Who am I?

So I was recently thinking about who the hell I am: What are my passions? What are my interests? How do I spend my time? What makes me me? I figured it’s nice and healthy to reflect and come up with a brief personality sketch every now and then. The following is a result of some reflections that I’ve compiled into a general portrait…

If you polled everyone who knew me and asked them to give you a few words that describe me, I believe you’d find a handful of common responses, most of which would include words like “passionate”, “curious”, “a thinker”, “a people person”, “thoughtful”, “inspiring”, “intelligent”, “adventurous”, and “creative”. I don’t want to come across as totally cliché or arrogant or self-indulgent, cause that’s totally not my intention, so let me elaborate.

First, I have an insatiable passion to understand. Why I have this crazy curious itch to discover new understandings is beyond me, but it’s a permanent feature of who I am and I’ve learned to accept it rather than look at it as some bizarre anomaly in my character. Whether it’s things or people, figuring out how or why things work is by far my favorite past time. I like to think of myself as a problem solver. Problems and challenges are an incredible source of motivation; the more challenging, the better. You’ll find that I like choosing the hardest projects or the most rigorous topics for assignments. My attitude is that “you get out when you put in”, so I don’t see as much value in simply getting a result as much as I see value in the process of getting the result. That’s why I avoid taking short cuts or doing the easy thing whenever possible. No risk, no reward— but I believe in calculated risk and rewards: being reckless or careless is not intelligent nor wise. I know when it comes down to it and it really matters, my emphasis on the process pays off and allows me to get excellent results.

I love reading and I love books and I’ve worked to compile a respectable library over the years. I also love writing. The process of reflecting on thoughts, challenging my assumptions, and looking for new perspectives is critically facilitated through my writing. I’ve maintained a blog and journaled just about every day for more than ten years. Exercising my imagination through creative expression and art is also very important to me. Aside from creative writing, I make it a point to draw/sketch regularly, either with ink or pencil, and make music with a jam band by playing the guitar and singing. That being said, my passions are pretty broad. Every new experience, whether it’s a book or event or person, opens me up to new possibilities and I really can’t help myself from pursuing the questions they generate and discovering where they take me.

I also love people. You’ll find me indulging in broad or deep conversations with just about anyone, on just about any topic. If they have a problem and need some advice or guidance, I love nothing more than listening intently, asking questions, and working through the problem, providing them with my best insights whenever possible. I love empowering people with ideas that allow them to approach the world in a more rewarding way. People who know me would likely say I like challenging people to think more, ask more questions, be a better person, and live more deeply.

I should also mention that my experiences have left me with an unconventional and independent attitude; that is, I have a tendency to challenge the assumptions built into the status quo and see things through to completion if I think they’re important, even when other people don’t seem to think so. I say that if you do what everyone else is doing, you’ll get what everyone else is getting. If it’s working fine, great. If it’s not, then I’ll be the first to challenge the system and find better ways of performing. I’m great at assimilating into large groups of people but I have a natural tendency to resist following along blindly unless there’s enough sound reason for doing so. I’m a leader at heart and often prefer to lead myself and others. However, I’m more than capable of working with large groups, and often decide to forego leadership opportunities and support someone else when I believe they are better suited to carry out a job.

I really appreciate “class” and culture, and take pride in surrounding myself with sharp, sophisticated, and worldly people. In fact, I believe who you surround yourself with is one of the greatest reflections of who we are. As a result I’m very conscientious of who I spend time with and how that time is spent.

I also love novelty: I’m sort of a thrill seeker. I attribute this to the fact that I’ve moved thirteen times, lived in seven states, and attended eleven different schools ranging from public to private to boarding to large and small. I pride myself on my ability to adapt to new situations and make friends quickly.

I like exploring: going to new hip restaurants or exotic bars, traveling, taking nature hikes deep into the wilderness, road tripping across the state or across country, attending live music shows in a spectrum of genres, and other similar activities. I have a ton of hobbies that seem to rotate when it’s appropriate or convenient. I love the outdoors and spend a lot of time at the beach (when I’m home), kayaking, hiking, camping and fishing. Health and wellness are important to me, sometimes more than other times, but physical exercise and nutrition have been apart of my life and identity since I was young (I can thank my father for instilling those habits).

That being said, it’s probably worth mentioning some of my weaknesses.

I struggle with rote, routine work. Some people can do the same task over and over again and they’re happy as a lark, but it leaves me feeling painfully bored and underutilized. While I thoroughly enjoy applying the concepts and abstract relationships within logic and math, I have an aversion towards menial calculations. I’ve had jobs that included clerical work and filing, and while I’ve been totally proficient in carrying them out, I’ve decided that they’re among my least favorite activities.

In addition, as a result of my curiosity and passions, I have a tendency to over commit, or “to bite off more than I can chew”. I’ve developed a knack for pulling off what looks like the impossible, but I know from experience that it causes severe stress and sometimes jeopardizes my ability to put as much time and effort into the project as I had originally planned. Balance is something I’ve had to continuously work to achieve.

Deciding what kind of career I want to pursue is proving to be a bit more challenging than choosing a major. All I know is that I want to work for a company with a culture that reflects and embodies the values that I cherish most. I’m looking for a work environment that is open, creative, innovative, and progressive with big ideas and ambitious goals. What position I want more or less depends on where the company sees me fitting in best in order to use my full potential.

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