I've found that what we say to ourselves is much more important than what we say to others. And we deceive ourselves much more than we deceive others. As a coach (heck, as a person) I've heard what I call “the biggest lie" many times and in many variations, but it goes something like this: “That's just how/what/who I am".
It's really a powerful statement, because by giving up all control of who you are now, you abdicate all responsibility for what you could be in the future. And although we feel that the traits, habits, and temperaments that form our personalities are permanent fixtures, are they really?
Think about the person you were 1, 5, 10, 20 years ago. Were there things that you did or thought back then that are foreign to you now? For example, until I was about 25, I couldn't keep my room clean, much less my apartment. In fact, I identified with my chaotic environment - I thought it was “who I am". But my condo these days, much to my mom's amazement, is actually clean and organized.
The human body itself completely regenerates, cell by cell, over the course of 1-7 years (I've heard different time frames). So the current you is literally a different person than the one that's smiling out from an old photo.
Why do we think that who we are now is all that we are. Lots of reasons: it can give us a source of identity; it can take away our feelings of responsibility for our failings, it can convince us to not even attempt to change or grow. It keeps us stuck - usually in a place we don't want to be. “I'm just lazy/fat/irresponsible/disorganized/busy/stressed/angry. That's just who I am. "
We love having “I am" statements to identify with, but what if you chose to argue for your strengths, “I'm just caring, generous, and patient, it's just who I am. "
Where do you argue for your limitations? What part of your life have you accepted as just who you are, even though you don't like it? Are you willing to see yourself as bigger than just the negative habits or behaviors? Are you willing to give up old thoughts to be something more or do you just want to play small with your life?
David J. P. Fisher is a business coach and president of RockStar Consulting, a personal development company dedicated to helping people become RockStars in their professional and personal lives. He can be contacted at email@example.com or at http://rockstar-consulting.com