“I knew who I was this morning, but I’ve changed a few times since then.” – Alice, Alice in Wonderland
I often wonder if we are who we are because of our environment, or due to our own free will and choices. My rebellious nature forces me to believe that everything I do is a choice. “I am NOT a robot” I tell myself.
If I was a a machine, featuring automatic emotional and physical responses, I would likely come with a manufacturers mark. A birth mark if you will: a name. A name I didn’t choose, one that was given to me at the assembly line. This name would have nothing to do with my destiny, nothing to do with how I would serve others–it would merely be something to call me by. A way for me to toil through this automaton life I call, “Project Mayhem.”
My name, Joseph Wilkes, is shared by hundreds of people. It is not unique, in fact, it might as well not be a name at all. That’s because, in project mayhem, we have no names.
Ever watched one of those horror movies where the way to defeat the demon is to figure out his name? That’s also one the best ways to figure out who you are. This came to me by accident. On my second deployment I was a support operator for U.S. Special Forces and they gave me my first Alias: Crow. This callsign was given to make radio chatter easier, and to determine what I do or where I work within the organization so that ground operators can easily identify how I can help them.
This name was powerful, and, for a year of my life it’s what people called me. They knew exactly what I was capable of, and my history–just through that call-sign. But then, I came back home. And I got my old automaton name back. It didn’t feel right though, how did ‘Joseph Wilkes’ ensure people could easily determine how I could help them?
WHERE TO FIND AN ALIAS
There are many places where an alias is common. Almost any influence you can think of has an alias or used one in the past, among them are: Stanley Lieber (Alias: Stan Lee), Norma Jeane (Alias: Marilyn Monroe), Carlos Estevez (Alias: Charlie Sheen), James Mattis (Alias: Mad Dog), and the list goes on forever. There are a few careers where this is seen as normal, but each has a different name for it:
- Acting: Stage Names
- Book Writing: Pen Names
- Combat: Callsigns
- Online: Avatar / User Name
LEAVING PROJECT MAYHEM
“In death, a member of project mayhem has a name. His name, is Robert Paulson.” – Mechanic, Fight Club
Once you’ve decided that you’re going to do more for humanity than just work in the assembly line, it’s time you get yourself an alias. An alias is very important because in addition to making it easier to identify how you serve them, it will also help you:
- Stand Out – There’s a lot of Joseph Wilkes’, and it’s going to be hard to stand out among them.
- Convey a Message – It takes 1/10 of a second for a person to judge someone and make a first impression. Make it easier by telling them what you are.
- Become the Idea – Know who you’re trying to talk to? Tell them through your alias. Pink is a perfect example here, my guess is she wasn’t targeting hyper-ego males.
WHEN YOU NEED AN ALIAS
First, is if you’re on a super spy trying to survive–I definitely suggest not using your real name. For those not aspiring to conduct espionage; my personal belief is that you should adopt an alias right now. I know you’re going to think that sounds silly, but it will set you up for huge success.
My main focus in life is business and entrepreneurship. I want to help those who are struggling to start living the life they were made to have; and I know how hard it is to do that. I’ve spent 1/3 of my life outside of the U.S. supporting US Forces, and three of those years side-by-side combat forces. Lost friends, loved ones, built a business I loved, and lost that too.
I once had a conversation about this with a friend while deployed and he told me, “You’re like the Dark Entrepreneur.” That’s who I am now: The Dark Entrepreneur. This effects every post, every comment–and many of my thoughts. I work hard to try to help other ‘Dark Entrepreneurs’ so that they won’t walk into the same traps I did.
Now that you have an example, think of what you’re trying to do in your life and what Alias you could adapt to help you. If you don’t like the idea of an Alias, think of it more as a self brand.
WHAT ALIAS TO PICK
A good alias covers three topics:
- A Major Focus – A person seeing it should have somewhat of an idea what field that Alias might be used in.
- An Field Angle – “The Entrepreneur” would’ve been to generalized to mean anything to people. Adding the word ‘Dark’ changes everything.
- The Projected Path – Think of where you’d like to be in 5-10 years. Many of these names stick for a long time, sometimes forever.
Don’t get caught up on an Alias. It’s part of the journey to self discovery, if you find the idea of it puzzling, don’t worry–there’s a bigger puzzle. Alice knows:
“Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.” – Alice, Alice in Wonderland