We all have many labels, whether we realize that or not. Some are given, others are chosen, but they all have the power to change our perception of the world.

Right now, I am labeled a husband, son, and Christian—and that's just the start of the list. All these labels are true, but some have more power than others.


Have you ever had a friend who had a little trouble focusing, and was quick to claim “I'm ADD!” whenever someone noticed?

I have.

In fact, I've done pretty much the same.

I've always been a bit detail-oriented and tidy. Sometimes, that strikes people as odd. Eventually, I claimed “I'm OCD!” as a reflex to strange looks or questions.

No, I don't struggle with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, but I embraced the label quickly.

Why? The same reasons people claim ADD as their own, who have never been diagnosed.

There's a comfort to knowing one's identity in the world and using that to relate to others.

[Tweet “Embrace a label long enough, and it quickly comes to be true.”]

The Choice

The labels that define us begin to shape how we think and act. They transform our self-image and give us identity within the world.

We can use that power for good.

You and I have a choice when it comes to the labels we use.

Many people embrace negative labels, in the hopes that they'll feel understood. You can choose to embrace a positive label, with the faith it will push you to grow.

Labels are often given, but they can be chosen too.

Ask yourself, who would you like to be? And embrace that label as your own.

I am a writer, and I am an entrepreneur. Those are the labels I've chosen. I am that and so much more, but I finally know who I am.

Now it's your turn, get clear on who you are.

What label do you choose?


John Meese is the author of the #1 bestseller Survive and Thrive: How to Build a Profitable Business in Any Economy (Including This One). An entrepreneur himself, John is on a mission to eradicate generational poverty by equipping entrepreneurs with the tools and training they need to build thriving businesses from scratch. He is the CEO of Cowork Inc, co-founder of Notable, and regularly publishes interviews and insight at JohnMeese.com.

4 thoughts on “The Double-Edged Sword Of Label Self-Diagnosis

  1. I tend to label myself both negative and positive as well. I’m a runner, a cyclist, a speaker, an auditor and educator, a great cook, a good mom and yet I get discouraged during sports and say “I’m just slow!” or “I’m always last”. I’ll think about how to change those slow and last labels!!

    1. I think all of us have a mix of those positive and negative labels, the trick is to weed out those negative ones and morph them into something more empowering! Great job starting that process, Susan 😉

  2. Hi John! I enjoy your emails and blog. I would ask that you refrain from using anything that ends in “tard” (such as “glutard” and “glutarded”). It is highly offensive to parents of Fragile X or Autism kids. You’re welcome to delete this if it seems off-topic (it may) but I just want to ask you to consider removing anything ending in “tard” from your vocabulary for future emails. I will comment separately on what label I choose for myself. Thanks 🙂 Susan R

    1. Thank you for saying something, Susan, and I’m sorry my choice of words offended you! I only meant the term “glutard” to be playful, because I’m gluten-free and allergic to so much more. I’ll alter my language in the post—and in future posts—per your request.

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