May 23, 2010 by


Last night I was hit by a single strange thought: “Who am I?”

I know it’s kind of an existential thought. But for some reason last night that question would not let me go. So I pushed on that question.

“Who am I?”  begat …

“Who do I want to be?”  begat …

“Who have I become?”

And that question got me thinking:

“What beliefs do I have that form my boundaries and mold the soft clay of who I am?”

And if my beliefs are boundaries, and boundaries are limits, then what limitations am I placing on myself that I’m using to form my own character?

Benjamin Zander has a great talk on TED that explores self-imposed limits through the lens of classical music. He essentially says that the classical music industry has limited itself by saying that only 3% of the population loves classical music. A self-imposed limit. But he asks the question … “what if we’re wrong?” … “what if that 3% limit is our own limit?” … “what if everyone loves classical music they just don’t know it yet?”

That goes to the heart of “Who am I?” It begs the question of “why am I limiting myself?” Not just for individuals, but for businesses, for organizations, for cultures.

So here’s the question: “What limits are you placing on yourself right now that are keeping you encased in this self-imposed box?” What people are you connecting / not connecting with? What career do you have / don’t have? What food do you eat / avoid?

Ask yourself: “If I wasn’t … ” “with person X”/”doing job Y”/”living in Z” … how would my life be different and why have I boxed myself in with these limits?

See you on the wire

— Steven Cardinale

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