The Labels That Define What We Are
I read the book “The Promise Of A Pencil” by Adam Braun on a quarterly basis, and on this most recent read I caught an insight I’d missed. Sometimes your awareness intuitively knows to rise to the things you need when you need them.
It’s a book about personal transformation, discovering potential, and taking naive action to make the impossible possible. The line that really stood out this time is “through exploration of the unfamiliar we stop focusing on the labels that define what we are and discover who we are.”
Braun’s implication here is that many of us live an unchallenged life. We live out our defaulted autopilot that has been shaped by years of conditioning, expectations, and cultural norms. Labels are put in place to maintain this core infrastructure and they reinforce us deeper into the conditioning.
We don’t think to question it because it’s how we’ve grown to see the world, and we’re not motivated to change it because it violates our unconscious preference to seek comfort. But when you venture into unfamiliar spaces you trigger your mind to pay attention again because things are new and novel. It activates your conscious awareness and allows you to think more independently about things rather than continue to be influenced by your programming.
With that in mind, let’s go back to the quote - “Through exploration of the unfamiliar we stop focusing on the labels that define what we are and discover who we are.”
What we are is the conditioning. Who we are is our free-will.
We discover who we are by putting ourselves in the unfamiliar and allowing us to live more conscious lives. Instead of accepting that things are a certain way, you’re inspired to curiously question why things are that way.
This helps you cultivate more self-awareness and from that, more growth. I believe that self-improvement is the convergence of self-awareness and self-acceptance. It’s knowing who you are outside of the labels the world might impose on you (which you discover through new experiences and honest introspection), and being at peace with who you are so you can live in integrity with what you find to be true about yourself.
The more consciously, intentionally, and productively we can live, the more fulfillment we’ll find in our lives because we are investing in the things that light us up. I’m finding it for myself, and I want it for you.
I'm Brian Ford and if you’re looking to believe in yourself and the possibility of the difference you can make in the world, grab a copy of “The Promise Of A Pencil”. It has changed my life, I could not recommend it more, and it will change yours too.