2011 was a good year. I made some new friends, rediscovered some old :). There were quite a lot of emotional highs and lows, some mine, some vicarious. It was the year where I spent (wasted?) a lot of time understanding myself and the world. I wouldn’t say the introspection process has made me happier (yet), but I may have become slightly wiser. I also read crazy amount of books and watched a heck lot of movies — some provided a much needed zoomed-out perspective of life. In the process, I have realized the following.
You are NOT:
– what you (just) think you are
– what you wear/ where you live/ what “stuff” you own
– what you “like”
– what you create
– what you care about and consciously act upon every day
There are too many examples of people who try to define themselves through their taste (be it food, music, sporting teams) — I don’t say taste is all wrong, but taste on it’s own is just passive. You are not what you (just) think you are — it maybe a big blow to the ego for some of us, but I think it’s true. The world is so complex, there is always an observer bias when the brain processes information about yourself. It may not matter when it just involves you, but when it involves others, you can never truly know what others felt. The only way to stop fooling yourself is to communicate. Barriers do break when people talk. Even if it involves just you, a good way to “think through” something is to talk to someone (who doesn’t have his/her own agenda), or just write down your thoughts. It’s surprisingly helpful (thank you S :)).
“You are what you create” — I think this is a good rule of thumb for my personal sanity check. It forces me to consciously act upon things I think I care about. There are too many people in the world who say they care about X, but they do not actually act upon it. I think a good way to weed out useless thoughts is to weight your opinion about X by your action/thoughts ratio w.r.t X. If the null hypothesis is what you think of yourself and the data is what you do every day, I think for most people, we would have to reject the null hypothesis — statistics saves the day yet again :).
So, what’s next? I hope to transition from a passive analyzer to a more active mode — I always thought once I knew what to do, I would immediately switch into action mode. But I realize now that once you start understanding yourself, it becomes difficult to spring into action. First, you never “really” want anything that much (since nothing really matters in the cosmic sense :)), and second, there is always the inertia component involved in trying to do something. You have to consciously fight your lazy impulses — something that’s on the top of my to-do list for the new year.
Happy new year! 🙂