Nothing in life is as important as knowing your limits, knowing which goals you can achieve, and which goals you can’t achieve. You will never know your limits if you don’t know who you are, and what you really want in life.
WHO ARE YOU?
Many people, myself included, have difficulty in answering this simple question for different reasons. Our answers begin with the name, followed by what we do for a living, and then our status, like married or single with children, or sometimes followed by personality traits, like “I like people.”. This doesn’t give your identity. If you were to ask me why I always describe myself in this fashion, I would say it’s because internal validation is more important to me than an external validation, I know myself, but I don’t have to convince people about who I am.
If you don’t know who you are, how can you do justice to yourself? People often reduce themselves to a name or a sentence. You are everything that makes you, both inside and out. Your identity goes far beyond your name and appearance. It includes your values, beliefs, and character.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
The only way to determine what you can do is by analyzing your strengths, your weaknesses, and your convictions. Know what talents and skills you have. Know what your strong points are, like punctuality, self controlled, hard working, or generous. Know what aspects of your personality need to improve, those that need more work.
When are you susceptible to temptations? In what areas could you exercise greater control? What moral code do you follow, and why? Do you believe in God? What has he done for you? Do you believe in ancestors? What evidence convinced you of their existence and power? Or do you believe in both, why? What convictions do you have about the future?
WHAT DO YOU WANT?
What is your purpose in life, or the meaning of life? In trying to find the answer don’t attempt to find the larger meaning of life, you will be wasting your time as you may not be able to define the larger meaning of life. The smaller meaning of life is about your personal goals, your ambitions, and your mission.
Make sure that your goals are realistic. You can’t have a goal to be a professional basketball player when you’re short. Setting goals that are difficult to attain may lead to a dissatisfaction about your life. Make sure that your goals are not subject to various things that have to happen beyond your control. Nobody knows everything, but each and everyone of us has his or her own areas where he or she excels.
Skills don’t transfer from one arena to another. A powerful business man is not going to be automatically be a good President. A good surgeon isn’t automatically a good hospital manager, and being a good economist isn’t automatically going to make you a good bank manager.
You must turn down an offer if it demands skills that you do not possess. Don’t allow anyone to convince you otherwise. Say you don’t know. There’s no shame in saying so, and this doesn’t make you less intelligent. Do what you can, not what you wish you could. If you can’t cook just drop the idea of becoming a chef. Why would you have a goal of owning a restaurant if you can’t stand your neighbor or friend visit, or open a creche when you can’t cope with your own two children?
SUSCEPTABILITY TO TEMPTATIONS
Nothing is as good as a car salesman in convincing people to buy what they don’t need or can’t afford. Do not succumb to this pressure. If you go to a motor dealership to buy a second hand vehicle, make sure you buy one. Why would you buy a Mercedes Benz if you were always behind with your VW golf instalments? Why would you buy a manual car if you have never driven one before? Don’t listen to a salesman telling you that you can afford it, he doesn’t know all your responsibilities. Don’t allow him to convince you that with few training lessons you will be able to drive the manual car. You will damage your car, and you will be frustrated. Just tell him you can’t.
A “no comment” response is not bad at all. Don’t let people dictate what’s on your mind. Journalists are very good in pressurizing people to give opinion on subjects that have nothing to do with their expertise. If you find yourself under pressure to give an opinion on something outside your speciality just say you don’t have an opinion on the matter, rather than embarrassing yourself by pretending you know something when you don’t. Not having an opinion is not a sign of intellectual weakness.
FOCUS ON WHAT YOU KNOW
Don’t worry yourself with things that are complicated for you. Focus on what you know best, let all your efforts be directed to something that you good at. If you don’t have goals you will achieve nothing. If you don’t know your limits you will follow every advice, set yourself goals that will be difficult to achieve, and achieve nothing. This may lead to anxiety and depression, as you will begin to see yourself worthless.
YOU CAN CHANGE YOURSELF, BUT NOT OTHER PEOPLE
Our personalities, characters, temperament, values, and predilections change over time. The reality is that we’ll change almost as much in the future as we have in past. You can exercise some influence over changes in your personality, but you can’t change other people, not even your partner or your child. So, avoid goals in which you have to change other people, like a goal to build a business empire with your family. Your partner or children may not have an interest in that particular business, or any business for that matter. You can’t force them to change. Instead this may cause conflicts within your family, and you will achieve nothing, but you will be frustrated.