Using Books to Reflect on the Growth of My Emerging Identity

A few days ago, reflecting upon my frustration in being unable to push through and articulate this bigger picture I’m seeing, I asked myself the question, “How did I get here?” In doing so, it made me reflect back upon the last couple of decades of my life and I realized how specific books dramatically altered my path and the trajectory I’m taking right now.

While there have been a few influential books within the first half of my life, it was really the books I read in the second half, after the 2001 Dot-com Bubble burst, that really affected my perspective of life going forward. In effect, prior to 2001, I was just a person looking to fit in and do my part within society. After 2001 though, I no longer wanted to just fit in and just survive but instead wanted to stand out and thrive. In doing so though, I had to go beyond the expectations of society and thus go beyond its borders, seeking something new.

Without a doubt though, this all primarily centred around work and how work was no longer working for me (and today it seems like it’s actually working against people as well). But while work was the central focal point or fulcrum of this all, it went beyond it as well. It was about how the culture and environment of work was actually impeding the growth and development of people, feeling like it was standing in their way.

So in a way, I was intuitively seeing or perceiving something more. And it wasn’t just something that I was longing for but something that other notable authors were longing for as well. Something was and still is trying to emerge from our society and its individuals.

That’s basically what I want to reexplore with a series of reflection posts on the notable books I’ve read in the hopes that I can bring this seemingly intangible intuitiveness to the surface, so that I can clearly articulate it going forward.

In just thinking through this process though, it has made realize that a lot of my work today feels very intensely rushed. It’s like I’m constantly exploring new articles and subject matter daily, almost in a frenzied manner, hoping that I can find one thing that can catalyze everything into something tangible. But in doing so, my gaze is continually focused on the hopes of finding something “out there” that will make everything click.

What I’m realizing though is that it won’t be something “out there” that will make everything click but rather something “within me” that will achieve this. In other words, by reflecting backwards instead of just continually looking forwards, its really about trying to understand why all of these things clicked with me in the first place, revealing these patterns. In doing so, hopefully I will then make sense of a something bigger that will make everything click as a whole.

Already in reexploring one book, I’m amazed at what I’m seeing and perceiving with my newer perception, seeing connections and relationships between things that I was surprised that I had missed before. Hopefully these newer insights from these reflections will help something else to emerge from within me, perhaps finally giving a voice and name to itself.

By Nollind Whachell

Questing to translate Joseph Campbell's Hero’s Journey into The Player’s Handbook for the roleplaying game called Life, thus making vertical (leadership) development an accessible, epic framework for everyone.

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