He’s a doctor, She’s a fashionista. He’s a miser, She’s a go-getter.
How often we tag people with who we think they are. It is simply our perception of them. It might not be entirely true either. Yet, as soon as their name comes up, the tag we associate with them comes to our mind first. And that is how we always see them, overlooking any other qualities that they may have.
I am a traveler. I am a poet. I am not an entrepreneur.
Forget about others. We stamp ourselves as well. We define ourselves with those labels. It becomes our brand. But when we actually sit and think, we realize, we don’t know ourselves that well either. It is just a perception we have of ourselves which we have built growing up. And when we manage to somehow change or overcome the tag, ironically, we name it as progress or success.
Tagging everything, labeling everyone, drastically limits its potential.
Looking at the world through the lenses of these petty terms makes us so short-sighted. We are unable to look at others beyond their image that we carry in our minds. Let’s talk about a simple pencil. You may think it’s just a pencil. All it does is write. But let’s dig deeper it can be if not pencil, to name a few:
- Plant supporter
- Rubbings maker
- Drum stick replacement
- Toothpaste tube roller
- Hair accessory
- Impromptu mustache
- Hole poker
- Arm extension
- Measuring device
- Chopstick replacement
- Button pusher
- Back scratcher
- And the list goes on…
Once you realize it’s just not a pencil, you can see hundreds of potential uses; all by just taking away its name. It is the same with people. Just by taking away the stickers, you can see all the potential – both good and bad, they have.
Recognize your own potential beyond the labels
You cannot just stop labeling yourself or others from this second. We have been conditioned this way since childhood. But what we can do is try to look beyond those tags we have been carrying along with all our lives.
A quick exercise to recognize the labels you have for yourself would be to:
- Make a list of all the words you use to describe yourself, even the tiniest detail.
- Now add to it any words that you’ve heard people call you/ use to describe you repeatedly
These are the labels you carry along, consciously or unconsciously. Picking up each word and analyzing why it is used for you, will not only help you to realize your potential but also understand yourself better.
Most people just plow through life without giving it a thought, carrying with them these labels eternally. Just simply being aware of them and breaking through them can make life so much more meaningful.