Who are you in the story of your life? What's your overall narrative? How do you cast yourself as the hero of your story - or at least one of the heroes? It can make a big difference in how you live.
My friend Clancy Martin has a very nice review essay in today's New York Times, discussing the new book with a clever and ironic title, Keep It Fake: Inventing an Authentic Life, by Eric G. Wilson. The lead idea is a simple one. A guy went to his therapist depressed, and wanting to be a better father than he thinks he is. The therapist demanded that he go home and construct a new narrative for his life, in which he wasn't a bad, depressed father, but something else altogether. The author took up the challenge with vigor and began viewing himself as "Crazy Dad" who would do all sorts of outlandish and fun things with his kids. He began acting a new role, revamping the Book, or Reality Show, that is his life. And things got much better, right away.
We're always told to know ourselves and be true to ourselves. But isn't it just as important to invent ourselves well? We're all artists. Our selves are works of art that are created and crafted day in and day out by our thoughts and actions. Who are you in the story of your life? Do you allow someone else to define you, at work or at home? Or do you take on the responsibility and hard joy of self creation, self definition, and becoming that Aristotle thought is so important?
What story do you tell yourself about who you are? Is it working? Or is it time for a creative redo? Should you be playing a different role in the way you see yourself and approach your day? Or would that make you somehow fake, or inauthentic? Perhaps, done right, it's all about making, and not faking. We're challenged to create and take on roles in life that will work. My philosophy buddy Clancy Martin, and the author Eric Wilson, give us all something worth thinking about.