Jamil Mahuad, the ex-president of Ecuador who brought peace with Peru, said we are each obligated to be our unique selves. He believes that everyone has a couple of things in life that only we can do, and if we do not play our part, then who will?
What a wonderful thought! It’s reassuring that it’s ok to be myself. At work, at school, at home, we all face constant pressure to fit others’ ideas of who we should be. This pressure is manageable for most of us most of the time, but it drains our energy, whether or not we give in…and we all do at times. At one point earlier in my career, I actually changed the way I dressed to the “team uniform” of khaki pants and denim shirt, in a futile attempt to fit into a cliquish group. I know how ridiculous that sounds now, and it didn’t work. Some of you may remember me then…did I seem happy? I wasn’t again until I moved to a team which allowed me to be myself, though the new group had spectacular problems of its own.
But Mr. Mahaud’s primary point is truly awesome: it had never occurred to me that there’s a short list of things which I, and only I, am supposed to accomplish. What a wonderful discovery process I have ahead of me to find them! At mid-life, I have my suspicions by now as to what a couple of them may be, but I’m also guessing that some of them are too far down the horizon yet to see. We all want to make a difference, and we all need hope: hope that tomorrow will be better, hope that our failings can be turned around. My hope is that I have a unique purpose…things that I’m supposed to do that matter somehow. I simply need to focus on being the me that I am supposed to be.
“To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” –William Shakespeare