“This is Who I Am” is Anti-Progress

There seems to be an overall empowerment and acceptance of the statement, “This is who I am.” Drawing such a conclusion can be very powerful when one seeks to confirm their identity and values. But much of its use today, perhaps unknowingly, can lessen our self-worth and thwart our progress. It should be a factual statement of where we are today, not a statement to guide our life.

Professional Progress

The world is constantly changing, evolving and improving. Technological advances are the antithesis of “This is who I am.” Many great companies have evolved and progressed because they refused to hold themselves in one place. On the contrary, those companies that stick to “this is who I am” generally don’t survive.

Take Apple. It may seem impossible now, but several years ago Apple was on the brink of bankruptcy. Steve Jobs returned to his company, changed it around and now it is a powerful behemoth – affecting our lives in various ways. If Apple had remained stubborn and stuck to its core (initial) principles it would likely not exist today. Coca-Cola has similarly changed their ways over time to become relevant and profitable today.

Compare those examples with GRT. Never heard of GRT? Maybe because they cease to exist. Yet, in their day they were the best of the best. The problem is they remained who they were…an excellent provider of 8-Track tapes. And when the world progressed, they remained stagnant…until their existence was wiped from the face of the earth. Some may say it was natural selection. Really it was their preference not progress.

Personal Progress

Most people have been blessed with many strengths (or gifts), but we also have several weaknesses. In today’s trophy generation and preference for the easy way, many people will state, “This is who I am” rather than work on their weaknesses. The ironic thing is that the people we admire most are those that overcame their weaknesses.

It is one thing to have weaknesses, tendencies and preferences. It is another thing to make an absolute statement, “This is who I am.” We can certainly acknowledge who we are today, but it is much more empowering to define who we want to become. It is in the becoming that we find real happiness and satisfaction. Becoming is about looking forward; it is believing we can be better. It is identifying the habits we need to cultivate today so we will become tomorrow.

Today, we are who we are. Tomorrow, choose to become better.