Different Behavioural Outcomes

Written by Odimegwu Onwumere, from Rivers State, Nigeria. Please read the article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

Are you who you were?

Are you who you are?

Are you what you wanted?

Are you who you will be?

Do you believe in change?

I want to discuss the statement that is credited to one Michel Foucault. The statement goes this way, “I don’t feel that it is necessary to know exactly what I am. The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that you were not in the beginning.” I would posit that Foucault is right, and you will understand my reason for supporting Foucault.

It is proverbially said in my Igbo Language that tomorrow is pregnant; no one knows what it will give birth to. You can own who and what you are today but cannot tell what the future holds for you. However, a man who says he does not care about what and who he is today, but where he is heading to, already knows who he is. He wants to grow above self-pity, the blame game. Such a man would not want people’s expectations and opinions to interfere in his, because he believes that it is his life to live and not other’s. He would not want the expectations and ideas of others to limit who he wants to become, he would not want others to tell him how to live his life in order not to live their certainty, not to live their prescribed path, and not to be weighed down by the experiences of the moment.

On this path to greatness

Lies thorns and shackles

Molestations and intimidations

Till the end is achieved, it’s not the end.

I have read stories of persons whose parents forced to study courses in the university that were not what they wanted or who they wanted to be. They obliged for the sake of family peace. After graduation from the university, they handed their certificates to their parents, and pursued causes and become someone else from what they were. Some persons were pressurised to study law and after that, they become someone else they were not in the beginning.

In juxtaposition to this, none of us are the person we were, say, fifteen years ago. We have either progressed or regressed. Our growth or regression depends on our different personality traits, our individual quest and application to life. We can agree that we learn and grow over the years. As the years go by, our thinking, judgment, memory, and decision-making also change. For instance, we have seen a troublemaker becoming easygoing. We have seen vibrant people becoming absentminded or suddenly careless.

Life is a brute teacher

Providing greater illusions than we see

In a glebe laced with spiritual and physical nature

We therefore struggle

For internal and external harmony.

Along the line of our existence, we find out that our personality traits change naturally or unnaturally. We either change as a result of illness, biological or social situations. In order to tell mankind that we are not always who we were, psychologists study man based on his cognition, behaviour, and affect, otherwise known as distinctive style. Nethertheless, age is one trait that increases our inconsistency. We change through biological stages to social stages. How a man’s thinking is when he is single will not be the same when he is married. Puberty, adolescence and adult stages come with different personality changes. Environmental woes, such as noise, change our sensitivity with their physical and psychological health penalties. A man who hears clearly can develop these ailments due to environmental impact. It is evidence that our ways of feeling, behaving and thinking go through stages, affected by environmental factors. As a result of the looming change that characterises man, researchers categorised the stages in human development as the Big Five personality peculiarity.

Each of these swings in every person, and we operate on different personality profiles. The introvert we see today may become an extrovert tomorrow. So, no personality profile of any person is static. We have different behaviours across situations and there is no generality or averages, hence those who know better, believe that personality is fictional. As individuals, we are not conscious all the time. There is fluctuation in every personality. This is rational, and man can be valued based on his predispositions or assessed by his environment.

There are a lot to define

In this world(less) cave we inhabit

Dislocated from its original form

For the unquenchable man’s lucre

Many of us are in touch with our shadows. Many are not in touch. Let’s understand that who or what we are today is infinitesimal of who and what we should be. Let’s follow our intuition to realise that which we should be, not by what we wear, the strength of our bank account or our facial beauty. We have to follow the path dear to us and in harmony with humanity. Let us always take support in what Charlie Fletcher said in – Silvertongue (Stoneheart Trilogy, #3) – “We oft know little of who we were, only something of who we are, and nothing of who we may be.”

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