Imagine I dumped bag full of blocks in front a child and said, “Find the castle!”
The child would probably stare at the pile for a moment, perplexed, and then start picking up each block individually, searching in vain for a medievil fortress.
Now, imagine I did the same thing but instead said, “Build a castle!”
Now, the child’s objective has changed completely. Rather than looking for something that’s supposedly hidden amongst the rubble before him, he can now take an active role in building something completely original.
Instead of a seeker, he becomes a creator. What’s more, he’s now actually thinking creatively, instead of trying to follow a pre-established set of rules or guidelines.
Don’t find the castle, build the castle
Have you ever been told that you need to “find yourself”? This adage makes it seem like there’s some complete, fully-formed version of you out there, just waiting to be found! All you have to do is travel or meditate or get the right job or drink an ancient herbal tea and sure enough, you’ll find that person.
But really, this whole notion is kind of absurd, which is why I love the quote below:
Life isn’t about finding yourself. it’s about creating yourself.”George Bernard Shaw
Shaw said it best: in our quest for identity, we don’t find ourselves. We create ourselves. There’s not some self-actualized version of ourselves already out there, but we can create one.
We can do this by viewing each lesson, struggle, relationship, and epiphany as though it were another block to the castle we spend our lives building.
Take, for example, Spanx creator Sara Blakely. She was earning a living selling fax machines when one day she stopped and said, “Wait a minute – this isn’t my movie. This isn’t the way I want my life to be.” Years later, after a brilliant idea, a patent, and learning how to improve upon the way hosiery was manufactured, she became the owner of a company now worth $1 billion.
Blakely did a hard stop when she realized her life wasn’t the one she wanted – and she built the one she did want.
We can do the same. We can take a proactive role in our own life construction project by getting super clear on the life we want to live, instead of the life that others want us to live, orsearching for one that’s been recommended to us by society.
What’s one way to do this? Start by creating your Personal Vision statement.
In my next post, I’ll show you how.
Until then, remember: don’t find the castle, build the castle.
*Above photo is of me in Jodhpur, India in 2019, and yes, technically, it’s a photo of me “finding” a castle. However, traveling to India had been on my vision board for years and was definitely a life goal, so I can safely say I was also “building” my castle. 🙂
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