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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Wang

You are not what you do

This is a topic that has come up in conversation time and time again over the years. I simply do not believe that you are what you do. I don't think that our actions define who we are.

Here are some factors that I think matter more in regards to reflecting who we are as individuals:

1. Intention

A lot of people can do the same thing but they usually have different reasons for it. There are different intentions behind the same action. For me, it is a person's intention that showcases a more accurate, intimate, and nuanced version of their character.

2. Decision making process

This is one of the most important aspects of how I see and live my life. If I want to form an opinion of who a person truly is, I would scrutinize this process. Having a sense of how a person decided that they were actually going to carry out an action is much more telling than the action itself.

In several podcast episodes, as well as in my book, I talk about how I think the biggest problem in the world is that too many people don't know who they are, don't know what it is that they want, and do not make decisions accordingly even if they did know. If a person made decisions according to who they are and what they want, then it is obviously revealing. When you can tell that a person probably didn't make a decision through a process like that, it, too, is revealing, in a different way. There are obvious differences in a person's character if they decide on a whim or if they think it through. In so many ways, it is more accurate to define who a person is by the process in which they make their decisions.

3.Emotional response

A person's emotional response to their actions is another aspect that is more reflective of a person's truth than their action. How do they feel about their actions? How do they feel about the consequences of their actions? How do they feel about themselves knowing their intentions, desires, and the fact that they decided to carry out their actions? A person's answers to these questions reveal much more about their character than the action itself.

This is, perhaps, controversial to say. However, it is how I truly feel. As someone who focuses heavily on living intentionally and feeling fulfilled, I don't like seeing people feeling serious guilt or having actual regrets. If you did something and it led to consequences that you end up feeling guilty about or having regrets on, it, to me, feels like you didn't think it through and wasn't accepting of the potential consequences when you decided to carry out the action in the first place. I would rather see a person with no remorse and no shame. I would judge them for their actions, their intentions, and their character overall, but at least they are staying true to who they are and doing what they actually want.

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