We find who we are in the words, the beats, the stories and the emotions that resonate with our narrative.
Never believe that choices are random.
Despite what you may think, there is always something driving a choice, no matter how unapparent it might seem in the moment. Much can be found in the choices and things we show interest in. They are a reflection of how we see life, the world and ourselves.
For example, I’m quite a brooding, introverted person of few words. I have an expansive mind, imagination and like to think deeply about lots of things. (I’m really selling myself here, I’m aware)
I’ve always seen and still see myself as a somewhat outsider to the “normal” world or really what conventional society sees as “normal”.
The things I’m attracted to, are by most metrics, those that are deemed as different to modern popular culture.
A few stories to bring my point to life. When I was a child and had to make the oh so important choice of choosing my favourite superhero, none of the popular, do good superheroes appealed to my inner dialogue and the narrative of my life at that moment. When many chose the more uplifting stories of Superman or Spiderman, I chose Batman.
A somewhat damaged, conflicted and emotionally questionable archetype character who wants to do good but shuns any real human connection. A deep choice for a child you can imagine. But, even at that time, the story of that world aligned to the moment I was in and subsequently shaped how my personality has morphed today, decades later.
Of course, at the time I didn’t say “Wow! Batman is damaged and conflicted, that’s just like me so this will be my favourite superhero” I mean, that’s a little complex for an infant’s mind. I no doubt would have thought, this dude is cool, wears a batsuit, kicks ass and has lots of gadgets. What’s not to like?
Yet, something deeper drove me to that character, it’s world, the stories it tells and the emotions it explores.These examples can be found through many areas of our life.
Take another example from my world. The story of the first album I ever chose to purchase of my free will.
Up to that point, I had been fed whatever was popular on the radio and countless hours of ABBA. Both of which were not hitting the right notes for me. I was certainly not going to allow my mind to digest the rambling nursery rhymes of the Spice Girls or whatever the current trendy pop band was at that moment either.
No, instead I chose the heavy beats and very deep thoughts on living life, at the ripe age of 13 yrs old, of Linkin Park. Their debut album Hybrid Theory has served as a somewhat interlude across my life. Even now in my 3rd decade on planet earth, I discover lyrics that just make so much more sense to me as time goes on. I find myself saying often with every re-listen, “I understand how that feels now”.
Of course at the time I first listened to these songs, I could not fully understand the message being shared but as I have aged so has the meaning in these words to me.
And, for me, it makes complete sense why I chose that album at that time. The stories shared in some of those songs were not so different from the ones I was experiencing but it wasn’t until becoming an adult, I realised why I had made the choice to consume that content at that time. It reflected my own story and I found comfort in that sound.
I did not choose the banging beats of Taylor swift as my life is not like that but it maybe for many others and that’s great, because that’s their story. Just like you have your story and make your own choices.It’s these choices that reveal who we are. So, the deep emotionally torn and reflective lyrics of someone like Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails are the words that connect to my being. Not the upbeat melodies of the latest pop phenom which you might connect with.
“Melodies to where I’ve been, monuments to where I’m going”
These choices are going to be different for each of us. But, within each of the choices we make, we reveal more of our picture. A picture of who we really are.
You see, if we analyse the things that we choose in life, the things we like and find connection with. They are often reflective of the deep subconscious ways we feel and how we operate.
You’ll notice these, even to this day.
On a personal level, the emotions, stories and lessons found in archetypes of a character such as Batman and the lyrics of bands like Linkin Park and NIN, align to my own story.
This is what we as humans seek most.The things that connect with our own story, because all we want is to know that someone, somewhere feels the way we feel. That we can watch or listen to something and say “I get that, I feel like that sometimes too”.
In today’s world, we see this more through the connected highway of social media. Where people are connecting and consuming on a mass scale. (Whether this is positive is another question).
This is probably much like you too.The things you connect with are those which mirror your own life and feelings. We make these choices because they are telling a story and in some sense part of our own story.
You would have made these as unconscious choices but they are a nod to how you think, feel and perceive the world around you. This is weaved in everything we do in our day to day. Our choices shape us and unknowingly we connect with and are drawn to things, stories and people that align with who we really are. Not the mask that many of us wear to fit within the accepted norm.
We select films, music, literature, and styles of fashion for a reason. Mostly, as we’ve already explored, these are not conscious decisions. Yet, if we reflect, we’ll find the connections.
Whether that’s taking a look at your book collection, your music playlists or scrolling through your social media feeds. The thread that binds all of your choices together is there for you to see.
No choice is ever a random choice, not really. An emotional and/or behavioural drive is behind them all. So, whether you chose Batman over Superman as a 5 yr old or Taylor Swift over Trent Reznor on your playlist.
Our choices reveal the pieces of ourselves.
If you want to learn more about yourself, perhaps, look further into why you looked here instead of there.
You might also like
Thoughts, ramblings and insights on the only operating system you should care about.
Stop trying to find the map to happiness.
Before you go… 👋
If you like my writing and think “Hey, I’d like to hear more of what this guy has to say” then you’re in luck.
You can join me every Tuesday morning for more tools, templates and insights for the modern L&D pro in my weekly newsletter.