Don’t Believe Everything You Think
You’ve ever thought you can’t be something because of who you are now or you think that your current person conflicts with the thing that you want to be? We’re going to talk about how you can fix that and reach out for.
What’s up guy? Tim Ruswick here and today I want to talk about identity, because I think personal identity it really comes into play whenever you’re you’re doing something new where you’re trying something new or you’re building. And I know we recently had a video about game design theory and talking about the game identity. And that kind of got me thinking, you know, about my personal identity and the struggle that I’ve had with those. But also I just did an interview with Chris de Leon and he’s awesome and that should be up soon. But we got into that a little bit we started about who you think you are and how it affects the way being you interact with the world and and how it can hold you back and I was like, Wow, like this is really something that I gotta I gotta talk about because for a long time my identity kept me back from different things. When for a long time I would think that I was a programmer right?
Like I in my mind I said, “Hey I’m a programmer. Programmers don’t do what… they don’t do art, they don’t do sound, they don’t do that they just program.” And so because my self-identity was a programmer it was locked in that role. I couldn’t be any of these other things that I wanted to be, I couldn’t I couldn’t try these other things. And that that kept me back for a long time right? But I think it went way beyond just a skillset lock, it went way beyond just something that stopped me from progressing into different skill sets.
For a long time I when I was in the startup world and I was working on my marketing company I was building piece of technology, I had worked on myself with some self-improvement stuff, and some books, and courses and stuff, and I was like you know what I want to be a successful startup like billionaire. I want to be like a Mark Zuckerberg or like a one of these guys that you know sells a company for a million billions of dollars.
And I worked really hard at that but and I built my identity around that idea and when it didn’t happen— like I remember I had one specific goal I was supposed to be a millionaire by the time I was 26. That was a goal but I worked on for years and years and years. I wanted that so bad.
And when it didn’t happen because my identity was like this successful startup genius right when it didn’t happen I started to like feel really inadequate, feel like I was faking something, and in a way I kind of was. ’cause everything I would post on Facebook everything I post on Twitter it’s all about you know being successful success quotes and I’m you know I have to pretend like I was the cool guy had the cool car, I had the whole cool office, and I just felt like because this is my became my identity because like I had ingrained it in my head that I was this person, it stopped me from being anything else. it stopped me from being just me, you know.
Like it stopped me from just existing. And I actually remember a really dark time in my life when when shit kind of collapsed on me and I lost my office, I lost like I had to I couldn’t pay my credit card bills, my bank account was overdrawn, my car got repossessed, I was pretty much homeless, and I remember actually the day that my car got repossessed because I was like for so long I had tied my identity to this cool muscle car that I had, and it was just it was the coolest thing on the planet and I loved that car.
And when I would drive up to meetings people would see this car and they’re just like, wow that guy’s that guy’s cool, at least in my head anyway. But that was my identity at that point. I was the guy that drove the cool expensive car. And I remember the day the car got repossessed.
At first it was like denial right, like no that didn’t happen, did it get stolen, did I park it somewhere, what happened? But then it all started to sink in on me, because now I’m just a guy. I’m just I’m just a dude I don’t I don’t have anything anything at all in this world. My identity can’t be tied to a thing anymore.
And it was like this weird it was all like chaos and panic before that but like it was like after the car got taken, that was like the last little piece of that old identity that I uh that I had, it was like I almost felt like it was an opportunity to reinvent myself and to… because they didn’t have a place to live, because I didn’t have a car, because I didn’t have bills anymore— they all went to shit that all went to heck like this, I felt like I was so low that I could finally become anything that I wanted to become.
Now, I don’t recommend you do that right like those were very hard hard learned lessons. But I see a lot of a lot of the friends that I went to high school with, a lot of dudes that I met along my journey in life— they are the same people that they always were, and because they’re around the same people they have to act the same way, because these people know them they expect them to act the same way, and the people that you’re around reinforce the behaviors that they know and that they’re comfortable with.
If you’re around you know people that are that wants you to do a certain thing, when you start doing things that they don’t like they don’t reinforce that behavior. They tell you you’re crazy, they’ll tell you you overthink things, like they’ll they’ll say things that lead you to believe that you are not on the right path. So reinventing yourself and your self identity is really hard. Especially if you think of yourself as a certain thing, like another great example of this, I mean besides like this whole major self-identity was for a long time I identified as an introvert right?
I put myself in that introvert box, I still say it sometimes like I’m an introvert, but for a long time that that label stopped me from going out interacting with people, it stopped me from networking, it stopped me from talking to people and communicating and making friends. I would use it as an excuse because I was this thing. And it didn’t matter what anyone else said, I was this thing so I couldn’t be those other things. And this shit is deep, man, it really is. Like you gotta really think about what you think about yourself, you got to really analyze that, like who you think you are and why because you can have limiting beliefs without even knowing it.
Like most people wouldn’t say believing that you’re introverted eliminate belief but in my case it was. Most people wouldn’t say believing that you’re a programmer was a limiting belief but in my case it was. There was one point I used to make music, I used to be a rapper, I used to love love writing poetry and lyrics and putting them over beats and like mixing the music together and all that.
And when I moved to LA and I started my marketing company, I would tell people like as a joke but serious I would be like, Well you can’t be a rapper and a marketing consultant at the same time ha ha ha. Like it was something funny but now that I look back at that like, Holy shit! That made me stop producing music, that made me stop writing poetry, because I thought that this marketing consultant and this this rapper could not coexist in the same space.
The same thing with programming and art, I thought because I was a programmer I could not also be an artist. And you have to understand that, you are way more than that. You are way more than who you think you are. We like to put people in boxes right? Like we like to say he’s a car guy, you know whatever. Like she likes shoes her or like…we box them into these kind of identities right? Like he’s shy, he’s a programmer. And then we make assumptions based on the stereotypes of those boxes. And we do that to ourselves too.
And it’s really dangerous because you are so much more than that, they are so much more than that —at least they can be you know. You can be all these things at once, like—- I think back to all the all the times that I wanted to create stuff and I stopped myself because I thought I wasn’t that, like I have I have developed software, I’ve written poetry, I’ve made rap music, I have written books— I’m writing a book, I have written blog articles, I have made YouTube videos, I’ve edited together short funny skits, created that kind of stuff, I’ve built hardware modifications, I’ve built robots, I have— I’ve done so many different things and for me to call myself a programmer, or call myself— and put myself in one of these boxes right?
I think doesn’t do justice to me and I want to share that with you because I want to make sure that you are not doing it to yourself. I’ve had conversations with people where I tell them that I make games right? Because that’s the terminology you use. I don’t like to say, I am a game developer. I like to say I make games because that’s one of the things that I do, and I don’t want to like limit my identity. But they’ll say something like, Oh I wish I could make a game. I’ll be like, No dude, you can. And then they’ll reply like, Oh, I’m an accountant though, like I’m not, I’m not technically illiterate, I don’t I don’t know all that techy stuff.
And when when they respond like that, it always kind of hurts inside it’s like, you are whatever you say you are. There’s no barrier stopping you, the only thing that’s stopping you is you telling yourself that you’re not that. What if you told yourself you were that? What if you said I’m a game developer and then you started, and you became one. Like you can do it. Anybody can do it. And that’s pretty much what I wanted to say is just be careful with your self-identity because it can it can stop you from doing a lot of things that you want to do but it can also start you doing a lot of great things too.
And I know for me like having that experience of like shattering my self-identity without my permission was really powerful for me because it allowed me to reinvent myself and ultimately end up on a screen in front of you you know. Like I wouldn’t be here had I not change my identity from what it was to what it is. And it takes a lot of work to get to the point where you can share some of this stuff right?
This is deeply personal stuff I don’t want you guys to know I went broke, I don’t want you guys know my shit got repossessed, and what happened like— that’s not stuff I want to share, but I share it because I feel like it’s important, because I feel like there are people that are held back because of who they think they are, and I I don’t that’s the last thing I want to hold you back right? Like get held back on picking an engine or something like that, like don’t get held back because you just don’t believe that you can do it because you can.
So just be really careful when you— for any any word that follows “I am” just be conscious of that. Just be conscious of that. Whether you say “I am lazy” or “I am…whatever”, you got to be careful with with how you perceive yourself because those beliefs matter. They make an impact on all the things that you do, and how you interact with the world. So that’s it, that’s my message for today. Hope you found it useful. If you did, please leave me a comment below. If you have a self-identity post it below. I would love to hear how you guys think of yourselves and I think it’d be interesting to kind of see. So ’til next time, I’m Tim Ruswick and I’ll see you guys next time.