Who Am I?

December 30, 2022

Sometimes people ask me, “Who are you?” That's a very difficult question to answer. More than one philosopher said it, that the most difficult thing in life is to know yourself. So, who am I? I could be defined by what I do, my history, my education, my beliefs . . . but I choose to define who I am by my purpose in life. 

So, why am I here on Earth? When I think about it, I feel that my purpose in life is to learn and to teach—to learn and know more and deeper—and then to share what I have learned. And learning not just from books or listening to lectures. Learning from life, observing, and asking myself and whoever will listen, questions. That is how I add value and justify my existence on earth. And this is driven by the fact that I have experienced a lot of change in my life: surviving the Holocaust, living in different countries, observing different cultures, learning different languages, and experiencing different religions.

I have experienced being Muslim during the Second World War trying to survive, as well as being Catholic for a month coming to the USA, but I'm Jewish. I tell the story of my life in my memoir, The Accordion Player, which you are invited to read. The change that I have experienced in my life has helped me to realize that enlightenment is not a destination, but rather, it's a process of continuously learning, of continuously discovering —by being continuously exposed to change. And learning is a bottomless barrel. As Aristotle said, the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know.

On one hand, it is exciting to want to learn, but on the other hand, it is painful to realize that life is short, and much will be left unanswered.

I write what I think in my blogs, and in my books, and I accept being a subject of criticism. We live in a world of everything must be proven and scientifically tested before any claim can be made. No space to just freely postulate, ask questions and make an untested hypothesis. But that is exactly what I like to do to think and let others prove me wrong or right.

I decided I write my books as a periodic report on what I think. I do not focus on who will read what I write. I try to make my writing as clear as possible, for myself. To clarify for me what it is that I think.

Yes, I am a family man with six children and seven grandchildren. Yes, I am a good friend too, one that cares, but if I am asked what my core is, what I exist for is to learn and teach. And I do not like to stop there. I like to see what I teach works. Be used. Be tested and applied and thus be alive.

Thus, I started the first program in the world at the beginning of 1970, a master's program in arts administration, training administrative directors of philharmonic orchestras, ballets, and opera.  Next what I have learned about how to manage change successfully has been documented in my twenty-eight books and in over twenty manuals and a degree-granting institution has given seven doctorates in what I have developed which is identified as organizational therapy.

My next goal in life is to build a “medical school for organizational therapy". Clinics that apply what is known as the Adizes Methodology for organizational transformation already exist in different countries called Adizes Institute Worldwide.  So, the methodology of healing organizations has been developed, tested, and documented in books and manuals.

Now we are ready to open the school to the world and teach whoever is qualified to practice organizational therapy to make a better world.

That is who I am.

Written by
Dr. Ichak Adizes