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“Human Being” or “Human Becoming”?

November 22, 2010

“Human Being” or “Human Becoming”?

“Human” and “human being” are often used interchangeably. So how does the word “being” enhance or modify the word?

The first definition of “being” in Webster’s Online dictionary, is “the quality or state of having existence.” Therefore if you exist as a person you are a “human being.”

I like to think that life is about more than existence, especially a fulfilling and meaningful life. Robin Damsky, my co-author of Find Fulfill Flourish, mentions in our book that some of her teachers taught her how to be a “human becoming” rather than simply a human being. This resonated with me because we often talk about life as a journey, which means we should be growing and learning as we progress. It also says that human life is about more than surviving or being. It’s about thriving and becoming something greater than we are right now. By just breathing, we are in a state of being. To “become” we must be active rather than complacent. To become someone we wish to be, we must have a purpose and direction. We need to transcend who we are at the moment.

How many of us are simply going through the motions of life? How many of us are stuck in a continual routine of waking, eating, going to work or school, doing chores, watching television, and going back to sleep – more or less, day after day. This is what comes to my mind for me now when I think about “human being.” “Human becoming” is about breaking out of the treadmill and heightening the experience and meaningfulness of our lives. It’s about actively pursuing our future.

The word “become” means to grow, to change, to transform, to evolve. When we are becoming something we are in motion, we have momentum, we are moving along a path, we are realizing our potential as humans. We may be on the way to flourishing as never before.

I believe that to truly live as a “human becoming” and to flourish we need to look outside of ourselves. We need to strive to create a difference in whatever field of endeavor we wish to pursue. We need to stretch ourselves and to grow. This entails seeking new experiences, working toward goals, perhaps struggling and making mistakes, developing greater wisdom, and using what we become to advance worthy objectives.  Fulfillment will surely follow. Then we can once again move onward, striving to become more than we are.  We are then always “becoming” since we never actually arrive. There is always another step. That’s what makes life a continual journey.

If you are not already, what greater purpose can you pursue to elevate your life as a “human becoming”? How do you wish to grow? What will make your live more meaningful and fulfilling? Answering those questions will help you define the direction of your journey and what you are striving to become.

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If you enjoyed this post, you may also be interested in “Times of Renewal and Rejuvenation.”

We post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The topic on Wednesday will be “10 Things You May Wish to Add to Your Thanksgiving List”

Steve Weitzenkorn

Steve Weitzenkorn, Ph.D., is a learning innovator, organizational advisor, experienced facilitator, and lead author of Find-Fulfill-Flourish: Discover Your Purpose with LifePath GPS – a book, tool kit, and workshop series focused on guiding people toward more meaningful and fulfilling lives.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. November 22, 2010 4:22 am

    Steve,

    Excellent post. I think as adults we stop learning, whereas as children we wish to grow and become something, we are constantly pursuing knowledge. A child will ask the same question 10 times from different people till he/she understands and finds an acceptable answer.

    As adults we fail to question oursleves and others, and become mere followers of doing something. The ‘why” part is never questioned so we never get apropriate answers. And since we fail at questioning we only exist and never become or live life.

    My two cents 🙂

    Sonia

    • November 22, 2010 7:39 am

      Hi Sonia,

      Great points! Children are like sponges and always seeking to absorb more. They are driven by curiosity. Somewhere along the way, as we become adults, many of us lose that avid curiosity. Asking questions and having an ongoing thirst for learning is key to personal growth and a stimulating life.

      Your comment also gave me an idea for a future post, focused on the differences between how children and adults learn and the implications.

      My best,
      Steve

  2. January 20, 2011 5:49 am

    Hi Steve,

    I totally agree with your post, to only ‘be’ would mean to stagnate and ultimately be of no real use – of course you would still have a life, have children, a job, friends and experiences, but it would all be so enclosed. To become is to make ripples, which would not only benefit yourself, but have repurcussions beyond what you can see, possibly beyond even your own life.

    For me, all that I’m trying to become is underpinned by my ultimate aim, which is to become as much like Christ while I’m on earth as I can, and is all against a backdrop of bringing glory to God the Father and His kingdom. If I were to become more for my own gain, then that is no gain at all, but if I persue holiness and strive to attain Christ-like characteristics, then I become more by default and I have glorified the Father and His kingdom by pursuing what is good and worthy, therefore I have gained everything, but not just for me, but also to the eternal benefit of others.

    • January 20, 2011 9:09 am

      Bill,

      Thanks for your thoughtful and insightful comment. I really appreciate your sharing your perspective and how spiritually meaningful your aims are.

      I wish you the very best and hope to hear from you again. I’ll also be a frequent reader of your blog.

      Steve

  3. October 2, 2014 12:43 am

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    thank you for your time for this fantastic read!!

    I definitely really liked every part of it and i also have you bookmarked to
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