How do you reinvent yourself? For the longest time, I questioned how this is possible. Aren’t we are who we’ve always been? How do we get another identity than the one we’re so familiar with?
A book that I found during my years at Purdue, called Reinventing Yourself made me start thinking more and more about this. And I realized that I had started on this path early on.
When I was growing up, I understood competition. In fact, I remember the first time I “lost” in the real world. It was in 4H in a shooting sports competition. And frankly, I hadn’t practice – and apparently it showed. I ended up getting 7th out of 10 competitors in my age range.
I was pretty upset when I heard the news. Up until that point, I felt that I was good at about just anything I put my mind to. I just couldn’t believe that I didn’t do as well as I thought I was going to do.
I vowed that next year I was going to be better.
That next year, I made it a point to get up super early on Saturdays and go out to the firing range with the club.
That next year, I didn’t do much better. In fact, if I remember right, I got 5th place. Still not nearly as good as the champions and grand champion ribbons I was seeing in my other projects.
However, one thing did stand out to me. Everyone at this event, which was supposed to be highly competitive, got a small trophy.
This was the first time I was exposed to the idea of all participants get a trophy.
I remember being pretty ticked off. Why should they get something for not even placing? I worked at my loss!
So the next year I opted to focus more on Dog Club and left the shooting sports group all together.
Many argue that Millennials are the most entitled generation. In fact, there are all kinds of books and articles that suggest that the reason for this is because of the rampancy of participation trophies.
Whether that’s truly the case is unknown. However, a lot of Millennials have been told their entire life that they can do anything they want if they put their mind to it.
Well, that’s simply not the case.
What’s worse, is that when things don’t go a certain way, many blame others for their downfalls.
It’s my parents’ fault.
The professor screwed us!
The government needs to do something about that!
Society teaches us that using phrases like this are ok. Unfortunately, they’re only ok if we plan to stay stuck where we’re at in life and in our careers.
Owners Win & Victims Lose
You might have heard the phrase “Own up to it!”. If so, you know that this is slang for taking responsibility for one’s actions.
When you own up to doing something wrong or incorrectly, you’re acting in a space of courage. You say something like “This is my fault. I will do better next time”.
When we’re denying that we didn’t do something we’re accused of, we’re shedding responsibility. We think “I didn’t do anything wrong. Why should I change?”
Here’s the thing. We can only get better if we acknowledge our failure. If we don’t acknowledge that failure, we’re setting ourselves up for that same failure in the future.
So, really, it’s not much of a stretch to say that what you say on the outside starts with what you think and feel on the inside.
Become an owner and reinvent yourself
If you’re tired of losing, then it’s time to turn things around. But how? How can you reinvent yourself?
Well, here’s a few things that you can become a bit more aware of as you’re living your daily life. Once you break your habit of doing these things and turn it around, you automatically set yourself up to win.
1. Life is Hard! It’s Me vs the Rest of the World!
No, it isn’t. It really isn’t. Life is what you make out of it. 17 years ago, I believed that the world was acting against me and my goal of graduating. It felt like all professors were conspiring against me.
Truth is, engineering is just super tough and I wasn’t putting in enough work to get it done. Once I realized that it wasn’t working out, I switched majors and life started getting better. I got into a study group and started making the grades that I knew I was capable of. Heck, I even had time to do extracurricular activities for once!
2. I’m Not My Fault. They Made Me Do It!
Here’s a phrase that you’ll hear in movies quite a bit. Often times, you’ll hear it from a villain who’s trying to get back at the government or some kind of company.
We as the audience know that while they might have gotten a bad rap, it’s their fault that they’re acting the way they are. They’re making active choices to take the actions that they are.
Soon after, the villain gets what he deserves and the hero rides off into the sunset.
In our own lives, while using this phrase might not involve high stakes as a building exploding or aliens from another dimension being released into our own, it does have the same effect.
It’s our job to realize that we can totally change our perspective of the world at any time.
For example, there are plenty of people out there who have lost a limb and think they can’t be their former selves. That might be true, but it’s also totally possible that they could now be a better version of themselves now.
Also, there are homeless people who are constantly miserable and there are others who are fighting to get out of their funk. I’ve interviewed two people fairly recently who were both homeless in high school and now, years later, are living their dreams.
3. Why Should I Take Responsibility of Something I Didn’t Do?
I’ve mentioned this before, but Andrew Luck is a great example of a leader. In all of his post game interviews, he always takes the responsibility of a loss. And when the team wins, he sheds the glory to his teammates.
We all should try to be this humble in our own lives. Take responsibility even if it’s not our fault. And when we’re awarded, give thanks to those who have supported us.
As far as additional action steps to reinvent yourself, it might be worth your time to listen to a couple of interviews from those who had plenty of reasons to be a victim.
David Anderson, Antonio Smith, Jr., and Kristian Aleixo.
Also, you can learn more about crossing the thinking gap by checking out the newest version of Reinventing Yourself by Steve Chandler.