Buckminster Fuller once said that 99% of who you are is invisible and untouchable.
I think he’s right.
There are only two things that make you, you — your physical parts and your mental parts.
Your physical parts are your bones, arteries, blood vessels, hair, skin, stature, eyeballs, and toenails (painted or natural), etc. These are the parts of you that you can see, touch, taste, smell and hold in your hand.
Looking at that list, I’d argue that we care a lot more about what our hair looks like than what our blood vessels look like, because our hair is something that can be seen, assessed and judged by other people.
Poor blood vessels.
We tend to ignore the parts of us that other people can’t see.
In addition to the physical aspects of your being, you’re also made up of several mental aspects like your thoughts, your emotions, and your mind.
Now, these are the aspects of ourselves that we really ignore.
We spend the vast majority of our time emphasizing the importance of the external things like the length of our hair, the number of lines on our face or the circumference of our waist. When we ring in the New Year and we say we need to take control of our lives, it typically means we want to lose more weight, drink more water or exercise more often.
What if, instead, we decided to take control of our invisible selves?
Fuller says that it’s our ability to think and go behind our physical form that determines our quality of life. In other words, the more control you have over the invisible parts of you, the happier you will be.
This fact of life can easily be demonstrated while standing in line at the local DMV.
One person might be visibly overwhelmed with frustration and anger, while the person directly in front of them appears happy to be alive and without a care in the world. The external reality of their situation is exactly the same. However, their internal reaction to that situation couldn’t be more different. One person has their insides under control; the other does not.
I’m convinced that our insides matter more than our outsides.
I believe that if we focus more on our thoughts and what’s going on in our mind, then we can finally start to give this dimension of ourselves the attention it deserves.
Here are three things you can start doing today to focus on the invisible part of you.
- Question your insides, not your outsides. The next time you catch yourself comparing your waistline to the woman standing next to you at the grocery store, shift the focus of your dialogue from an external conversation to an internal one. For example, instead of asking yourself “Why don’t I work out more?” ask yourself “Why am I so hard on myself?” The focus of the first question is what other people think of you; the second is what you think of yourself.
- Question yourself when you start judging. The next time you find yourself judging someone else, hit pause. Instead of focusing on what’s wrong with the other person, try to become interested in what’s causing you to feel so judgmental in the first place. If you dig deep enough, the answer will have nothing to do with the other person, and everything to do with you.
- Find some quiet time. Going to the gym is great and it gives you a chance to work on the physical parts of you. However, you should also give yourself the time and quiet space to be alone with the invisible part of you. Starting tomorrow, find 10 minutes before everyone wakes up in the morning and sit in a quiet place with a lit candle or two in sight. Take slow and steady breaths and remind yourself that the part of you that needs strength and stability is the part of you that nobody else can see.
Fuller was right. The 99% of you that nobody can see is the most important part of you. Your thoughts and your feelings are everything.
You can only give away what you have inside.
If you give away anger today, it’s not because of anything that’s happening around you. It’s because anger is what you have inside of you to give away.
What’s on the inside of you matters. So it’s worth taking care of what’s inside of you.
We spend a lot of time focused on the things we can see and compare with other people.
What if we focused more of our time on the 99% of ourselves that nobody can see? Everyone can see the color of your eyes, but nobody can see what’s behind your eyes that’s coloring your reality.
A friend of mine once said that no matter how hard you squeeze, you will never get apple juice out of an orange. It doesn’t matter what squeezes the orange — a sledgehammer or a $500 juice extractor — orange juice is what’s inside and orange juice is what’s going to come out.
The same is true in our own lives.
If you can only give away what you have inside, then it’s time to start loving and nurturing what’s on the inside of you.
It’s time to love the invisible you.