Did you know that there’s a way to write the number one by using all ten single digit numbers at once?
148/296 + 35/70 = 1
This struck me as more than just being a neat trick. I saw it as a metaphor for how we tend to over-complicate how we define things in our lives, in our jobs, and in our relationships. For many, one is not simply one; it’s a complicated formula that does not need to be complicated.
This human tendency to over-complicate is important to uncover, because the way we define things is the filter and context by which we see the world, respond to the world, and can ultimately determine our success and happiness in the world. All definitions are self-reflective. We can’t see the world and not see it through the context of ourselves.
So if your self-definitions are not serving you, then it’s time to lift the covers on your assumptions, denials and blind spots. Can you adjust to a new definition that serves you? Remember, the only thing we can control is our primary world, ourselves. Why do we choose to overlook or ignore the only thing we can truly control? An over-complicated definition influences our secondary world – whether people like themselves when they are with us, how we are treated by others, the type of personalities we attract, etc.
It’s not easy to get at these issues – I know because I have worked hard at uncovering my own blocks. Often we operate through much of our lives without even realizing what our self-definitions are. Start by thinking about how you define yourself to others to “explain” your reaction or opinion on something. “Well, I was the middle child, so…” or, “My dad always wished I had been a better athlete…” – you get the idea. These “stories we tell ourselves we are” are exactly the ones that may not be serving us. You get to define yourself. No one else does.
Sometimes when things don’t quite seem to add up, it’s because we’re complicating the math. It’s time to think about how you add to get to one. And that one is important – it is you.
More reading for the over-achiever in you
Find all of these concepts and more in The Power of Losing Control