Dismantling our identity

All of my life I believed that I had to do something amazing to feel amazing.

This is why I wanted to be a successful entrepreneur. Deep down, there was a longing to be appreciated for more than what I already am.

This belief made me miserable.

Identity is a tricky subject. Self-help books tell us that we can only become an artist or an entrepreneur if we identify with those things and the people who are already successful.

But these identities are extremely limiting.

I postponed writing about ADHD for years because my identity was limited to ‘entrepreneur who works in tech’.

When we say “I want to be an author”, instead of “I want to write”, we are crafting a limited identity. It’s tough because society needs to put us into boxes otherwise they can’t understand us. That’s fine, let them do that. It’s you who needs to avoid being identified with something that you are not.

In the Yogic sciences, we practice disassociating with anything that is not the self. For example, I am not my house, my car, my wife, my kids, my career, my blog. I’m not even my body or my mind.

Doing this helps us to craft a universal identity. This sounds woo-woo but it’s not. We are all made up of the same atoms. So are the trees, the animals, the planets and the stars. When you remember that you can only breathe in oxygen because a tree breathes it out first, you’ll start to understand the importance of embracing a universal identity.

In Sadhguru’s book, Karma, he discusses being to doing to having.

‘Being to doing to having’ means that we were never meant to act in order to find fulfilment.

For most of us, this equation is reversed.

We do in order to be.

We build companies in order to be praised or get rich. We do because we feel incomplete.

Sadhguru says this is tragic.

Those of us with ADHD get so deeply attached to identities that it castrates our ability to fully experience life. We become like a deer in the headlights, clutching on to what someone with our identity should be achieving. We measure our success in comparison to others, rather than looking only at ourselves.

This is a new subject for me. But one that’s already creating profound changes in my life. I am no longer identified as an entrepreneur - but I build businesses. I no longer identify with being a writer - but I write (every day).

At the very least, this approach takes the pressure off trying to become something. And then all that’s left is the process. Repeating the process everyday is bound to lead to something we could never have imagined before. And that is the key to the magic of this life.