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MYTH WARRIORS! - “Nobody can teach me who I am.” - Chinua Achebe

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Courtney Elizabeth Anderson

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In the MYTH WARRIORS™ series we are targeting ideas to begin to assess whether they are credible or not (i.e., they are a myth, fallacy or even a lie). The target for this episode is, “Nobody can teach me who I am.” 

“Born in Nigeria in 1930, Chinua Achebe attended the University of Ibadan. In 1958, his groundbreaking novel Things Fall Apart was published. It went on to sell more than 12 million copies and been translated into more than 50 languages. Achebe later served as the David and Marianna Fisher University professor and professor of Africana Studies at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. He died on March 21, 2013, at age 82, in Boston, Massachusetts.” 
(http://www.biography.com/people/chinua-achebe-20617665#awesm=~oDpf0csGuWAzTf )

The larger quote for our episode is, “Nobody can teach me who I am. You can describe parts of me, but who I am - and what I need - is something I have to find out myself.”

Option 1 - People can teach you who you are.

Option 2 - Nobody can teach you who you are.

Option 1 is seductive as it would be “easier” for someone else to tell me and show me who I am and all I would have to do would be to simply follow their instructions. Option 2 is “harder” as it would require me to do all of the work determining who I am (with no instructions to follow). Yet, if someone else teaches me who I am, then aren’t I simply a reproduction (or copy) of them with no original individuality? It might be more “challenging” to teach myself but then I will be an original individual who is able to determine and pursue their own goals and joy.  

My assertion is that this is not a myth and that option 2 is the only path to potential personal satisfaction. What is your conclusion?

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