My Identity Crisis
You might not have seen, but I recently made this video about how I’m leaving medicine forever.
In the two weeks since filming, I’ve felt a bit of a hole in my life – like I’m missing a primary badge of identity. If you’re a doctor, it’s easy for that to be your main identity, the thing that justifies your existence to other people. “I’m a doctor”.
But now that I’ve quit medicine, I’m wondering – what do I want my identity to be?
YouTuber? That feels a bit weird to me. Partly because of the circularity of my content. Most of my videos are about productivity, but my main examples are all about how I run a business that makes videos about productivity… So we get into this infinite loop, and that feels quite dissatisfying as a personal narrative.
What about Writer? That sounds more impressive, but I’m not really a writer yet. Entrepreneur? I don’t really like that word. Maybe ‘Teacher’, but that has slightly strange vibes as a label. I’ve even thought about becoming a student again, and doing an MBA.
But even if I do find some prestigious new identity, the shine might wear off again a few years down the line. Then I’d be back to square one, trying to reinvent myself.
Perhaps the real solution is to stop and ask why I feel this need for a badge of identity. Can’t I just stop and appreciate that as humans, we’re more than just labels?
Right now I’m working on trying to be OK with just being Ali. I think taking more of a “forget the noun, do the verb” approach (thanks Austin Kleon) is a good place to start; thinking of myself as someone who ‘makes videos and records podcasts’, instead of hiding behind a title like ‘Doctor’ or ‘YouTuber’. It’s all a work in progress though.
As always, thanks for reading. If you’ve got any thoughts on this, or links to articles or books or anything that you’ve found helpful on the topic, I’d love to hear from you – just hit to this email. I read all the replies even if I don’t make the time to reply to many 🙈
Have a great week!
I’m getting laser eye on Wednesday, wish me luck.
❤️ My Favourite Things
🎬 YouTube Video – Adam Neumann in His First Public Interview Since Leaving WeWork. I always liked the vibe in the Cambridge WeWork. Although I knew there was this whole scandal behind the company, I never knew the full story. So it was interesting to hear the founder’s side of things.
📝 Blog Post – The Nothingness of Money by Lawrence Yeo (from More To That). Thanks to a handful of people who replied to ‘Die with Zero’ with a link to this. I’d never seen More To That before but it’s sick, and I’m now in the rabbit hole of going through their post archive.
🎹 Instrument – Casio Privia PX S-1100. A new piano we’ve got in the studio – in all-white. It’s pretty cool, and I’ve been playing a bit more recently.
🎙️ Podcast – Huberman Lab on Master Your Sleep & Be More Alert When Awake– Really interesting, sold me on why you should get light exposure first thing in the morning. I’ve now started having coffee on my balcony every morning, and I think it’s already making a difference to how I’m sleeping.
🎵 Music – Spotify Wrapped surfaced my favourite songs from the last year: apparently my music taste is ‘wistful / hopeless romantic’. Sounds like my vibe tbh.
✍️ Quote of the Week
“We labour at our daily work more ardently and thoughtlessly than is necessary to sustain our life because to us it is even more necessary not to have leisure to stop and think. Haste is universal because everyone is in flight from himself.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
From 4,000 Weeks by Oliver Burkeman. Resurfaced using Readwise.