I will answer this question with various thoughts about it.
- It is irrelevant for most people. If you are close to me, you might be interested in what’s behind my behavior, but for most people the behavior alone should suffice.
- It is a little arrogant to consider people would really want to know the answer to this.
- Most answers to “Who am I?” come not from self-analysis, but from comparison. I compare myself to others, and give a result. Thus, it is more efficient to focus on getting new experiences & a bigger network, rather than trying hard to focus on myself. “Stereotyping becomes mathematically more dangerous the more people you meet.” (Rand Fishkin – 24 Things I Know Now That I Wish I Knew Then – Rand’s Blog)
- In Groundhog Day (1993) – IMDb the main character, played by Bill Murray, is at first both despising pretty much everyone and mimicking he is a nice person. Love transforms him and he changes all his behavior accordingly. One friend recently told me I mean a lot to him. The thought scared me, and I didn’t have an equivalent reply to him. My life is pretty much into despising everyone. The rare exceptions of people I don’t despise is not due to the fact that they have no faults, but rather that I tend to blind myself, and ignore everything else but their single trait/quality/deed which makes them important to me. What do I ask of someone in order to like that person? The impossible made possible.
- Bogdan Naumovici once said at a conference, talking to some students: “You’ll become meaner” (referring to the fact that in Faculty students are kind & gentle, but as they work into their careers, they tend to become meaner). I think I am in that position. It has the big advantage of being more realistic, and the big disadvantage of losing innocence. Gabriel Liiceanu once said that only stupid people are happy. While this might not be necessarily true (smart leads to negativity, but negativity might actually lead more into happiness than positivity, see the previous link), there is at least some truth in this.
I once had a Sony camera. Time passed, I had a new one. I was very proud with the photos I took. I show them to a friend. He was very critical. Not sharp enough, not enough contrast, poor quality photos. I rejected his comments, and was very puzzled to know that he found my photos to be of poor quality. Years passed, I remained with his critique in my mind. Now, many years after the critique, I agree with him. Most photos I have taken at that time were of poor quality. And I’m not even a real photographer.
Another story: I did a web site for a relative of mine. I worked for two days at that web site, I made videos. I was impressed with the result. At the end, I wanted to just go home and have this job considered to be done. The person insisted I stay one more day and work at the web site. I was puzzled. The web site was done, I had worked at it quite a while, and that person considered the web site incomplete. Reluctantly, I stayed one more day. Boy, was I happy to do so. In that day I solved lots of minor imperfections. In the end, the web site proved to be one of the best I had made. The improvement wasn’t from 20 to 90%, but it was from 80 to 90%. And it felt good. Had I stayed a few more days, it would have been even better. You see, the Pareto rule states that 80% of the results are done with 20% of the effort. It may seem obvious to just do the 20%. Unfortunately, I don’t think this is a good strategy. Those remaining 20% may mean the difference between a successful and a failed project.
Both persons motivated me with critique.