Why Taking the Time to “Find Yourself” is Important

machu-picchu

When we were growing up, our parents told us that taking the time to “Find Yourself” was a waste of time. As if “Finding Yourself” meant joining a hippie band and running away from home on a dilapidated school bus. (Not that hippie bands aren’t cool) Or that doing a Liberal Arts Major in University was a waste of money because it would be impossible to try to get a practical job with your Classical Studies degree.

I frankly disagree with anybody that tells me that “Finding Yourself” isn’t important. What could be more important than discovering who you are at your core? Or finding out what your stand for? Or discovering what you’re really passionate about?

The moment you start living life on your own terms and nobody else’s is the day you really start living.

When I was 19, I went away to a 12 day Vipassana meditation retreat in the woods. Before I left, I was incredibly scared and worried that I would be abducted, brainwashed into a cult and end up as a beggar on the streets. This obviously didn’t happen. The meditation retreat was an amazing catalyst for me. The 12 days free from the clutter of every day life allowed me the space to be with my thoughts and reflection on my life. This experience opened up a whole world to me.

I once met a new friend by chance who decided to turn down a $80,000 a year job straight out of university to go travel around Asia. Granted, given the current economic climate, it can be argued that this wasn’t necessarily the best fiscally responsible move. That being said, I’ve watched her adventures unfold on Facebook and she has created a life for herself that is wonderful and completely on her own terms.

In less than 24 hours, I am embarking on my first long trip to a third world country. I’ll be in Peru for a month travelling with friends and learning spanish. When I originally decided to go on this trip, it wasn’t for any rational reason like picking up a language or a useful business skill. I decided to go because it was an opportunity for me to do something that I knew would challenge me and help me grow as a person.

My point to all this is that all people young and old need to go have adventures and experiences to discover who they  are. It’s not necessarily about the activity itself but about what you could discover about yourself. People in their twenties often take  time off in between semesters to travel and have new experiences. These experiences shape the people they become for the rest of their lives.

So the next time you decide to turn down a new experience or an opportunity to travel, think about the version of yourself that is waiting on the other side of that adventure. 🙂

P.S. If I can find a decent internet connection, I’ll be blogging about my adventures down in Peru over the next four weeks!

You should follow Matt on Twitter!

17 thoughts on “Why Taking the Time to “Find Yourself” is Important

  1. Well said! Life is about the 3 C’s: Choice, Chance, Change. You make a CHOICE to take a CHANCE that can CHANGE your life. Quitting my job to start my own business has been really hard but a worthwhile adventure! It’s helped me learn a lot about myself and given me the time to do the things I love that further help me figure out who I am! Look forward to seeing you at our next goal dinner when you’re back and refreshed! Have an amazing trip Matt! You deserve it!

  2. Como ya aprendiste español, te comento que Peru no es un país del tercer mundo sino que es una economía emergente.
    Saludos y felicitaciones por tu blog

  3. I just recently studied abroad in London and definitely had the experience of a lifetime. There is nothing else that could have encouraged as much growth, foster as much adventure, and introduce me to such interesting, international people. I will hopefully be attending graduate school abroad so that I can continue my adventures, because I learned more from skipping class to run around Europe than any class has ever taught me. I think the worldly skills you gain doing something like this are extremely valuable and marketable. Great encouragement! I wish some of my friends had taken this advice.

    • That’s awesome that you decided to go to school abroad! Definitely a great choice. International experience gives you an education that you wouldn’t normally be able to get in the classroom. Thanks for reading the post!

  4. I actually just scheduled a post written within the similar state of mind, only it was about me choosing a degree! Anyway, I agree with you completely- people like to forget they’re the most important person in their lives far too often. 🙂

  5. So true! I’ve learned more about myself over the last 12 months than I ever did over the last 20 years, just by taking chances, stepping outside my comfort zone, and never leaving the “what if” thought possibility. Thanks for posting and reminding me that I still have much more to discover and learn!

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