Know yourself

Who are you? Who do you need to become?


Make no illusions, there is no definitive answer to this question. You will probably come back to it throughout your life. It is a lifelong quest to find out who you are and who you can become. But it is worth it to have some kind of answers to questions such as: What is your mission while you’re here, alive? What is The Way to live this life, for you?

If you belong to a faith or a spiritual tradition, some of these questions might have some guiding answers, but even those still need to be interpreted for your own life and context. There are three directions we can suggest:

(1) Zooming out: Think back at your life up to this moment, make sense of your past, connect with what is alive and moving in the present and sense the future.

(2) Feel the present: Start with yourself, right now. Stop for a moment. Breathe. Look at what is going on right now in your life. What do you feel? Map your current life and sense what do you need to become more alive.

(3) Get random: don’t be structured … just try things like drawing yourself, composing a poem, go on a journey or join a meditation retreat. You can also read, write & talk phylosophy and take long walks, pondering the meaning of life; just do come up with random experiments that might teach you more about yourself and where do you need to go.

For our purposes here, let’s not loose sight of what we are after: a general direction of your becoming that you feel is right and important. The following suggestions are ment to be generative and stimulate you to create your own experiments.

PS: If you feel you need to spend a lot of time here then knowing yourself better could be the direction that is emerging for you. Maybe your direction now could be answering a question like “What is my mission in life?”, “What is my gift for the world?” or “What should be my major life project?”.

Whether it’s through journaling, meditation, yoga, dancing, or prayer, many of the most successful changemakers cultivate a practice that helps them connect with their deepest selves. – Change Here Now (Adam Brock).


Master this microskill:

River of Life

This is an exercise that lets you zoom out and look at the big picture of your life. Read the instructions here (romanian).

Roles of My Life is an exercise that helps you look at your life through the lens of your roles.

Wayfinder Kit. Our friends at Open Masters have a great resource for “navigating what’s next in your life & taking time to discover how your gifts can best be of service in the times we’re living in.” You can find the journal and the cards here. You can start with Wayfinder Mandala.

Solo Hike, Meditation Retreat

Go somewhere where you can be alone with yourself. Solo hike, meditation retreat, fishing … just taking time with yourself, be in nature and let your mind wander.


Set yourself on a journey to a place that means something for you. Not as a regular tourist but as “the traveler who is at a crossroads in life, longing for something else, neither diversion nor distraction, beyond escape and mere entertainment. What about those eager for a journey that is personally meaningful? For millennia this cry has been answered by pilgrimage, the transformative journey to a sacred center. The ancients referred to this path as the Way of the Pilgrim.” … read more in The Art of Pilgrimage.

Philosophical Interviews

Torture carefully selected people around you with questions like “What is the meaning of life for you?”, “What is your purpose?”, “What make life worthwhile in your view?” and more. As you figure out your set of questions, think of also interviewing some people you admire but are not necesarily close to you. Be brave and write to whomever you want, to Obama if that’s your guy, and ask for a 15 min zoom so you could ask him some questions about life ;-).

Business Model You

You you want to explore who you are through a “business model” lens, this is the resource for you. The next exercise “Your Brand New Life” is one of the exercises from this book.

Your Brand New Life

One day, you’re surprised by a courier who hands you a thick packet of legal documents. Rich, eccentric Uncle Ralph has died and left you $18 million, but you must fulfill two conditions to receive the money. –> Read on

Write Your Own Obituary

In this activity, you will craft your own obituary––in advance. When we connect with the idea that life is not limitless, we realize that we need to make the most out of our time. This exercise will help you live your life the way you want to be remembered. Access the instructions here

Free Writing

Open a blank document or open a notebook and start writing. What? I don’t know and you don’t need to know either. Just write. A lot. The purpose is just to write without stopping. Here is a guide on how to do it. Note: this is usually a method for people to improve their writing but we are doing the exact same thing but going for something else: self-knowledge.

The Adventures of Johnny Bunko

This is “the first career guide in manga” and has six very wise lessons that counter popular wisdom on the matter.

Roadtrip nation

Check out this cool project. They have a podcast, a tv series and a book, all about “defining your own road in life”.

The Purpose of My Life – Article

Lock yourself into a library and read about the meaning of life & whatever questions you might have. Then write your own article about what might be the purpose of your life.


Ikigai (生き甲斐)  is a Japanese concept that means “a reason for being”. The word refers to having a meaningful direction or purpose in life, constituting the sense of one’s life being made worthwhile, with actions (spontaneous and willing) taken towards achieving one’s ikigai resulting in satisfaction and a sense of meaning to life. Check this article about how this concept ended up being associated with the famous venn diagram and what it actually means. You can still use the diagram anyway ;-)

Invent your own

Now you get a picture of what kind of things you can do to discover yourself. Let your creativity flow and invent your own exercises and experiments.


Grief is a doorway to wisdom (I.7 Emergent Learning Playbook)

The disorienting dilemma; listen to yourself;

The Repertory Grid (an exercise for knowing yourself; (Candy, 1990) Self-Direction for Lifelong Learning p. 325 –

Spirals of Abundance – pattern #74 in social-permaculture pattern language, Change Here Now – Adam Brock

Think of times when you’re not at your best. Can you follow your choices back to the starting point of a spiral of erosion? How could you transform it into a spiral of abundance? What is one choice you could make differently that would have the most effect on the direction of your behavior?


Change Here Now (Adam Brock)

– Your Highlight on page 393

  1. Personal Mythology Use the motifs of your own heritage and life path to create meaning from the present and direction for your future.

Change Here Now (Adam Brock)

– Your Highlight on page 395

  1. Design Tool: Personal Vision Each one of us must cultivate his or her own vision of a more perfect world in order to bring that vision about.