People are unhappy in large part because they are confused about what is valuable. — William Irvine
A job title identity is like putting your money in a savings account. It’s safe and secure. It’s easily accessible. It’s great for emergencies. It serves you and your family through thick and thin.
A job title identity keeps you pegged to the laws of the masses. They follow the average rise and fall of circumstances and opportunities. They give you the security of the herd. It’s like feeling safe against getting mugged while traveling in a crowded underground London tube.
A job title identity does come with the added advantage that your sense of worth is easily satisfied by how you are perceived by your fellow inmates and the reactions of the boss.
But what if you suddenly lost it?
Or even more insanely— you decided to give it up. Because you could not bear it. And no amount of self rationalization could make you keep that Title identity intact anymore.
Welcome to the dark side. Where Transformation is the Tsar.
The moment you accept total responsibility for EVERYTHING in your life is the day you claim the power to change ANYTHING in your life. — Hal Elrod
To get you in the zone, can I excite your taste buds with some Genetics theory? It’s some great science, that we can borrow lavishly from as we progress on our line of thinking.
It’s just three points of a theory that I am sure you can swallow in a swig.
- In molecular biology and genetics, transformation is the genetic alteration of a cell resulting from the direct uptake and incorporation of exogenous genetic material from its surroundings through the cell membrane(s). For transformation to take place, the recipient bacterium must be in a state of competence, which might occur in nature as a time-limited response to environmental conditions such as starvation and cell density, and may also be induced in a laboratory.
- In microbiology, genetics, cell biology, and molecular biology, competence is the ability of a cell to alter its genetics under periods of stress by taking up extracellular (“naked”) DNA from its environment in the process called transformation.
- Various theories explain this but the finding that some bacteria induce competence under such stress conditions, supports the hypothesis, that transformation exists to permit DNA repair. Also, in experiments, it has been found that bacterial cells that underwent a transformation, survived better than cells exposed to DNA damage that did not transform. (Hoelzer and Michod, 1991).
What is fascinating about this discovery is that Transformation is nature’s way of repairing a stressed life form by absorbing new information from the environment. And this new life form ends up being more resilient than its nontransformed neighbour.
That nugget of naturopathy gave me goosebumps.
And given the fact that we have more bacteria in our body than we have human cells, makes this transformation taxonomy even more real and relevant.
So in effect, genetic transformation becomes a supplementary power that we can gain to thrive and evolve over the masses that have not undergone this stressful metamorphosis.
Well, I guess all good things come with a catch.
The small detail that I ignored in my initial euphoria was the fact that the bacteria that undergo this positive transformation have to be suffering from some form of stress and starvation. The same pattern can be applied to mere mortals.
So that brings me to the first requirement of the Transformation tunnel.
1.Transformations start with terror.
I can personally vouch for this. Tearing a mask of title identity off your face is incredibly painful. To go from a Global Director to Founder and Managing Director, and then to simply a storyteller has been a lesson in profound austerity of ego. The ego flitters like a fish out of water gasping for breath.
(I wrote something about this searching for the new self, based on my reading of Carl Rogers. Worth a pit stop if you wish.)
But you need to let it. Let it pass away. It’s the natural first step in the transformation tunnel. What you will gain is a slow but sure resolve to set a new direction for your life. You will start to look around for clues to reset your compass.
2. Transformations force open your heart.
This is a very important shift that starts to take shape. You start to become open to things you never were before. I started to Cook. Meditate. Write. Journal. Cry. All skills I admired but had avoided and labeled unmanly.
I also opened up to the possibility that I was going to discover something new about myself. That there was hidden potential in me waiting to be unmasked. I started to look at my core values afresh. I realized that true love was unconditional. I accepted that I was whole and complete with all my flaws. I accepted that there was no need to feel any shame.
3. Transformations wash away your barnacles.
Like the fisherman who brings his boat onshore and turns it upside down and removes the barnacles that have found residence on its Underside; transformations help you let go of all the people that came tagged with your title identity. You can now let go of the gaseous gaslighters, the toxic preachers, and the entitled complainers. You can say goodbye to lust and invite unconditional love. You can say goodbye to jealousy and welcome generosity. You can let go of envy and trade it for enchantment. In essence in this stage, you can undress the hull of your heart and let the fresh paint of values soak in.
These shifts will happen gently in you. You will not need to do anything to force them out except allow the new DNA to grow.
4. Transformations teach you to be patient.
I am a slow walker, but I never walk back. — Abraham Lincoln
Transformations will demand the patience of persistence. Every day will test your will to look deeper and longer inside yourself. You will be tested to compare and feel less and envious and anxious and afraid. But the state of transformation that you have now entered will also give you the strength to replace all these feelings and emotions with faith, belief, and hope. Remember faith always stands a step higher than fear.
5. Transformation will expect you to take authentic action.
The urgency of action will coexist with the calm of patience as you move forward. The actions that will arise in you, will be vetted by the authentic values that you would have gained knowledge of by now. You will be compelled to try to take steps in the new direction of your life that does not need the cloak of false titles. You will be driven to experimenting and reframing and retrying. You will have no fear of falling but more the fear of not trying. You will feel energized that the future path will be formed by the steps you take. You will feel led. Make sure that you set your goals based on the quality of giving and not on the quantity of getting.
But if the transformation tonic is doing its healing, you will quickly see this for yourself in your choices. The money will not be the guide but an outcome of your solving someone’s problems. Fame will not be a metric but freedom sure will. Your actions will have a purity of purpose in them. They will be done for their own sake, for the sake of getting better, for the sake of feeling joy, and not for the sake of an audience. And you will become free.
For decades, a title-based identity had held me captive and tantalized me as much as it had tormented me. But my new-found transformational self is giving me a quality of life rooted in freedom, self-worth, and compassion that I love. I urge you to consider it as a hedge against the dubiety of life. It’s a way of living that relies on a single factor. You.
Previously published on medium
If you believe in the work we are doing here at The Good Men Project and want a deeper connection with our community, please join us as a Premium Member today.
Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS. Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.