If you’ve never seen or read Fight Club, it’s a great study in what you can do when you let go of the living in the confines of your “self.”

If you’ve never seen it or read the book, the main character is a white, upper class guy who has no direction or meaning to his life.  He focuses on wanting and needing insignificant material stuff, because he has nothing else to really want.  He feels empty, purposeless.  But that’s his lot in life, and he accepts who he has become.

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT.  SORRY.

Sure, there are lots of stories like that.  But where FC takes a turn is when the lead character invents a way to do things he would normally never even dream of doing.  He becomes an athlete, a leader…he pushes every boundary and law he can knock over.  More importantly, he pushes his own ideology.  He completely steamrolls the way he lives his life and lives without consequence or fear of what people think about him or how his actions affect others.

I’m leaving a lot out here, just in case you want to see it.  As you should.

So, what if you were that character?  What if you woke up tomorrow and suddenly, every little thing that holds you back from doing what you want to do had vanished?  You no longer cared if people thought you looked a fool.  You took action without fear of running out of money.  You pursued the person you’re most attracted to without any thought of rejection.

Based on our experiences, circumstances, habits, and beliefs that we ARE a certain way.

“I’m conservative — I don’t take risks.”

“I only look good in navy blue.”

“I’m analytical, so I can only do analytical work.”

It’s natural to take on those beliefs — they help craft your identity, whether you want them to or not.  You ARE a systems analyst.  You ARE a devoted wife and mother.  You ARE a devout follower of your faith.

But…what if you weren’t?

Try this…make a list of things that describe you.  It can include anything — just things that you “are.”

Then next to every word, write the opposite.

For example:

Christian                       Atheist
Analytical                      Creative
Staunch Conservative   Flaming Liberal
Careful                           Crazy Risk Taker

See how many you can do.

The point of the exercise is this: you become who you are for various reasons, and sometimes you don’t even know that you’ve become that person.  Even further, you’re unhappy because of your identity, but you don’t even realize what aspects of your identity comprise you.

This is an exercise to learn more about yourself, what motivates you, and what you can start to do at a fundamental, basement level to begin to change those beliefs.  It can be a slow and at times uncomfortable process, but in the end you will know yourself better.  And by knowing what you believe about yourself, you can start to make the changes you really want to make in your life.