When I asked my cousin, a wealthy real estate investor, to share the secret of his success; his answer surprised me. I was expecting for him to share some sort of to do list or routine. You know, the type of stuff you see in Inc or Forbes Magazine. Instead his answer was much more simple, and much more profound. His simply said "I lied to myself everyday until I believed it".
His answer totally shook the core of my being. Could it all be so simple? I lie to myself all the time, how come I'm not where I want to be? However, when I really processed what he meant, the light bulb went off. He ultimately made a decision about who he wanted to be, and took steps to become it.
The Myth of Self Discovery
"Self discovery" is often glorified in the media. There have been plenty of people who've said they "discovered themselves" in college, while backpacking in Europe, or while meditating on a mountain top in Tibet. However, self discovery really means "I don't know who I want to become". People who fail to define them self figure that through self discovery, they'll find their hidden purpose or meaning. This search can last for years, and waste valuable time and resources.
Successful People Decide Who They Are
From my experience, highly successful people decide who they are early on, and then go on to make that self definition a reality. I was close friends with rapper Lupe Fiasco during my high school and college years, and remember him defining himself early on. During winter break of my freshman year in college, we got together to record music. During this meet up, I asked him if he started applying to colleges yet ( I'm a year older). He replied, "why did would I apply for college when I'm going to be a rapper?" At the time I wanted to be a rapper as well, and was extremely talented in my own right. However, the difference between him and I was that I WANTED to be a rapper, and he DECIDED to be a rapper. I was uncomfortable focusing on my music career full time because I felt I needed a "back up plan", and a few months later he had a recording contract with Arista Records and launched his own independent record label.
Lupe isn't the only person I know who defined himself early on. Whenever I talk to successful people , the theme of self definition always emerges. Who they become isn't by chance, nor is it discovered. They make a conscious decision on who they want to be, and then take steps to make it a reality.
Steps to Define Yourself
Below are a few tips you can use to help you define your purpose:
Decide who you want to be
Don't worry about any personal traits, skills, relationships, knowledge, or resources you currently lack. You'll acquire them as you move toward your goals.
This can be done in a few ways. Meditation is a great way to uncover limiting subconscious beliefs, which will give you freedom from their influence. You can also do affirmations that reinforce the qualities you'd like to possess. A great app you can use for your affirmation practice is ThinkUp. This app allows you to listen to your affirmations in your own voice. A third approach would be to see a therapist. I believe that mental health professionals are under utilized, and contrary to popular belief, their services aren't just for the mentally ill. Therapists are trained listeners and can help you uncover subconscious beliefs that may hinder you from achieving yourself definition.
Operate From Your Self-Definition NOW
There is no journey to becoming who you want to be. The illusion of a "process" or "journey" is what hinders many people from reaching their goals. In order to be who you define yourself as, you need to operate from that self definition. If you see yourself as a manager, act like a manager and do manager ish now. If you want to be a millionaire, handle your money the way a millionaire handles their money now. If you want to be physically fit, do what physically fit people do now. By operating from your self definition right now, you will become it.
Success comes from self-definition, not self-discovery. You don't find your life's purpose, you define it. And the sooner you make that decision, the sooner you can make it a reality.