“How often are we asked a simple question like “Who are you?” or “What do you do?” or “Where are you from?” Considering it a superficial question—if we even consider it at all—we don’t bother with more than a superficial answer. — The Daily Stoic. Ryan Holiday

“Who are you?” is in fact a tricky question.

Some years ago, if someone had asked me that, I would probably had answered: “I am a developer”, or more recently: “I am a freelancer”, or “I am an entrepreneur”.

Now I realize that those are not the answers to “Who are you?” but to “What do you do?”.

You Are Not Your Work

It’s easy to fall into the trap of defining ourselves by one dimension: our jobs. I think it has something to do with the fact that we expect others to answer in the same way.

We have been taught to classify people according to what they do. And we are pretty good at stereotypes.

There are of course many other biases, like race, religion, culture, etc… However, none of them have such a strong influence in the “Who are you” question.

I think we are missing an important part of the equation here. People are worth more than what they do for a living.

You are not your work. Don’t define yourself only with it.

Where, Who, What and Why

I don’t think anyone can articulate a single sentence that will let you know who they are.

They could tell you about the rest of parameters of the equation: where do they live, the things they enjoy, what do they do, or why.

However, that would be just presenting a persona of themselves.

You need to know them. And that takes time.

Who Are you?

Have you asked yourself this question lately? The answer -or lack of therefore- may surprise you.

Today, if asked the same question, I would probably say:

“My name is Ignacio. Want to know more? Let me pay you a coffee and we can get to know each other”.

I can’t think of a more correct way of answering that.

Conclusion

6th of January, 2018. Today it’s my birthday. The Daily Stoic of today contains an appropriate question for such an important date: “Where, Who, What and Why?”.

Getting to know ourselves is difficult. However, unless we do, we are not ready to let others know who we are.

Of course, no answer can clearly satisfy a “Who are you?” question. You need to know the person that’s behind the persona. This process takes time, but it’s worth it.

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