October 19, 2020

The importance of self-discovery amid uncertainty

Don’t worry about the destination, but pay close attention to the journey towards self-discovery


We are starting to emerge from a big crisis, but we are still unsure of what’s to come. Amid all this uncertainty, concern about our very livelihoods stands out. Some are struggling to make ends meet while others are merely anxious about the uncertainty of the future. In such a climate, does beginning a journey of self-discovery journey even make sense?


Self-discovery doesn’t necessarily mean going out and beginning a new journey away from your current life to find yourself. It can be different for each person, but the ultimate goal is to find a sense of balance in life. So, whether you’re a busy working parent, an office worker, or even a student clueless about your direction in life, the journey of self-discovery is a must, even more so during this challenging time.


Still, you may be asking: is self-discovery so important, especially now with the pressure of uncertainty? The answer is yes for a couple of reasons. One, self-discovery digs deep into your inner mindset and builds the foundation for your success. Two, self-discovery connects to your happiness, contentment, and, most importantly, strength to face all adversity.


The most important thing to keep in mind, however, is that this is a journey of development, rather than a destination we arrive at. After all, our world changes fast, and to discover ourselves and move with change, we need to develop the work and life skills to get about.


With that said, here are two steps to begin your self-discovery during these tough times.


Learn new things


Were you ever curious about starting your own business? Maybe even curious about going zero-waste and saving the environment? There are some topics we may be curious to know about but this knowledge may not come naturally to us, especially if we are experts in other areas.


An experience I’d like to share pertains to my business. A few years back, I consulted with experts in education about how I could find new ways to do my business. The idea of a learning membership, much like Netflix for movies and entertainment, came about. Without any experience in the membership model, I was hesitant. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop me from learning about it and eventually pursuing this model in my own business.


The lesson here is that learning doesn’t necessarily mean taking courses in a classroom. If you’re restricted, especially by financial constraints, learning from others around you and discovering free resources online is a great alternative. Learning allows you to discover new things about yourself and what you want to pursue.


With learning new things, we come to the second step: putting the new things we’ve learned into practice, be it at work or in our personal lives.


Curiosity and learning are an important first step in discovering ourselves and what we like to do. However, the next step is equally as important.


Again, bringing back my own experience from earlier, learning about the membership model was not enough. It sounded like an interesting concept, but would it work? I wouldn’t have ever known the answer to this if I left my learning as is — just another concept in my head. Instead, with my team and people, we managed to shift that concept into reality.


I have to be honest and say that the journey wasn’t easy. Yes, we failed a couple of times and even got scrutinized for this very idea. But this is another important point to remember: on the journey toward self-discovery, we come face to face with mistakes and failure. Those are what strengthens us, and this is also when we discover our true strengths and limits.


With these points in mind, I’d like to recommend the Japanese concept of ikigai. It encompasses many aspects of self-purpose, combining what we love, what we are good at, what the world needs, and what we will be paid for. This is an ideal concept, difficult to achieve but something we should aim toward.


I’d like to impart some advice from Ken Mogi, a neuroscientist and the author of Awakening Your Ikigai. He writes: “Ikigai resides in the realm of small things. The morning air, the cup of coffee, the ray of sunshine. … Only those who can recognize the richness of this whole spectrum really appreciate and enjoy it.”


In short, the best way to self-discovery and happiness is through the journey and finding positive meaning in the small things in life.


Arinya Talerngsri is Chief Capability Officer and Managing Director at SEAC – Southeast Asia’s Lifelong Learning Center. She can be reached by email at arinya_t@seasiacenter.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/arinya-talerngsri-53b81aa. Explore and experience our lifelong learning ecosystem today at https://www.yournextu.com