Easy and fun way to know yourself better
Back in the day, I was going out a lot. Clubs, parties and that stuff. That was not particularly pleasurable for me, but I figured that’s what young people do.
I tried watching a few popular TV shows that cool people were watching. Listening to the music cool people were listening to. I tried to make myself more relevant. And then I gave up.
We all have innate desire to fit in, to belong, to be members of a tribe. In the process of fitting in, we slowly forget who we are and what truly lights our fire.
May I propose a creative project that will help you know yourself better?
It starts with the question:
IF YOU WROTE “THE BOOK OF YOU”, WHAT WOULD GO IN IT?
Credit for this stellar idea goes to Havi Brooks.
What is exactly “The Book of You”? That’s an alive document where you note random observations about yourself. One rule: Restrain from judgments. Do it like a scientist.
When you do something pleasurable, write it down. When something pisses you off, offends you, or ruins your day, write that down, too. Make a note of what you do when you function at your best. Also, note what puts you off the track. Write useful things. Write surprising things. If-then statements. Experimental results. Observations.
The form doesn’t matter. I use Evernote. You maybe prefer a notepad. Either way. Start observing and noting.
Examples? Here is one list I made for my book:
1. I love making things by hands (pies, cookies, wrapping gifts, stuff for the lab etc.). It calms me down and makes me feel accomplished.
2. If I go to Facebook before I list ideas and write, I end up wasting tons of time and set myself for a stressful and unproductive day.
3. If I drink two different types of beer, next day I will feel super-sleepy.
4. As I already mentioned, I don’t enjoy going out to the clubs. I enjoy small gatherings, where I can get to know people better and talk crap (and encourage others to talk crap with me).
5. When I tidy up a messy drawer, desk or cabinet, I feel absolute delight. (Completely disproportionate with the amount of effort invested.)
6. I rarely feel thirsty, so in order to function normally, I have to remind myself to drink water all the time.
7. When I don’t know what I am doing (which is often the case with my research), I feel unproductive and my energy level drops like the battery on the smartphone searching for wifi.
8. When I feel uncomfortable, I’m hiding.
9. Things I’m often reluctant to do (make a pizza dough, clean up, exercise), are often the things which bring me joy. Just later.
10. I have a deep need to create in different ways. When I don’t create, I feel useless.
11. My imagination makes problems seem so much worse.
You’ve got the point. “The Book of You” is the document that contains small, daily things. A kind of instruction sheet on how to use yourself.
Jim Collins, the author of “Good to Great”, did something similar at the beginning of his career. He wrote a journal about his experiences, in a form of scientific study. In order to be unbiased, he referred to himself as to “a bug called Jim”. After a session of teaching, he made a note: “A bug called Jim enjoyed helping people understand computers.” After a while, he was able to notice things that genuinely excite him and the ones that don’t. That’s one important purpose of “The Book of You”.
The practice of writing “The Book of You” will make you more mindful and observant. It will make you more of who you are. It will remind you of who you were before the world told you who you should be.
“The Book of You” can and will change. Your passion for some things will fade with time. New obsessions will rise. You will change and learn and grow. The introspective process of you writing “The Book of You” will help you know yourself better and become more of who you are. Isn’t that the ultimate purpose for each one of us?
Your turn. What did “a bug called You” notice today? Share your observations with me in the comments below.
Cookie of Wisdom: “You are an aperture through which the universe is looking and exploring itself.” Alan Watts ((Tweet this!))
Originally published at www.missstrangelove.com on May 19, 2016.