What defines you?

Because we accept that our past shapes us into who and what we are, we’re inclined to allow our past to define us. Maybe, when it comes to deciding what should be defining us, we’re looking in the wrong direction.

What really defines us is death. When we die, our lives stop and so do any possibilities regarding what we might have still achieved. Read obituaries of people who have recently died and you will see how death has defined them. Whatever they have achieved up to their death is what they have achieved – there will be no more.

No further chances.

But if you’re going to wait until your death to be defined, you’re waiting too long. You can do something about how your life is defined long before your death defines it.

Get chatting to anybody and everybody and you will find that they all, like you, have a story to tell. They have come through good times and hard times, happiness and unhappiness, success and failure. In that way, none of us is different.

Where differ in how we allow experiences to shape us into who and what we are. Some people experience difficult times and become bitter and resentful; others become extremely compassionate with empathy for others facing similar challenges.

While some people who have encountered tight financial times learn to handle money very well and use it wisely to accumulate wealth, others in exactly the same conditions end up accumulating more debt and never end up better off.

What is the difference between these two types of people? Why is it that, while their pasts may be similar, they have such different outcomes?

Everybody has a past – not necessarily a good or a bad thing, just a fact. Some turn their past into an asset, drawing on the lessons learned through the years to help them make smarter, wiser decisions; others allow it to be a liability that traps them in a prison all through their lives.

It’s about what we allow to define ourselves. If we let our past define us, we’re missing out on an opportunity to fulfil our potential and we remain locked in our past.

If you are allowing your past to define you, you’re doomed to remain a prisoner to the things that have made your past and, possibly, your present, so unpleasant or unhappy. If you allow your past to define you, you’re seeking to remain as you are and your death will be a mere statement of the things that occurred in your past.

If, however, you allow your future to define you, you change the game. You open up all sorts of possibilities as to what your future could become. Get a good future clear in your mind’s eye and allow that to define you. If you want to be successful, fulfilled, living a life of abundance, let that define you. When you do that, you think and act in ways that are very different from someone who is allowing their past to define them.

When your past defines you, you will not grow any more. When your future defines you, your growth becomes limitless. So, decide what you want to become and let that define you.

Alan Hosking is the publisher of HR Future magazine, www.hrfuture.net, HRFuturemag, a self-mastery teacher and age management coach.

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