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Fluidity of Identity

When I lost my sequined hat, which I wore nearly every day for three years, I felt out of place. I was the guy who wore the sequined hat, and now part of my identity was most likely in the hands of an unscrupulous backpacker in Panama. But really, I had been getting sick of the hat. It wasn't overly functional, had shed enough sequins that it was starting to look ratty, and was a vestige of my clubbing days. All that didn't change that it had become part of my identity, though. The same could be said about my recent decision to stop being a vegan. It was a comfortable identity for me. Some people saw me as a positive example of veganism. Deciding to eat meat would be an admission that I had been wrong and had given suboptimal advice to my readers. That's a bitter pill to swallow, and I could feel my subconscious fighting to maintain its identity; the battle for consistency over optimization.

Fortunately I've been able to couple my identity to a few key values, rather than staunch positions on issues. I value doing the best thing for myself and others, I value finding the truth over being the one who had it to begin with, I value health, I value independence and freedom, and I value productivity. My means of expressing and embracing these values are different now than they were a few years ago, and I have every reason to expect that they'll continue to morph as I progress through my life.

Staying exactly the same is the opposite of growth. If you want to develop yourself, you must be willing to have a fluid identity, deriving your value and satisfaction from what you're currently doing and planning on doing, rather than from what you've done. It's not always easy, which just might be an indicator that it's the right thing to do.

The Value of Inactive Options

On The 4 Hour Struggle

Ramit Sethi, in his interview with John Lee Dumas, had a surprising find in his research of why his target audience wanted to start their own business. He initially believed the reason was that Gen-Y males wanted to be able to buy a bottle for their friends at a Las Vegas nightclub.

In reality, they actually wanted to have the option to leave their jobs. They don't necessarily want to leave their jobs, but they would like to have the flexibility in the future.

The concept applies to many things. For example:

Living in a city that has a lot to do: I love having the option of being in a city where I can do "cultural" things (arts/music/events, etc). In reality, I probably only act on this once every few months, but knowing that I have the option satisfies me.

Location freedom: I don't travel very much. I am certainly not a digital nomad. And for a lot of the time, I need to be in Bogota. But I still can go just about anywhere I want in a 60-day time frame. It's nice to know that the possibility exists.

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