What role do you play?

Very interesting note received today from Chris Sparks of Forcing Function

I like the idea of roles we choose to play. I remember as a teenager visiting my Nan’s house and after dinner standing up to wash up. They were all surprised as I hadn’t done that before (lazy teenager!). I remember thinking clearly about what my family expected of me and what I expected of myself. What was my role in the family dynamic? In a family structure age and parenting/nurture influence our habits and actions – but does it always stay the same? Washing up a few times isn’t a big deal – but getting out of your own groove to do something different shows those around you that you care. A conscious action with a real consequence. What roles do you play without thinking about it – and could you start thinking more about it to change things up?

We fall into many roles in life: the heroine, the scapegoat, the comedian, the “strong one.” We play different roles in different social contexts: our family, our friends, and our co-workers begin to see us the way we see ourselves. We become typecast, every new situation reinforcing our previous role. Our roles can even be invisible to us; the lines between self and perception-of-self become blurred.

No wonder we all suffer from imposter syndrome.

In Finite and Infinite Games, James Carse differentiates between dramatic and theatrical play. The waiter is not a waiter, he is merely “playing the role” of a waiter. I am not a teacher, coach, investor, or a poker player. I merely occupy those roles when it is my turn to play the game.

I am not saying that we should abandon our roles, or that we should subvert all outside expectations in the name of freedom. I simply suggest we realize that these are all roles we choose to play. If we are going to play anyway, why not have some fun?

Chris Sparks of Forcing Function

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