Learning To Become Who We Are Is Not The Main Interest In Life

By Michael James. Michael, from Benue, Nigeria, studies at the University of Ibadan. Please read his article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

Seeing life from the perspective of what we are, rather than what we can learn to do, limits our abilities. Equipping ourselves with new developments and skills is how we make a meaningful life. We don’t really have to limit ourselves to what we are; the task and interest in life is to become not who we were not before, but a better us. We just have to think and utilize the “present”, not the past. Human beings have the ability to adapt, develop, and become anything they want. So, the focus should be to acquire what we are lacking, then become who we were not before.

The phrase “what I am” cannot be formed without issues. By issues I mean what we have passed through or acquired during our growth and development. These are what amount to form our personality and ability, which are the main points in defining a human being.

But the question still remains whether it is possible to become what we are not when we don’t even know exactly who we are? How do we find our interest in a world where we don’t know what we are?

Normally, human beings at birth are like all products that have been produced. The plan for that product is to generate something, which mean all the strategies needed to make it generate income must be planned. At birth, they say our mind is a “tabula rasa”, or blank slate, and that is exactly what we are. But the interest of life is to grow up and become an adult, which we are not yet.

In the process of life, development is what matters. The plan should be to take a step forward, to move ahead, to improve, to become emotionally stronger, to turn a poor situation around, and push beyond our limits. This is the purpose of life: not to lose oneself just to who one is. Everything that characterizes our presence should not obscure our ability to adapt, learn, and change.

Meanwhile, it should be noted that this argument is not based on a complete ignorance of what we are, but that what life is all about is to learn and become who you are not before. Our background or the circumstances we find ourselves, to a large extent, affect how we revolve, that is, how we change, adapt, and learn. Yet we can turn our current situations into future revenue by focusing on the opportunities, rather than the problems, attached to them. For example, a man born into a poor family may see it as a reason to work and plan better.  If he subjected himself to his situation, he would join the cyclical train of generational poverty, or alternatively, his current circumstance could help him acquire “thinking quotient”, and this will help him to think better. “What we are” brings into vision what we have done or undone, but “revolving” helps us to become who we are not, but can be, beyond what we are currently.

The past is irreversible, but the future can be planned. Nobody in life ever truly works to reverse one’s past. Rather what we are trying to do is reverse the ill luck the past can have on our future. So, our focus should be to discover or learn things that will make us become what we are not before. The best time and place to start from is where one is currently. Not necessarily from what one has. For example, a girl who wanted to become a pianist, but grew up in village, where she was not open to anything of such, can easily learn it when she gets to cities and becomes what she wants.

The wealth of the world is controlled by those who see the future through the lens of their current circumstances. To trace generations of philosophical kings with generational wealth will leave one’s mouth agape to know that those that work for their wealth were poor people whose futures were not promising, but decided to start from where they were, struggling to acquire what they lacked and to become who they were not.

Unfortunately, above seventy percent of the world live below what they can actually draw from life. It has been established that those living in rural areas are prone to giving birth to the next generation of people in poverty. Why? The majority of these people have been brainwashed by their circumstances with the spirit of inferiority and incapability, and are too weak to see into future, only seeing who they are and not what they can learn

Whatever human beings are willing to do determine the physical actions that will take place. If what we have in our minds is just what we are, this will be what every other thing in one’s heart worships, and our ability to grow beyond its boundary will be crippled. Man can never grow more than his heart. To have a better life is to picture or imagine what one wants to become in one’s heart, with the past only serving to strengthen or give advice to such imagination.

Moreover, to have a better future is to learn to become who we are not before. To learn new skills that change our name, that change people’s perspectives about us, to do things that makes people see us from another angle entirely different from what they had known us to be. And that is what we all strive to do.

If yesterday was faulty, today can make it right. If the future is blurry, the present can focus it. But if our today is out of focus, what is the way forward? What really determines where man is and where he is heading is how vast and deep is presence his. And what makes man vast and valuable is the level at which he can deliver. So, channeling everything toward building a healthy present for a greater future is the main task. We must challenge ourselves into acquiring what will bring out the better version of us, not limiting ourselves to what we are.

Even God practiced the claim of Michel Foucault. He knew that for him to establish his superiority and expand his reign beyond his current throne, he had to see into future. He had to learn the act of creation. This future is what gave birth to creation of the human being. What God did is not just to create man but to acquire what made him Alpha, and also give another definition of him which he was not before that is “creator”.  “God is powerful” is what he was, “creator” is what he worked to become.

In conclusion, what we are is great, if we can define it. But we should never define ourselves from the angle of what we are, but rather from the perspective of what we can be. In fact, we don’t have to know exactly what we are; the most essential interest in life is for us to find out where we are currently, acquire what we are lacking, then become that better version of ourselves.

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