how we will be with respect to who we are will always be imperfect or flawed in some way (given how our states change), so there’s always room to be better.

“Being strong doesn’t mean you’ll never get hurt. It means even when you get hurt, you‘ll never let it defeat you.” — Unknown

Being allows us to take things one day at a time, instead of stacking the deck so deep into the future that we overwhelm ourselves into doing something stupid or short-sighted.

Just like how to-do lists often leave us feeling unaccomplished, by simply being more of who we already are (or who we decide to be), we aren’t so focused on the outcome that we miss the experience altogether.

By being our best, we receive the joy beneath the doing. The source behind the action. The journey to the destination.

Feeling fulfilled is so difficult for people because what they do is almost always based on the end result. The end result is the focus, and everything in between is at risk to be taken for granted.

To not only achieve but EXPERIENCE real results, we must BE something while we’re doing.

When we are deliberate in our being, a third face of the coin appears.

The ever-evasive realm of fulfillment finally shows up.

As if it had been waiting all this time for us to slow down and take notice.

Originally published at medium.com

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- MARCUS AURELIUS

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