Are you your accomplishments? Your looks? Are you the lifestyle which you have built up around yourself? Are you your peer group, or your family? Are you your own version of yourself as seen through the eyes of your ego? Are you your success with women? Are you your bank account? Are you the tailored clothes you wear? Are you your physique which you have crafted at the gym? Are you the sum total of your life’s experiences and reference points? Are you your upbringing?
Or are you in truth some combination of all of the above? What happens when you start to strip some away? If you became disfigured in an accident, or lost all of your money in a financial disaster?
Objectively, it is of course impossible to know. The best we can do is to use the external trappings of success – a good job, wealth, style, ability with women, a good physique, supportive friends – as scaffolding to build up our self identity, and strengthen it to the point that it can remain standing, even if the scaffolding is removed.
This occurred to me now that I’ve been in SE Asia for about 5 days, and am finally emerging from the depths of alcohol induced depression I’ve been in for the last 3 of them. Gone are all the luxurious trapping of my normal life in London – no pimp apartment, tailored clothes, expensive accessories – and in their place are just a pair of flip-flops, shorts, and some t-shirts from a market stall on Khao San Road. In the eyes of most people out here, I’m just another backpacker. But in my own eyes, I’m a lot more than that – and that’s what counts, and what will come across to the people I meet within a short time of interacting with them through my tonality, body language and other forms of communication.
Build your scaffolding strong, and the underlying structure will grow sound and immovable over time.