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Founder and Editor-at-Large, Recruitthebest.org

8 Reasons Why People Don’t Know Who They Are

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Self-knowledge is the key to success. If you don’t know who you are, if you don’t know what you stand for, if you don’t know what makes you happy, and if you don’t know where you are going, you will find it hard to do great things. It made perfect sense when Socrates said, “To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.” Yes, it is the beginning of self-knowledge, because if you don’t know yourself, how can you know others?

To know other people, it is important to start with yourself. If you know yourself, if you know your values, if you know what you are doing here on earth, you will know others. So, know yourself to know others.

So, why is it difficult for many people to know who they really are? Here are some reasons that will make us understand why:

People don’t know who they are because they are afraid of change. To know who you really are, you must embrace change. It is through change, it is through transformation that your real self is revealed to you. People fight to stay where they are instead of fighting to move forward. You can’t know who you are if you keep doing the same thing for ten years. It is time to change it. If you don’t change, nothing will change. Jim Rohn said, “Everything changes when you change.” If you change, everything around you will change. But if you stay the same, if you fight for the same, you will stay the same, and nothing will change.

People don’t know who they are because they have no clear goals. People who set goals for themselves have reasons to live. They have reasons to wake up every day. They have reasons to keep fighting. They know how to live their lives. But if you don’t have a clear goal, you are just wandering through life with no purpose. Marcus Aurelius was right when he said, “If you don’t have a consistent goal in life, you can’t live it in a consistent way.” One of your goals in life is to live a consistent life. But without a clear goal, it is impossible to do that.

People don’t know who they are because they are afraid of being wrong. If you want to be right all of the time, you are putting yourself under pressure. If you focus on being right all the time, you are programming yourself for failure, because no one is right all of the time. It prevents you from taking risks. It prevents you from doing extraordinary things. If you are afraid of being wrong, you are denying yourself a fabulous opportunity to grow. George Addair said, “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” Don’t let the fear of being wrong cripple you from living a great life. Don’t let the fear of being wrong stop you from exploring yourself. Les Brown said, “Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” That is true. Again, fear is there, but don’t let it stop you from doing your thing. If not, you are living your fears.

People don’t know who they are because they don’t want to face their past experiences. Whether you like it or not, you cannot erase your past. It is part of your many experiences. Instead, find a way to explore your past, learn from it, and move on. If you keep running away from your past, you will never know who you are, and you will continue to live in confusion. To prevent that from happening to you, embrace your past- the good and the bad. Barry LaPartner said, “Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement.”

People don’t know who they are because they don’t believe in themselves. If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody will believe in you. Life is all about self-belief. It controls everything that you do. If you don’t believe in yourself, if you don’t accept yourself, you will find it difficult to explore yourself. But if you keep going through life without questioning your own existence, you will not discover your real self. Geof Bellman said, “Accept, forgive, embrace, and love myself for who I am now, not for who I might become eventually.”

People don’t know who they are because they don’t want to fail. Let’s face it. If you don’t want to fail, then you don’t want to explore. You don’t want to learn anything about yourself. If you are not ready to learn anything about yourself, how can you possibly know yourself? I don’t know. Remember, failure is not the end. It is the beginning of SUPER growth. It is up to you if you want to do it. Herbert Kaufman said, “Failure is only postponed success as long courage ‘coaches’ ambition. The habit of persistence is the habit of victory.” You will know more about yourself if you are willing and ready to fail.

People don’t know who they are because they are not ready to do the “impossible.” Yes, the impossible. In other words, they don’t want to take risks. You can’t know what you are up to if you don’t take risks. If you want to succeed, you are going to be comfortable with taking risks. That is the only way you can grow. Do the impossible. Practice the impossible. Embrace the impossible. Marcus Aurelius said, “Practice what seems impossible.” If you want to succeed, practice what others are running away from. If you want to to succeed, embrace challenges, and turn them into opportunities.

People don’t know who they are because they don’t ‘live in the moment.‘ To know who you really are, you must create time to live in the moment. People don’t know who they are because they are too busy to know. They don’t give themselves the gift of living in the moment. If you want to know yourself, spend quality time to think, to reflect, to evaluate, and to celebrate yourself. Learn to live in the moment. Work hard and smart, but don’t be a workaholic. Marcus Aurelius said, “Give yourself a gift: the present moment.” Wow! The present moment. If you want to know yourself better, the present moment is where you want to be in. You can get there, if you want to.

You can only know yourself if you pay attention to how you live, what you do, how you do it, where you do it, with whom you do it, and where you are going to in life. You can!

You Can’t Change People, But You can Change Yourself

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People change because they want to change, not because they are threatened to change. It is difficult to change yourself, let alone to even think of changing other people. It is good to try, but you are unlikely to succeed.

Change is not comfortable. People don’t like to change, because it is not easy. It makes them nervous. It makes them uncomfortable. They will resist it. Since you know how hard it it to convince people to change, why bother?

It is good to try. Remember, no matter what you do, no matter the strategy you use to convince them to change, there are people who will never change. They love what they are doing. They are comfortable with where they are and with what they are doing. They will change when they are ready.

In order to succeed in convincing people to change, give them valid reasons why they should change. Give them valid reasons why they should leave their comfort zones for something they don’t understand. Let them know that changing is coming. Don’t surprise them. If you do that, they will resent and resist your project. Make them understand that where they are going will be better than where they are coming from. Give them hope. Coach them. Make them comfortable. Don’t exclude those who are not in support of your change process. Listen to them. They have something valuable to add to your change project.

Don’t get frustrated if people are not ready to change. They will change when they are ready. It will not happen if they don’t believe in you. Before they even listen to you, they have to believe in what you are selling. So be honest when dealing with people. Thomas A. Kempis said, “Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.” If you can’t change yourself, don’t even bother to change others. Change starts with you. People will change when they see you change.

Change is personal. If you want people to change, be honest, and give them time to process it. Don’t rush them, and they will consider it.