We all take on roles. When we get in a group with a written or even an oral contract, we take the role we agreed to. By having contracts with clearly defined roles, we all know how to function around each other and have an idea of what we’re supposed to do, and how others are supposed to behave. The creative is late, the engineer doesn’t smile, the entrepreneur wears jeans, and the investment banker buys an expensive car. You know how to be “you” in different situations; you may be a son or daughter, a husband or wife, an entrepreneur or employee, European or American, rich or poor. When we take these roles life seems to be make sense. When there is a written contract, the roles a so clear that specific behaviour have been spelled out in writing.
We need to play roles to function in society, and in any system with humans, because that’s how we relate to each other. When we shift roles, we may not notice we’ve shifted from one way of being to another. When we believe these roles we play are real, life becomes are very strange place because we shift from one reality to another without noticing. When we realize that we are not the different characters we play, nor the voices in our head, nor our thoughts, nor our identities, life becomes a beautiful and a magical experience.
Like in a dream, you become both active observer and passive actor. When you do, you remember that I am writing articles full of questions and thoughts aimed at provoking your thinking, not because any of it has to be true, but because you’ve agreed to play a fun game called “the writer and the reader”. And if you agree to play the game “coach and coachee”, you may take the time to ponder of concepts I raise, answer questions I ask and play games I offer.
You are not who you think you are, and I am not who you think I am. Nobody is really an accountant, a doctor, a lawyer or an engineer, Belgian or American. People may have gone to a university that gave them a paper which says they are a doctor or have a passport to prove nationality, but it’s simply not true. As convincing as the evidence may seem, you’re not even really a man or a woman. They’re just roles that is really easy to believe is real because you notice you have a dick between your legs, or boobs on your chest. And some of us have both.
I am not really coach, but it is a character I have become very good at playing. I’m not even human, but it’s a role I got really good at because I can’t seem to get out of this costume. When we play these roles knowing they’re not real, we can go deeper into the characters, without getting carried away into believing we really are the roles we play. When we believe that we really are these roles, we worry that we may do something that’s out of character. When we worry that others won’t believe the character we’re playing, that’s when we feel insecure, that’s when we second guess ourselves, and that’s when life becomes miserable because we spend our time trying to convince others that it is true that we’re a successful entrepreneur, a beautiful woman or a celibate priest.
When we remember that none of these roles we play are real, we focus on how to play each character better every time we get a chance to act with others. When we wake up and we are conscious of the roles we play, we can explore different ways of being for each character. When we notice that we’re playing these roles, and when we notice the roles others play, we can choose to explore who we can be fearlessly.
- What are all the roles you play?
For each role, rank how much you tend to believe it’s real (0 = the role feels very real, 10 = you know it’s just a role)
- What are the roles you’re not interested in playing anymore?
- What roles do you NOT play currently play, that you want to start playing? Describe each of these characters