Photo by Deccio Creative.
Have you ever tried to be something or someone you’re not? Most of you know what I’l talking about. You buy a certain style of clothing because it’s the trend. You get your hair cut to match the fashion of the day. Or you buy a bigger car because that’s what everyone else is doing.
Shortly, you discover that the clothes, the haircut, or the car don’t fit your personality. It happens all the time. We temporarily forget about the awesome simplicity of being ourselves. One reason I’m moving toward writing more at this blog has everything to do with that awesome simplicity. I don’t want to be stuck with a label other than Dan Erickson.
Being Something You’re Not Wastes Time and Money
We all go through phases when we think we want to be something different than what we are. I once bought a bunch of gear for multi-day hiking. I never took a multi-day hike. It’s not who I am. Sure, I like the occasional day hike and the occasional overnight in a tent, but going out in nature for days at a time is not my nature. So I spent hundreds of dollars on things that rarely get used.
Occasionally, I play with the idea of becoming an artist. I’ve even bought a few charcoals and pastels. Maybe I could be an artist if I put in my time. But I know I’d as soon pick up my guitar than a paintbrush. I’ve never had a natural inclination for art. So spending hours trying to learn would take away from what I’m already good at.
There are lessons to be learned here. In order to simply be yourself, you must know yourself. I understand that knowing ourselves can take time. I’m 55 years old and I still occasionally make stupid decisions that don’t match the true me. Oh, but if I buy that muscle car, it’s just a mid-life crisis.
Knowing Yourself Leads to Wanting Less
Think about it. If you know your own needs, you’ll know what not to buy. If you know your own talents, you’ll know what to focus on. In the world of psychology, this is referred to as mindfulness. But how can we get to know ourselves better? For me, writing has been an excellent tool. Here are four simple prompts you can use to learn more about yourself.
- What are your core values? Are you honest with others and yourself? Is your faith important to you? Try making a list of the ten values that are most important to you. You could include anything from integrity to success.
- What are your strengths and weaknesses? We all have things we’re good at and things we suck at. Know the difference. In a general sense, it always makes more sense to work on our strengths rather than focusing on trying to overcome our weaknesses. Make a list of the things you can do well and the things you can’t do well. Then focus on the stuff you’re good at.
- What do you love? I love my dog, Shep. But if I had it to do over again, I’m not sure I’d have adopted him. Why? Because I also love living simply. Having a dog requires extra space and extra time. If I didn’t have a dog at this point, I’d probably have sold my home and opted for a condo. Make a list of the things you love. You can include people, places, lifestyle, hobbies, etc.
- Who do you want to be in the future? This might be the most important prompt of the bunch. Understanding who or where we’d like to be in the future helps us to create a path toward reaching that goal. The clearer you are about your future self, the simpler your life will be along the way.
Be Yourself and Find Awesome Simplicity
Life becomes more simple when we understand ourselves. That’s why I’m moving my writing away from Hip Diggs. Sure, I love minimalism and simple living, but I know I’m more than that. Writing here allows me to write from a more personal perspective. It also offers me more freedom and variety of topics.
In the end, I know I’m more of a creative writer than I am a non-fiction writer. Writing under my own name allows me to use the awesome simplicity of being who I am. With that said, as I continue to develop my presence on this site, expect some of my articles to become a little more personal, creative, and story based. That is who I am.
I’d like to encourage and challenge you to get to know yourselves a little better so that you can live your lives with awesome simplicity.
If you’d like to develop simple habits for life, stay up to date with the happenings here at danerickson.net by signing up for my free newsletter.