I am what I choose to become

Carl Jung

Sigmund Freud said that bad things happen to us in our childhoods, which then mess us up when we are older.

Carl Jung said, Yes, but hang on a minute. Everything in nature is part of evolution. So if it happens then there must be an evolutionary benefit from it. What might that be?

We do sometimes get upset by things. But different people get upset about different things — what upsets one person will have no effect on another — so in a sense we must ‘choose’ what we get upset about: we choose which events we do and don’t react to.

Noticing what we get upset about (now and in the past) shows us what we care about. It shows us what we want to build instead. It shows us who we are.

Yes the past happened, but it is over. It doesn’t define who we are. It shows us who we want to become.

“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” — C.G. Jung

So, if we combine learning from our past with learning from our future and learning from the people we most admire then we create for ourselves a deeper understanding of what really drives us. In a time of change this will provide an invaluable source of motivation and focus, which we can use not only to inspire us but also to become who we truly are.


Inner Leadership is a framework and a set of tools for building inspirational leadership in times of change.

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