The limitations of labels

Matthew Encina
Oct 25, 2020
Photo by Domingo Alvarez on Unsplash

What do you call yourself?
What label do you identify with?
Artist, author, athlete?

Having a title or label is helpful for us to be identified and qualified. This is especially important in our professions, cause we want to be known for our expertise.

“John is really good with numbers, I highly recommend him to do your taxes.”

“Sarah is an amazing fitness instructor, you’ll feel sore but good, after one of her classes.”

While labels are beneficial externally, are we letting them define (too much) who we are internally?

If you don’t call yourself an “artist”, do you still consider yourself creative?
If you don’t consider yourself “handy”, does that stop you from trying to fix a leaky faucet?
If you’re not a “funny” person, does that make you serious all the time?

For many of us, we often stop ourselves from exploring outside of our labels. We limit our beliefs about ourselves (and others).

If you don’t believe you’re strong enough to do a pull up, you might never work towards it.
If you don’t believe you can write, you may never unlock all the beautiful thoughts inside your head.
If you don’t believe you can do something, you might never try.

Labels are useful for external identity, but become a liability when you let them define your internal beliefs.

You are more than your work, your title, and how others expect you to be. Don’t let your labels limit your ability to explore, think, and express.



Matthew Encina

Creative Director at Blind. Educator at The Futur. International Speaker.