"If I let go of who I am I become who I might be" - Lao Tzu.
What does this quote mean to you? What does it mean that could help your development?
I think it means, in its very simplistic form, that if you disconnect from everything that you identify as being "you" then, you can give yourself a new perspective and the ability to develop your potential.
Our identities are often very important to us. They are abstract concepts which we use to define each other. However, if your identity becomes a block to you striving forward then stepping back from it to see the range of possibilities in front of you could be a good idea.
We know so little about the human mind that we need to be cautious in terms of how we are defined. Although, for example, I am proud to be a woman, attaching myself to the female identity in some situations could limit my success by implicit stereotyping.
This implicit stereotyping is known in psychology as stereotype-threat. Stereotype-threat is a concept known to impede performance in sport; academic examinations and other performance domains.
Stereotype-threat occurs when people are in situations of conforming to stereotypes. This is OK if you belong to a successful team or a positive group in society but if you're the underdog you risk behaving exactly as your stereotype dictates.
In fact, research has shown that awareness of the stereotype at a crucial moment can have a major impact on performance, decision making, etc and might keep you from thinking with depth and breadth about the possibilities that are up for grabs.
What are the identities that you are connected to that prevent you from seeing the bigger picture? Could they be connected to your age; your gender; your experience; your self-rating or something else?
Take some time to think about it and notice what happens when you remove that identity for a moment. What are the new possibilities that open up?
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Jenni Jones is a Performance Psychologist with a passion for sharing what is being discovered about the human brain, how it works and how we can apply this knowledge to help us achieve our goals. Check out her website here.