Who are you? - Reflection on personality
31st January 2024
Let’s first establish a disclaimer: My conclusions are not siding with anyone, but instead merely define and identify the two types of people I believe exist in today’s society.
Not long ago, I had a discussion with one of my flatmates, where we discussed the difference between the ’systematic’ person and the ‘savvy’ person. Defining systematics as those people whose sole aim is to climb the steps in the system established by society: School -> University -> Master’s -> Corporate job. This system works, and it works very well, hence it being very tempting specially if you’re a person with a high cognitive ability, or are someone who tends to be moved by following clear paths.
On the other hand, we defined savvies as those people whose goal is to differentiate themselves from the rest or those who have a more proactive attitude, whether in the job market or in the business world. These people are capable of identifying opportunities and making use of them through action, having that bravery to start dancing on an empty dance floor, to be part of the game, not part of the audience. This is how hundreds of thousands of ideas have come to life in a sedentary, comfortable, and systemised society.
Another, yet more uncommon possibility, is a person who lies between the two. I’ve met people who I’d categorise as Systematic/Savvy. These are people who tend to be academics, probably have a normal 9-5 job, yet still have the motivation and drive to experiment outside of the predefined path. In addition, there are also people who are in a ‘transitioning’ phase. Some individuals who live a systematic life only plan to remain there temporarily. It’s common for them to have a side-hustle or something of the sort, that if it were to take off, would make them leave the life of a systematic individual forever.
Having said this, without systematic people, society would be lost. For instance, we need highly qualified, systematic and dedicated doctors. In fact, it would not be an understatement to say that the savvy would be lost without the systematic, and vice versa.
Personally, I consider myself a natural ‘savvy’ person who has minor ‘systematic’ tendencies. Someone whose personality does not at all depend on the milestones of classical society (grades, academic recognition, work, etc.) I do however greatly value the discipline aspect of study, and have always thought it to be a skill very transferable to other areas. The problem is that many ‘systematic’ people do not see the potential they have, be it cognitive or disciplinary, and that’s a pity. In my case, I’m convinced that most of my energy put into academia would result in getting spectacular grades and recognition. However, this doesn’t make me feel fulfilled. I would always lack that personal goal, that north star to pursue.
Ever since I discovered there was more to life than getting good grades, I divided my attention without noticing. School took a backseat, yet I still remained prudent, and dedicated just enough mental energy to get reasonable grades whilst excelling at subjects I knew would help me develop my character further: Mathematics, Technology, and Business. Ever since I turned 15, I learnt to prioritise my time, to the point of not spending time on subjects that hold no interest to me, or that I feel are not useful in developing my character. This extra time is now spent on many different actions, whether it’s participating in various competitions, developing my businesses, servicing clients, working on my personal brand, networking, investing, reading, etc. These are the activities that make me fulfilled. This is how, in my opinion, a man discovers their true identity. Not through textbooks, but through execution. A quote I love from J. Robert Oppenheimer – “Theory will take you only so far” perfectly encapsulates the idea.
Taking everything in, I encourage you to reflect on your priorities as a free individual, and establish that framework that will make you become the person you aspire to be.