THE BLOG

Do You Want to Be Someone, Going Somewhere or No One, Going Nowhere?

18/01/2016 13:19 GMT | Updated 15/01/2017 10:12 GMT

Let me ask you these questions:

• If you could be someone, who would you like to be and why?

• What qualities would you look for in the person you would like to be?

• If you were able to swap your body with someone else for a day who would it be and why? Would you still want to swap with the person in question one?

We like to dream about being someone or being like someone else. This liking business comes in different degrees but we can pursue it with minimum effort or with the utmost - copying their style, voice, mannerisms etc. all the way to the scalpel, reshaping our eyes, nose, lips, cheekbones, chin, boobs...! Yet by copying our idol, we lose our individual uniqueness and we are soon likely to bump into our twins in the street with the same characteristics and buttocks!

Even if we become just like our idol and our dreams all come true, we are still not happy because our restless mind always wants more. The mind moves our goalposts one step ahead. In achieving what we want the brain reward system releases hormones to give us that feeling of great joy and exhilaration which keep us hooked. When those hormones return to their baselines, we look for the next hurdle to climb - to top up the deflating emotional splurges. We can carry on doing this for ever if we don't really know what we are looking for, what brings true happiness. Do we know what we want, exactly? Or do we just keep on searching in vain and never find it?

Being someone starts off with a name! We were given a name, be it John, Jane, Jack or Jill. Our name differentiates us from others. We build a reputation to go with it - wanting it to be recognised and respected. If someone says something bad about us, it's not just our pride that is hurt but also our reputation. In defence, we are ready to fight to protect and preserve our name! Those close to us fall under the same umbrella of our reputation; we defend their names as well. We guard that name, yet we tend to let our body suffer the resultant emotional stress and risks to health.

Having a name creates an identity and an ego - an illusion that obscures our understanding and judgement on the true nature of things. Inasmuch as we want this body to last, it will go towards decay. We can't tell it to stop dying because it's not ours to control. It follows its own natural course - like a tree. The body is one thing, the name another - a noun with special significance to us and our loved ones. We cling to both as 'I, me, my and mine' and feel good or bad because of them. We may have different names, share the same eyebrows with the next person but we all came to this world stark naked and we all exit it empty-handed. Only our mark or stain will be remembered.

Back to the three questions I asked earlier. The first was on a surface level - about your dream choice; the second digs deeper at the quality you admire in a person. When you look for quality, you become more selective and your answer to the previous question may change. The answer to the third question can go in any direction. You may swap to have fun or to learn from the experience. When my oldest daughter was eleven, she had to write a school entrance exam on the question. She wrote that she would choose to swap her body with the girl who had been bullying her! "But why?", I asked, "You don't want to become a bully like her, do you?" "No", she replied, "But by swapping my body with hers, I can learn how sad and unhappy she is. That's why she bullies others. And I am able to forgive her for what she does and be kind." I did not expect such an answer from a child. Yet she wanted to learn, understand, be able to forgive and make peace with the past.

It is your choice: to be someone, going somewhere - with all the fun, stress and strain that comes with your given name and acquired reputation; or being no one, going nowhere, not much fun but standing tall - at peace, with an understanding of where happiness truly lies.