What defines what you do?
Who are you?
Why do you get out of bed in the morning?
Call it purpose or identity, but there is a difference between someone who has a vision for where they want to go and someone who simply let’s life happen to them; a casual observer to their own story.
There is living to survive another day and then there is being aware of what it means to live.
You can either let your life define your trajectory or you can set your trajectory to define your life.
Whether you use affirmations that, every day, creates the lens through which you see yourself or you set goals or use some sort of chart to establish your life’s path — the process of discovering your identity and becoming more the person you ought to be, no matter which technique you use, starts with these two questions.
The awareness you have of your life will shape the life you live.
So how do we develop this awareness?
By wrestling with these two questions — best articulated in the story of Rabbi Akiva & his walk home:
rabbi akiva's walk home
There is a story about a Rabbi named Akiva who was walking home one night on the same path he always traveled, except that this night was incredibly foggy and his path was barely visible.
So he gets to the point in the road where he usually turns, but because he couldn’t fully see, he misses his turn and keeps wandering further in the wrong direction.
Until he comes to a massive fortress.
As he approaches the fortress, he hears the voice of a guard who yells down to him from the fortress wall, “Who are you and why are you here?”
Rabbi Akiva, upon hearing those words, immediately responds with the obvious retort: “How much do they pay you to do this?”
The guard was a little taken back by the question and quickly uttered, “What do you mean? Why are you asking me this?”
The rabbi only prodded further — “I’m sure you get paid something to be a guard here, how much do they pay you?”
“Two shekels a day,” the guard responded.
As the story goes, Rabbi Akiva then looks up at the guard and explicitly says,
“I will pay you twice that if you follow me to my home and ask me those very same questions every single morning.”
Who Are You & Why Are You Here?
Wherever you are going will start with being aware of who you are & why you are here.