When I think of my past, my childhood days come to mind. The thoughtsof those days attract the thoughts of the kind of learning process Ihave gone through. Most of my learning processes have been veryPavlovian such that I would easily relate certain sounds andexpressions with events and proceedings. A keen reflection of thepast reminds me of how my mother used to give me a pat on my backwhen I did well and rap when did wrong like I touched the electriccable. When this was done severally, I retained the good deeds andavoided the bad ones to avoid punishment. My personality and myidentity have been made up of those things. According to John Perry,in his book “A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality,”identity can be divided into three aspects: body, memory, and soul.Knowing that the body I have today is the same body I had in mychildhood days makes me feel that am so much attached with therealities of my identity. For this reason, I can comfortably describemy values, codes, qualifications and any other conditions of myidentity and critically reflect on how it has been shaped with time.
Like every other individual, I have several conditions of myidentity. One such condition is the fact that I am an internationalstudent and freshman at the University majoring in Physics. My futurecareer will, therefore, be formed around physics-basedtechnicalities. I have been brought up in a family whose vision is tobring up independent and educated individuals. The family mission isto realize the dreams and aspirations in a manner that improveseveryone’s intellect, faith, and character. The goal is to live afulfilled, confident and happy life. As it will be provided later inthis discussion, my family has made the largest contribution indefining my personality and my identity. I have a special interest inplaying basketball and have been a member of basketball communitiessince my junior high school days. I was an active member of thebasketball club in primary school, middle school, and high school. Asa freshman in the university, I am preparing to join the club. I havealso been actively involved in society basketball and handball clubs.One of my main hobbies is swimming. However, I do it for enjoymentrather than for gaming and sporting purposes.
Other conditions of my identity include the things that I stronglydeem to be important in the way I live my personal values. Mypersonal values are my priorities and, to a considerable extent, Iuse them to determine whether my life is turning out the way I wantit to. The main personal values I have are accountability,enthusiasm, integrity, independence, initiative, self-discipline,success, teamwork, patience, and perseverance. I highly regard familyand family values, friendships, honesty, and trust. These are justbut a few of the many personal values that I hold. I admit that thereare some personal values that I am not aware of probably because I amyet to be exposed to situations that will help me to recognize them.According to the Johari window, the unknown values may fall under theblind spot (not known to self but known to others) or the unknown(not known to self and not known to others) categories. These set ofvalues define my character and my personality at large. Extraversionis the best term to describe my personality. My friendliness,enthusiasm, cheerfulness and assertiveness affirms this. However,from my traits, it is evident that I have low-level extraversiontraits as opposed to high ones.
After conducting critical reflection of the path to my identity, Ihave concluded that who I am today is an ideal and integratedcombination of conscious cultivation efforts and the assignedidentity. The assigned identity was as a result of the parenting,communities, and the situations I have gone through in lifeespecially during my childhood days. As pointed out earlier, myparents have played a major role in cultivating my identity. Thefrequent behavioral reinforcements and punishments have played aconsiderable role in my identity. Communities assigned me theidentity especially through molding my morals. The society, at large,defined what is right and wrong for me. Life situations have assignedmy identity through hardening my personality. After I had grown up, Iwas able to distinguish between the right and wrong. I consciouslycultivated efforts to ensure that I was only identified with theright and not the wrong things. Today, great changes in my identityare more likely to occur – not because of parenting, communities,and situations – as a result of efforts that I have consciouslycultivated.
In some instances, the facet of identity competes with mypersonality. For instance, I am outgoing and at the same timeambitious and enthusiastic. This implies that if I make friends andrealize that they have little or nothing to do with my ambition, Irarely consider them as friends anymore. This brings about a lot ofsocial pressures because the friends liked my outgoing personalitybut forgot that I was very ambitious as well. My outgoing andfriendly personality have enabled me to relate well to others as theyrelate well to me. However, self-discipline makes me falling intosquabbles with the majority of my new friends because what I havepurposed to do must be done. I rarely consider upcoming issues. Thereis a societal stereotype that identities like mine that portrays theextraversion trait only auger well with careers that require a greatdeal of interaction with other people. I possess the extraversiontrait but major in Physics (likely to lead to careers that do notrequire a great deal of interaction with people). I challenge thissociety stereotype. Identities with the extraversion trait aresuitable for any career owed to their flexibility.
When I think of the future, the thoughts of bettering my identitycome to mind. The likelihood that my identity can be assigned is low.The only option in a bid to better my identity is consciouslycultivating it to what I want to be. This exercise has prompted me toconsider my extraversion personality and the various societalstereotypes associated with it. I purpose to pursue my career andsucceed in it so that I can prove the stereotypes wrong. The exercisehas also made me conscious of the fact that the days when my identitywas assigned rather than cultivation are long gone. My age andpersonality do not allow me to adopt identity assignations anymore.The Pavlovian way of behavioral reinforcement cannot work inmodifying my identity anymore. Only personal decisions can.