Moving Past Who You Are

From the time you are about 3 years old, you start discovering your identity. A whole new world of exploration begins very early. You discover you can have opinions, you discover the power of ‘no’, and you even begin to find out what you like. Then you grow up and begin to develop into your own even more. As a late teenager, your sense of identity seems to of solidified. You seem to know what is you. You know what isn’t you. You know what you can do and you know what you can’t do.

But, what if I told you that most peoples’ sense of who they are is holding them back. In no way am I implying that somebody knowing who they are is a negative thing. Rather, what I’m suggesting is that many people don’t fulfill they’re greatest potential because they don’t identify themselves as the person they are carving themselves out to be.

When faced with a challenge of creativity, some claim they just aren’t artsy. When workers are given more responsibility, some claim they just aren’t ‘management material’. Sometimes, all it takes is for someone to think of changing themselves to be thrown into turmoil. In other cases, people try and give up because they are unable to see themselves as that person they could be or simply because ‘it’s just not them’. The energy and effort was there, but never real.

When things are too hard, some people just give up. They see themselves as somebody who has difficulty due to lack of ability rather than somebody who perceives difficulty because of lack of familiarity. Through the role of metacognitive experience, anybody can move past who they are and focus on who they are becoming. It’s a technique of gauging the amount of effort and realizing what that effort demands.

Metacognitive experience takes a step beyond conventional experience by examining what conventional experience entails. When someone becomes experienced in something they gain feelings of familiarity and are able to move beyond feelings of difficulty. When something is familiar, and that person is able to become comfortable with difficulty, they are able to identify themselves as someone who is able to do.

So how can you take the metacognitive approach to experience?

The first you must be aware of your emotional patterns during a learning experience. In any new venture, they tend to fluctuate. When I first began flying planes, my emotions were all over the spectrum. I remember scaring myself so much, I actually let the thought of ‘Maybe, flying planes isn’t for me’ run through my skull. This instance was different than the typical identity preserving doubt, though. We went to practice what are called stalls and I ended up in a spin. We lost about a thousand feet of altitude. It was more about life preservation. But, as I began to practice and allow myself to experience, my emotions began to become less volatile and moved towards a steady confidence.

What does this mean? This means that my emotions were just indications of how effectively I was task processing. You feel fear and underconfidence not to declare resignation, but to show you that you aren’t reaching the desired effect. In most cases, these emotional and judgmental processes are non-analytical and unconscious. This is especially so when there’s uncertainty, pressure, and a time constraint.

The remedy to all this is to become aware, conscious, and analytical. This can seem a bit impossible at first. The heat of the being in a process that demands complete engaging attention makes stepping back and examining things a bit unreasonable. Have no doubt that self-monitoring is 100% possible and practical.

In my first few hours of flying, I would always focus on the task critical procedures and the relevant information. Luckily, the FAA requires you to go through a ground school to learn the procedures of flying a plane before you can actually fly one. And, they require a written knowledge test before hand, too. I was very aware of what needed to be done. Having knowledge of flying a plane, and actual responses may vary, though. As illustrated in my anecdotal example.

What I chose to focus on was becoming aware of my unconscious judgement and action, so I could try to adjust to fit the correct procedures. Due to my awareness of incompetence, I was able to judge the difficulty or amount of conflicting responses or interruptions of processing and gradually reduce it to manageable reorganizations of response. This allowed me to pursue effort in a mindful way.

Using strategies of metacognitive experience, I was able to quickly readjust my responses and practice the correct procedures. How did I know the procedures were correct? Well, every time I practice stalls, the plane doesn’t go into a downward spiral. I’d say that’s a fairly good indication.

This success allowed me to identify myself as a person that can fly planes. It’s now a part of who I am. By taking the metacognitive experience approach, you’ll never have to challenge your sense of identity again. You’re only option will be to improve your identity and create even more of yourself.


So here’s a quick recap:

-Be emotionally aware. Your emotions are indicators, not decisions.

-Have an idea of the correct principles/procedures so you have a target.

Be mindful of your responses/actions so you can effectively monitor them.

– There is no difficulty, just an amount of effort needed to decrease conflicting responses and interruptions of correct processing.

– Know when you’ve reached the correct procedures, so you can advance.



Thanks so much for reading. And, as always, feedback is encouraged and appreciated.


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