Some very famous people have asked the question: Who Am I? Great minds such as Paul McCartney, Brian from The Breakfast Club, and the philosopher Descartes to name a few. The last example is the most academic but to me the least fun. Who wouldn’t want to be a walrus? Who hasn’t had a teacher try to pigeon-hole them without really knowing anything about them? But academic or otherwise, perhaps Descartes had the right idea: to know ourselves is the most important thing. Identity – do we really know ourselves? And is it a priority that we can’t afford to ignore or work to uncover?
In the communications industry that I hope to achieve success in, identity is everything. Choices that I make on a daily basis help to create and persuade people about my identity. How I choose to write, what events I put together and the Tweets, posts or Links that I make every day all shape the identity I so carefully craft. While I as a student focus on my career based choices, my personal choices are equally impactful. Do I give back or look out for me alone ? Do I choose green products or indulge in conspicuous consumption ? Do I make time for family and friends or is my loyalty narcissistic ? The business of creating your “I” is a most personal thing.
While I am carefully crafting the identity I show to the world, there are those that would take our hard work and make it their own. If nothing else, they have no identity of their own and this is demonstrated by their lack of restraint in taking someone else’s. If you value your identity and what “I” means to the world, I would hope that taking someone else’s wouldn’t be necessary. The stealing of an identity is such a personal attack, so violating, so insidious that it pervades all aspects of your psyche. Though maybe the perspective of the person whose identity is stolen perceives it as such only because they have spent the time creating it. For those doing the stealing, it is merely business.
When things go astray and either through accident or design, and your “I” becomes damaged or threatened, it is time to take it back. It is your business to fix, to rebuild, to re-establish the “I” that once was or to build the one you want it to be. It is easy to be swayed in to making poor decisions in business. Being jobless is a powerful motivator for anyone and if that is threatened, the long term impact of sketchy decisions seems too far away to consider. The “now” dominates. When your identity is not strongly developed it is easier to be swayed personally as well. Following the crowd, allowing life to happen to you, not having the tools to make a strong “I” to withstand those moments of moral quandary all impact what we become. It is in these times that reminding ourselves that our identity is a worthwhile investment, reaps benefits for the rest of our lives.
So whether your identity is under development, under utilized or under a rock remember that it is worth the investment.