Who Would You Like To Be?

556. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Declan Donnellan wrote an amazing book, The Actor and the Target, intended for actors but I return to it again and again as the lessons are as applicable to life as they are to the stage. Here’s the bit I read today:

“’Who am I?’ is often the first question asked in creating a character but it can be unhelpful. Trying to answer ‘Who am I?’ is a lifetime’s work for an individual, and indeed the more we discover ourselves, the more we realize that we don’t know ourselves at all. If, then, we cannot properly answer the question about ourselves, how can we possibly answer it about someone else? ‘Who am I?’ is an Everest of a question….”

He continues:

“’Who would I like to be?’ is more useful because it is implies an answer that moves. ‘Who would I like to be?’ is even more useful when asked with a near opposite such as: ‘Who am I afraid I might be?’”

The question, “Who am I?” implies that you are singular, that you are one containable, knowable being. It reduces you to an outcome; static and immovable. I love Declan Donnellan’s insight into the better question: “Who would I like to be?” He writes that it’s more useful because it moves. It is an exploration, a question. It assumes a creation, a fluid changeable dynamic process of discovery. There is no outcome. Nothing is absolute.

When feeling lost, we say, “I don’t know who I am.” Yes. Exactly. How powerful might we become if we assumed that life was not about defining ourselves as fixed, as this or that, but discovering each day the infinite fluid possibilities of an unknowable being. The next time you feel lost, instead of trying to be found, engage in the playful creation of “Who would I like to be today?”

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