Site icon Bachir Bastien

Are We Really What We Do?

A woman who is confused about her identity

A while ago, I attended a presentation by a prominent doctor turned politician who stated flat out: “We are what we do.” This statement has never left my mind since then.

Think about what makes you… you. Is it your action? Your beliefs? Your personality? Is it your dream? Your possessions?

You might find it hard to agree on one aspect. And that’s because our identity is fluid and can’t be tied to a specific cause. We are complex human beings with multiple dimensions. Judging a person solely by their actions—or any particular characteristic—is akin to assessing the taste of a fine meal only by the amount of salt in it.

The belief we are what we do is deterministic and implies that our actions can always be pinned down to a single cause. Human behavior is both willed and caused. We can’t accurately define someone solely by their actions.

If we were what we did, people making mistakes, the principle of cognitive dissonance among others would be senseless. Often, we engage in actions that are inconsistent with our beliefs and values. If we don’t look beneath the surface, we’ll get an inaccurate picture of ourselves and others.

Besides, equating people and their actions is also a surefire way to reinforce people’s negative self-beliefs or feelings of grandiosity. Does failing at a maths exam make me a failure? Or getting 100 a smart person? You would agree not.

The shallower one defines themselves, the more unfulfilled they will be. Therefore, it’s wiser to understand people—and yourself—through multiple dimensions and not rush to hasty conclusions about your identity and others.


Schedule a free consultation with me for any inquiries regarding 121 leadership, personal development, and communication coaching. You can also connect with me via LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. Until then, stay healthy, stay busy, stay happy.

My first book is out! I designed this book to help individuals create lasting life changes. Unlike popular beliefs, I revealed exactly how we can achieve success without sacrificing our health, peace of mind, and relationships with loved ones. I am humbled by the enormous support I have received since I launched this book. Grab yours today!

Exit mobile version