Know Thyself

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Let him that would move the world first move himself.

~Socrates

The message of self-discovery is everywhere. It is as if, even without intending to, anything that portrays or promotes “doing the right thing” is ultimately rooted in self-discovery. On the flight home, I saw the movie “Rise of the Guardians“. The movie tells the story of Jack Frost and his quest to discover his true purpose. The plot is that, there is a group of guardians comprised of Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and Sandman who fight against the evil of the Boogieman. Jack Frost is chosen as the newest guardian and the rest is what the movie is about. This post, however, is about the underlying message that seemed to jump out at me – once you know who you really are, you can see the world differently and gain the power to change it for the good. The post contains spoilers, so, if you want to watch the movie, read it after you have done so.

What rankles Jack Frost most of all is that no one realizes he is there and no one believes in him. Maybe, that is why he gets into mischief everywhere he goes. The problem though, seems to be that, he doesn’t know who he really is. I draw it as a direct parallel to the life of an average person today. See if you can you honestly answer the questions that troubled Jack?

Q. What one thing do you want that, you are willing to spend your life to achieve and then die happy when you do?
Q: If you were to pick one word to describe yourself, what would it be? Is it the same as what other people would say about you?

The kids could see Santa when he appeared before them but, Jack was invisible to them even if he did something to directly influence them. Yet, he didn’t believe in himself. Jack wanted all the kids to believe in him, like they did in Santa and Tooth Fairy. It is like believing that water always flows downhill when you don’t know what water is. Or, like believing that the sky is blue when you don’t know what the sky is. These are the questions you should ask yourself.

Q: What do you believe is your life’s mission/vision statement?
Q: Do you believe that you are living the best life you possibly can?

The Boogieman dangled a clue to Jack’s past as bait, and he walked into it in spite. He got trapped and let down the others who were relying on him. The good side lost a battle because Jack had been tempted by his long lost past. There are always people in life who depend on you for one thing or the other. Sometimes, you can not afford to let them down.

Q: Do you have people in your life that you love and care about?
Q: Does your past have such a strong hold on you that, you have a list of the things you wish you could have done differently?

When Jack was down and out, looking into his past helped him to see the silver lining and overcome his fears. He was looking for the affirmation of the good inside him. He just needed proof that his life was worth it. He became Jack Frost because of who he was not what powers he had. The questions here may or may not be related.

Q: Can you see into your past, ignore the suffering, and look for the moments when you were truly happy?
Q: What fears have you overcome in the past and what gave you the strength to do so?

The moment when a kid started believing was when Jack helped the kid to believe in the Easter Bunny. Jack did it because it was the last bit of faith that the kid had to hang on to. He wanted the kid to be happy. He used the kid’s faith in Easter Bunny to bring joy. He wanted no credit for it, and he got it just because of that. It is a true and clear message. Help others selflessly. Your self worth will be realized only when you are able to give without the expectation of any return.

Q: Does living your life the way you are currently, make any person other than yourself truly happy? Does it make you truly happy?
Q: How does the work that you do benefit the world? Would you help people if your efforts were to be kept anonymous or you weren’t paid for it?

The movie ends with Jack bringing together the other Guardians and the kids to defeat the evil Boogieman. I envision a similar end. All the people coming together for the greater good, building an inter-dependent, collaborative society for the benefit of all. But, just like Jack, this change has to start from within you. And, you can’t begin the process of change until you know who you really are. This is the journey of self discovery. Take your time and answer the questions honestly. The more you know about yourself, the more you will believe in yourself. You will see that the good in you becomes stronger and the bad wilts away. You will be a step closer to know who you really are, and will find your purpose in life.

To help you give self discovery a try, I’ve compiled all the questions together in a form to get you started. Please do share your opinions in the comments. If you find this post/form helpful, I hope you will share it.

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