Why we become the adults we despise as kids

Enlist yourself for the good stuff here

authored, with loads of love & thought, by Chetan Narang

Here’s something that most people would be super-uncomfortable with, but as always – Growth lies on the other side of discomfort.
So stay with me. 

If we do an honest reflection on this question – “Would the past version of me have liked who I am now or how I do things currently?” – most people would come up with the answer as “no, not really”.

Think about it.

  • If you are a manager in your workplace right now, are you really the manager you wanted to have when you were an employee?
  • If you are a parent right now, are you really the parent you wanted to have when you were a kid yourself?
  • Along the same lines – Are you really the partner you wanted to have for yourself when you were looking for one?

For this, and a host of such questions, the honest answers for almost all of us are “NO, NOT REALLY.

And why is that the case? I think that’s primarily so because we never look back and think

  • about thinking about our own thoughts,
  • about unlearning our sticky ideas about things that can be looked at differently,
  • about letting go of our own egos.
  • about expanding our perspectives on things we do on a day-to-day basis

As we grow up and life takes its course, more and more ideas, perceptions & biases stick to our identities, or in other words, to our egos. They come in various shapes & sizes, and mostly look something like:

  • this IS how people are
  • this IS how things must be
  • this IS how life is
  • this IS how I am
  • this IS how they should be

This is roughly what happened to those managers and/or parents and/or partners you despised previously. And this is exactly what happens to us if we don’t become aware of this entire movement of our thoughts. And while you may not be to blame for all of the biases rooted in you, you are most definitely responsible for letting go, or unlearning the ones that you can & should.

To be very clear, the idea is not that the answer to that uncomfortable question should always be yes

The 10 year old me was a naive child who knew and understood much less than I do now. And even the 22-year old me was a naive engineer who understood much less about Life and work than I do now.

But we do tend to lose the curiosity we exhibit in the early stages of our lives, along with the willingness to learn more & the ability to not get stuck onto impressions or biases too much. 

As we grow up, if we do not take conscious steps to bring those biases to the foreground or let go of them – we tend to become the same set-in-their-own-ways grown-ups who just don’t even wanna listen where they could be wrong or incomplete.

It takes courage.

It takes patience.

It takes self awareness.

And it’s most definitely worth it.

For yourself, and also for others around you.

This, and much more, is the core of the work we do here at The Unlearning Playground. Check out more of our content on your platform of choice. All our content, including the weekly newsletter, the youtube channel & the podcast can be found out on our website – www.chetannarang.org.

Until next time.
Peace out.

“A man sees in the world what he carries in his heart.”

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe