“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate you and define you.” – Thomas Jefferson.
‘Know thyself’ is often bandied around as a pathway to growth or success. However, how many of us take the time to reflect deeply on such things in our busy age? And what does it truly mean?
Many of us avoid such navel gazing in the interests of ‘getting things done’. Yet this message lets us break out of this bind- through action we can gain self knowledge. Through action we can find form. Through action we can find definition, identity and self.
Are these everyday actions? Or are they special actions? Or does this even matter?
I believe the key lies in the observation. If we observe what we do, if we observe how we do things naturally, then we can gain quite significant insights. Actions reflect habits, habits reflect thoughts and thoughts reflect self.
I have often used the idea of the Metaself to help with such observations. People today call this Mindfulness. Imagine you sit on your shoulder and watch yourself as you do and think things. Do not judge. Do not filter or try to change. Do not ask questions. Just watch and learn. Insights flow from passive observation. Jefferson picks up these ideas when he says, ‘don’t ask.’
After observation, we must act. Hopefully action will now not be automatic. Hopefully now action will be considered. It will be measured, precise. This makes thought and action more efficient, more flowing.
I have found after many years of working, often when wrestling with difficult problems, that this process of reflection and refinement of thought and action can work wonders in terms of output and the enjoyment of each day. This process can also allow us to infuse meaning into what we think and do. This is what I believe Jefferson means when he says “action will delineate you and define you.”
By Lee Spano, Creatness International www.creatness.com
© Copyright Lee Spano. All rights reserved.