This riddle keeps our minds wrapped in a never-ending search for truth. You can't have an egg without first having a chicken...but then, where did the chicken come from? It's a conundrum that might also apply to a more elemental issue: who are we and what are we doing?
Do we become what we do...or do we do who we are? You could easily argue either side - depending upon your experience. You might even determine that it's a little of both.
There may not be a single correct answer to this dilemma, but even unsolvable problems offer significant insights into how our minds work and, consequently, how our lives look.
Take this example: how long have you been trying to figure out how to have the life you really want to live? Forever? How many times have you changed relationships, jobs, hair styles, residences - all in pursuit of the wondrous image you have of the perfect life? And where has that gotten you?
If insanity is the belief that you can get a different result from doing the same ineffective thing over and over again, then may I offer a bit of sanity? Rather than pursuing your dream life, become the person that dream life was built for.
Who would you need to BE to live the life you want? Face it, right now you are perfectly suited to the life you have. It fits like a glove. Now, you might not like that fact, but there it is. If you were a different person, you'd be living different life.
So, if you want a different life from what you now have - become the person who has that kind of life. Work on the inside first and the outside will be drawn to you like flies to honey. It will be a natural extension of who you have become. There will be no struggle.
Our problem is that we want a different life, but we don't want to change. There's that definition of insanity again. Or, perhaps we're not sure how to change. One of my favorite book titles is The Answer to How is Yes (2003, Peter Block). He posits that we ask how as a means to avoid responsibility. Huh? When we're afraid, or confused, or uncertain, or don't want to risk failure, we stop ourselves with one question, "Yea, but how?" The reasoning goes: "If I don't know how I can't possibly be held accountable for doing it." So, we wipe our mental hands of seeking the answer and grudgingly settle back into the life we know.
Your mind is a miracle of life. It has the power to imagine and create anything. Yes, even yours! But, the question how jams a wrench in its gears and it just stops considering a solution. It already knows you don't expect to find an answer, so it doesn't chase that goose.
You already know how to live the life you want to live. But, from your current state of being, that life isn't possible. Become the person that that life fits. What would you need to believe to have that life? What would you need to read, see, eat, do? What we believe and what we receive are very predictable. Look at the people who are living the life you want. Who are they, really?
If you want to have career success, become who successful people are. If you want to have loving relationships, become who those with loving relationships are. If you want well-being in body and mind, become who those with well-being are.
It's not enough just to DO what people do who are living the life you want. It begins with being first. When what you do is a natural extension of who you are, life flows. Who do you need to BE to live the life you want? How tragic it would be to have your dream life show up and you aren't yet person enough to handle it!