THE BLOG
12/16/2014 06:51 pm ET Updated Feb 15, 2015

Are You Really Who You Think You Are?

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Individuals often rush through the world to complete activities each day to get through their daily lives, many times running so fast that there isn't sufficient time to slow down and ask: Who am I? What am I doing? Am I really who I think I am?

The last question -- "Am I really who I think I am?" -- is a question that I never thought I would ask myself. However, once some impactful moments arrived, I was forced to ask myself the other questions: "Who am I; what am I doing?"

It's sometimes said that opportunities are missed because someone isn't actively looking for something that's wanted. Although, if an unexpected event, choice, or outcome occurs, these moments can sometimes force an individual to stop, take notice, and sometimes change direction. It's in these moments that an individual often learns to SEE; that is, an individual experiences a (S)ignificant (E)motional (E)vent that forces a self-examination of their own reality. Then, after experiencing growth by learning to SEE, individuals sometimes begin to ask themselves tough questions about the things that are or aren't believed to be true.

These reflective questions -- related to an individual's decision making -- are based on three perspectives:

  • Mental - Decisions made based on thoughts about the elements under evaluation, such as the factors of, the considerations about, and the impact of an individual's choices. These decisions can be more difficult due to over-thinking, analyzing too much, or being convinced to believe something that isn't in alignment with an individual's beliefs;
  • Emotional - Choices made based on an affecting response can cause a decision to be adversely impacted due to heightened sensory stimulation. These decisions can challenge an individual's ability to distance their feelings from an external stimuli;
  • Spiritual - The mental and emotional perspectives can cause an individual to toil over their life's direction, because an individual's activities normally reflect their spirit and core beliefs. Moreover, an individual's core beliefs are often used to minimize opportunities for their mental or emotional perspectives from unnecessarily overriding their values.

Any individual who uses the convenience of a situation to justify any action and/or behavior that doesn't align with their supposed core beliefs must question the conviction of their beliefs -- as core beliefs aren't situational. However, there may be times that an individual's core beliefs are redefined based on new discoveries, corrections to previous opinions, or purposeful decisions to change their viewpoints. Despite these potential adjustments, core beliefs aren't as fluid as opinions that can change rapidly from a moment to the next.

In training for my professional career, there was never a conversation or a consideration about the possibility that I might need to make decisions that would cause me to choose between standing firm in my beliefs or being a party (willing or not) to questionable and/or unethical activities. Furthermore, none of my extensive training prepared me for the heart-wrenching decisions that were required to choose between remaining at a job and a conflict with my core beliefs which might impact my earning potential.

The easiest thing to do while faced with moral, ethical, spiritual, or other challenges is to ignore the activities of others and convince yourself that others' questionable and/or unethical activities aren't any of your concern.

During the times I encountered these types of situations, these incidents made me question myself and also my beliefs. Specifically, are my beliefs really true to me; are my beliefs situational in nature; are my beliefs reflective of who I am or who I want to be? The answer I sought was in this last question.

By making tough decisions during challenging times these circumstances made me truly examine not just the example I set externally, but also the standard that I set for myself internally. The external example is easy to fake and often individuals do to appease others, to cover their actions, or to receive a personal benefit -- even though I didn't in these situations.

The internal example isn't as easy to fake, move past, or convince yourself that it's actually true. Unlike the external projection, the internal projection might be personally impactful long after a current situation. Therefore, will you act and/or behave a certain way for others, but then continue to toil over some of the worst disappointment possible... to yourself?

Some of the hardest things that an individual can do during their lifetime are to live with the outcome of their actions, behaviors, choices, or decisions. For this reason, does it not make sense that an individual ensures that their spiritual, emotional, and mental perspectives/decisions are aligned?

The answer to this last question isn't for me to provide for others; however, my hope is that this question is something individuals will thoughtfully consider.

Additional information on the development of belief can be obtained in Mr. Young's solution-oriented book "Management Spotlight: Belief".

This post originally appeared on S. L. Young's blog on his website at: www.slyoung.com