People fear what they cannot categorize, which is another way of saying what they don’t understand. You will feel lost for a time without a solid category to belong to. Don’t let that fool you into choosing an identity prematurely. There is no one way to be a traveler, an artist, a scholar, a superhero, or a philosopher. You accept other people’s definitions when you are too weak to make your own. Keep going until you arrive at you.
Any time you try something new, you must first learn the parameters of the system you are now part of. You cannot start with the same giant conclusions you see more practiced people display. Change is so intimidating that most people never even get started, and their goals remain forever unrealized. You are scared to change yourself to fit into a system you don’t fully understand. That is why you must be willing to pick apart any new knowledge you encounter. Break it down to its axioms so that you can use its own governing principles for your mastery of it.
By default, we define ourselves by the problems which consume our time. These are our attachments. Without attachments, our identities would be indistinguishable and formless. Without problems imposed into our lives, we create them ourselves. Something must always hold a place of importance in the mind. If our survival is not in jeopardy, we project problems onto something trivial. Total stress remains the same. Things can never be at peace for long. Boredom is not sustainable.
Freedom is choosing for yourself what problems you want to place within your sphere of attachment to solve. You alone are the arbiter of what deserves space in your life, or what is worth facing stress over. If you must have problems, make them problems worth having. Choose your attachments wisely. Figure out for yourself exactly what is worth fighting and dying for – a principle bigger than yourself.
When you know what that thing authentically is for yourself, you will be on your way to knowing the principle of you. It is the push back against pain and drive toward accomplishment which leads to great change. It is a state of being ordinary people are terrified to discover about themselves because they resist the depths they must trek to arrive there. It is what will show you the new skills and abilities you need in order to do what you now know must be done. This realization is where your life truly begins.