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Untitled Essay

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I know who I want to be. Do you?

An important part of discovering / creating your own future is to find out, or plan, who you are going to become.

This sounds kind of obvious– doesn’t everyone think about this?– but in reality, it isn’t often done.

That’s because exerting your will on the universe is hard.

It is a constant push– back and forth– between you creating the world you want through your actions, and the world pushing back on you saying “nope,” or deflecting you, like a soccer ball hitting a goalie.

You can get distracted or upset by this. Over time, life takes over, so you spend more energy on management and juggling what exists vs creating what doesn’t exist at all.

Eventually, you lose track of exactly who you want to be. You forget about it. Momentum eventually goes to zero.

I met with Dale Stephens yesterday, who I was mentoring while he was at the Thiel Fellowship. He knows exactly who he is planning to become in the “new” education movement. In comparison to Sugata Mitra, Sal Khan, etc., he has to know or he will be forgotten and/or trampled.

I also saw Ryan Holiday say “don’t plan too much” on Chase Jarvis’ show (which I’m going to be on next week btw), but I don’t agree. A deliberate positioning in regards to the future is, I think, ultimately necessary.

As you get older (if you’re ambitious), you realize this. Yes, I just played the age card. :)

So ask yourself: who is it that I want to become?

Do you know? If you do, great! It will help you find out who to meet, what you need to know, what skills to obtain, and everything else.

It’s if you do not know that you have a problem. I wouldn’t know how much money to raise for our company if I didn’t know how our company worked. I wouldn’t know who to hire if I didn’t know where we were going. It’s craziness that I ever would.

Yet people let the ocean of the universe move them in whatever direction fate “intends” (as if fate really intended anything).

Well, I have news for you. No matter who you are, I know what your future is.

Your future is to grow older, slowly become irrelevant and have outdated views, eventually die and become food for the living.

That is what the universe “wants.”

I heard a great quote the other day from Horace Mann:

Until you have done something for humanity, you should be ashamed to die.

So get to it. Thank you.

* Filed by Julien at 1:37 pm under random


Hi, I’m Julien Smith. I'm the founder and CEO of Breather.

Check out more of my blog, my free book or add me on twitter. Also, we're hiring. Check that out.

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29 Responses to “Untitled Essay”

  1. Matthew Murphy Says:

    You’re writing brings me face to face with realities that I DON’T WANT TO SEE ABOUT MYSELF haha. Repeatedly. I resent my laziness perhaps more than any other element of my character and you remind me of this. Despite my frustration, articles like this leave me with a sense that, however haltingly, maybe I really can continue to grow and do things differently. I don’t even know you, but I love the shit out of you as a fellow human being. There are very few people who have ever been able to seriously shake the foundation of my thought, and you are one of them. You’re writing dislodges my world, shatters my sense of comfort. More-so than answers, you writing presents me with challenging questions, and I am grateful to you for doing what you do.

  2. WanHuz Says:

    I’ve been thinking about this thing for a long time but I still can’t find out what I’m supposed to do/who I want to be. Any tips on how to find one?

  3. James Says:

    Julien stops by once in a while to rattle the bars of the little cage that I live in.

  4. JGintheNY Says:

    I love your blog . . . always hits me at the right time in my space . . . great thoughts

  5. Peter Paluska Says:

    There it is. You said it. Most people don’t even take the time to ask the question. And of those that do few stick to it to the point where it manifests into something real. On point!

    Merci Julien!

  6. Peter Paluska Says:

    There it is. You said it. Most people don’t even take the time to ask the question. And of those that do few stick to it to the point where it manifests into something real. Truth telling right here!

    Merci Julien!

  7. Jonas Ellison Says:

    Point well taken. Getting to it…

  8. Frantislav Says:

    You are making it far too easy. If you don’t know, just ask yourself and find it out!
    It doesn’t work like this. You can’t just think things through and find out what way is the best for you.
    I’ve been asking myself this question for quite some time now. Of course, I’ve had plenty of ideas but eventually, I realized none of it was exactly THE one I wanted.
    The thing is, I radically disagree with you on the fact that you can’t wait for some time and see what happens. Because, you know, people make mistakes. And when you decide to do something even though you are not sure about it, you might rather wait for some time.
    The actions and experiences we achieve make us who we are, not what we think in our heads we should be.

  9. Jeffrey Cufaude Says:

    Ive long believed that in the US instead of asking young people “what do you want to be when your grow up? we would be better off asking “who do you want to be when you grow up and what impact do you want to have in your world?”

  10. Autumn Hruby Says:

    I just stumbled upon your blog 3 months ago. I really appreciate your thought process and keep coming back. I also started reading one book per week, thanks to one of your posts. I’m on my 13th week. Thanks for finessing my routine.

  11. Phil Bock Says:

    I think there is a harmony to be created between planning and simply being. A will is better employed in shaping a future reality than forcibly changing a current one and knowing the difference is critical. Your point,well taken,I hope includes those quiet times where the planning comes from a place of introspection. Seeing what is mirrored in front of you followed by action according to your highest will. I agree with the other post and simply love being exposed to your highest will. I know I am better for it.

  12. Dene Says:

    You become the things you do, the choices you make and the actions you take. To plan is good but to remain open and see the opportunities that present themselves along the way gives you the best chance to be what you want to be. Not to think about it leaves your future in someone else’s hands. If you’re not part of your own plan you’re part of someone else’s.

  13. Gloria Lucia Closset Says:

    When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.
    -Lao Tzu

  14. Syra Says:

    Your untitled essay should be titled ” my judgment on how people should plan their future”. we are all different thank fully and make our plans the way we see fit and what we feel we want.
    What we become is not planned as you state but learned and experienced.
    We don’t all have to fight with the universe nor do we have to plan it your way…
    Life doesn’t take over life is lived and experienced, what takes over is our plans.

    Who you become is what you experience and what you learn along your journey through life.

  15. Jo-Anne Says:

    I have never given much if any thought to who I wanted to be I just driffted with the flow and this is who I am and I like me……….

  16. Daniel Says:

    Yes I love your blog and posts, it motivates me to get off my ass and stop being a pussy. The only problem is, once I stop reading and go off into the real world, I forget most things I read and go back to my old habits.

  17. Morla Elliott Says:

    As usual excellent article. I particularly like the quote. I find it amazing that more people don’t think this way and it is definitely the reason our world is in such a shambles. I moved to a city where people don’t talk to each other and look scared when you say good morning. To this I respond “Don’t be scared – where I come from people are friendly to strangers”. It’s sad really. I hate the comment it’s none of my business because this is my planet and everything going down on it and around it is my business. A cry to the humans to start to care even if its’ not your business but i digress.

  18. Rico Compagnie Says:

    I know exactly what I want. I have written it down on a list. And everyday I work on it. Every day.

  19. Rico Compagnie Says:

    I know exactly what I want. I’ve written it down in the form of a list. And everyday I work on it. Every day. Be it directly or indirectly, it doens’t matter as long as I work on it every single day. And whoever is reading this comment, you should do it too.

  20. Person Says:

    Ok, so what if you don’t know, what then? Or what if what you want to become is beyond your control, such as a wife/husband or a mother/father? Is all you can do just hope?

  21. Deirdre Baker Says:

    I think the hard part for many people is weighing the “Who I want to be” with “Who I have to be right now to survive” not realizing that ‘now’ is not static. We limit ourselves by the environment around us, age, background…so many things. Learning to step out of that is paramount to finding your real life’s purpose. Great post…thanks so much!

  22. Mark Eichenlaub Says:

    Awesome post. Keeping a daily journal and goals that you see each day is a simple yet great way to keep life’s goals in focus.

  23. Aaron Morton Says:

    Great post and one i think is important especially if you are looking to start a business, because I think what you want to become has to fit in with where you want to go with your business. If I want to have a business where i can work from anywhere in the world, do i want to create a business where other people doing a similar thing have worked 100 hour weeks for the last 10 years?!!
    Thanks for the post Julien.

    Aaron Morton
    The Confidence Lounge

  24. Katie C. Says:

    This is SUCH an important lesson. I really knew what I wanted, but that got obliterated when I went back to school. It’s a lot harder to move forward (or anywhere really) when you’re going in all different directions and it’s obvious for the world to see. Step (1) should always be: how is this gonna help me get to my dreams?

    That being said, sometimes I have to agree with your friend Ryan that it can be ok to get a little off track and just live – sometimes it is in the experiences that you find the revelations of who you want to be. It’s just that after you’ve got that sorted you need to live it.

  25. peter kagiri Says:

    this is the reality part of life .yeeees until you realise what you want to b you cnt take the frst step

  26. Falon Hubbard Says:

    Again, your words inspire me at exactly the right time.

  27. Vio Rel Says:

    So if you don’t know what you want to be you have a problem!? What if you know what you don’t want to be! It’s that enough?

  28. Mitch Gallant Says:

    Great to see this perspective. You moved me to read a book a week for a year (ok… only 45) and this is something I’ve been working on for the past 6 mo’s.. and ongoing… thanks for the fuel along the way! : )

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