“You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet.” Chuck Palahniuk / Fight Club
I was having dinner and catching up with an old friend the other evening when something he said brought this quote from the book Fight Club to my mind, prompting me to share it for today’s thought of the day.
My friend was expressing that he was having extreme anxiety over his upcoming board exams, something upon which the future of his career in medicine depended on. This is an understandably important task. He has spent years studying and working to prepare himself for this moment. Who wouldn’t have anxiety about such a situation.
I told him I understood his concerns but assured him in two ways. 1) I told him that he was more prepared than he realized and to have faith in his own ability, dedication, and work ethic. 2) I told him that IF he failed, and I didn’t think he would, that he wouldn’t be a failure – because he is not his job. If for whatever reason he did fail I am sure that he would learn from his errors and come back to pass the next time. And if he didn’t? Yea, he would be disappointed. But he would not be a failure, because there is more to him than what he does for a living, and there’s more to you than that as well.
Our culture has evolved to a point where we have learned to evaluate people on superficial qualities such as their job title, their net worth, their income, or other accolades. I cannot think of a worse way value an individual. We can all think of terrible human beings who have tons of money, impressive resumes, status, fame and more and we can think of great people who may struggle financially, work in seemingly unimpressive fields and more. What is more important than your job, your money in the bank, the car you drive, or the contents of your wallet?
If you ask me, it is character, values, and integrity that define you.