The Power of Understanding Yourself: The Key to Self-Discovery, Personal Development, and Being the Best You - Dave Mitchell 2019
Epilogue Uncorking Me
We serve no wine before its time.
— Orson Welles, describing Paul Masson wines
I wrote my previous book, The Power of Understanding People, to assist the reader with the many professional and personal relationships that we all have in our life. “The world would be a wonderful place if it weren’t for people,” was a quote from my dad that started the book. So much of our stress originates in our struggle to understand the behavior of others. As I traveled the world speaking on those concepts, an interesting development occurred. When I finished a seminar on The Power of Understanding People, many of the attendees wanted to know more about themselves. I realized that much of the reason we struggle with others is that we haven’t truly taken the time to understand ourselves. I also recognized how people are so eager to be validated by others. I knew that my next book would need to focus on helping others better get to know their Me. Living in wine country, the correlation between a vintner understanding the grape to make the best wine was the exact metaphor for our pursuit to extracting Me.
Each year brings different conditions of heat, sun, rain, and context to the vineyard. Although the roots run deep into the soil and remain constant, the grapes are influenced by the swirl of unpredictability in each vintage. The winemaker must begin with what terroir, the vine, and the weather has provided, but she can then begin crafting her masterpiece from her own clear understanding of her ideology, knowledge, and abilities. The trek from vine to bottle is a journey that starts anew continuously. Each year represents advantages and challenges. The inputs change, the ideology adjusts, the outputs may evolve over time.
We, too, are in continual flux. Like the fine wine that we open at our table, we are a product of solid roots, careful consideration, and craftsmanship, an ideology aligned, a style assessed, and an aptitude for aging. Interestingly, consummate winemakers keep meticulous notes about the vintage, the harvest, the crush, the punch downs, and the storage vessel. These notes provide them with a way to measure their efforts and continually improve their products. The most valuable tool for assessing the winemakers’ labor is to taste the wine. In vino veritas — in wine, truth.
And so it is with us. Return often to these reflections and metacognitive exercises. Continue to take stock in your life. You will evolve and grow. Your life will change, for better or worse — because life doesn’t give a damn, and those developments will need to be ruminated upon. The power of understanding yourself is not a moment in time, but an elaborate process spanning your entire life. You will need to savor the taste of it at each interval. To be our best, we must continually know what that is right now. In the words of Dale Mitchell, my cantankerous father, “We should be born old and grow younger because by the time we figure out how everything works, none of it does.” Tick tock.