When you grow up believing you are what you do, when you’re done, you aren’t.

What did Wayne Dyer mean by:

When you grow up believing you are what you do, when you’re done, you aren’t.


This quote is a profound reflection on the concept of self-identity and purpose. It suggests that if one’s self-worth and identity are solely tied to their actions or their work, then the end of those actions or retirement from work might lead to a loss of identity or purpose. The quote is a critique of this mindset, encouraging us to find value and identity beyond our actions or professions.

The quote implies that our being is not equal to our doing. Our worth as individuals is not solely measured by our productivity, our job titles, or the tasks we accomplish. Instead, we are more than that; we are a sum of our experiences, relationships, values, passions, and much more. If we define ourselves only by what we do, we risk losing our sense of self when that ‘doing’ ceases or changes.

In today’s fast-paced, achievement-oriented society, this quote is particularly relevant. Many people derive their self-worth from their job titles, income, or social status, leading to a sense of emptiness or identity loss when these external factors change or disappear. This mindset can lead to burnout, depression, and anxiety.

In terms of personal development, this quote encourages us to cultivate a sense of self that is independent of external achievements. This might involve exploring our passions, nurturing relationships, practicing self-care, and developing a personal value system. It encourages us to find balance and to value ourselves beyond our productivity or societal roles.

In essence, this quote is a call to redefine success and self-worth. Instead of equating our value with our achievements, we should recognize that our worth is inherent and unchanging, regardless of what we do or achieve. This shift in perspective can lead to greater self-acceptance, resilience, and overall well-being.

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