Where is my focus? Am I focusing on the right thing? Am I putting too much effort in the wrong direction? Am I inadvertently stunting my growth?
These are questions I ask myself quite frequently. I'm not sure when I started asking these questions or even why, but I do know that asking them often leads to recognizing areas of my life where I'm stagnating or where I'm otherwise unconsciously holding myself back or underutilizing my potential (or simply walking in the wrong direction).
The world is full of people who want to tell us how to do things. And I don't think that's bad. I don't think they're doing it with malicious intent: sharing what we know is an innate human quality. I also don't think it's bad to listen to what others have to say: I've grown so much in my life thanks to the advice and experiences shared by others.
But I think there's a danger in following too closely, in listening too intently, in modeling our life too closely around the lives of others. We lose a bit of ourselves through association. If we permanently associate with anything but our true selves, we will easily forget why we're doing things we're doing. We will lose sight of what feels innately important to us.
To really get at the core of what matters, to really focus our energy on growing in the right directions, we need to strip away everything, all the labels, the assumptions, the role models, and the beliefs.
Who am I?
When I strip away everything, I just am. And when I approach life from that state, I become a paint brush and everything else becomes the paint. There are no labels, no genres, no niches, no must-haves and have-nots. There are no limitations, no restrictions, no "this is who I am" or "this is who I am not". There just is, and pure potential.