"How can one learn to know oneself?
Never by introspection, rather by action."
- Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
I don't know that he meant to go out and run multiple ultra-marathons by that, but I feel like I relate to this much more than those who say that meditation allows us to fully recognize our inner selves. Not that meditation isn't extremely beneficial for de-stressing, calming and re-centering, but I have found that I am only able to gauge who I am and what I am capable by doing or actively being the thing. Introspection may allow us insight into perhaps our motivation for an action, but it is the action itself which then defines us.
Par example: One can say, "I am kind," but if one's daily actions do not reflect that, then that is not who that person is. Similarly, one can reflect on one's courage til the cows come home, but it is only when faced with adversity that one's mettle is tested. I know I am simplifying the above statement a bit; it is my own perspective (obviously) and I am sure that there are many out there who may have tangential or completely divergent views. For me, I hope that 1) my actions truly reflect who I currently am, and 2) throughout my life, I continue discovering more about myself, known and unknown, as I encounter both adversity and triumph.
Since it's Flashback Friday, here's a look at me in 2001, less than a year before I raised my right hand and donned a flight suit, when I was still working in the "dotcom" world:
|Fall 2001 in San Francisco, |
at a cocktail party prior to attending the Webbys Awards