What if being yourself is not enough?

If being yourself is not enough to go where you wanna go in life, what do you do about it?It’s funny how the entire world of self-help and self-development continually echoes with ideas of just “being yourself”, and how “you’re perfect the way you are”, and “if they don’t like it, that’s just their problem”. Not only because these ideas seem to downright contradict the entire concept of developing oneself. But what if, genuinely, being yourself is not enough to go where you wanna go in life?

“Be yourself” is probably one of the biggest mantras in this post-modern society of ours. We’re more concerned with personal purpose and self-determination than ever.

And sure, if you ask me, I wouldn’t want it any other way, either. Why would I spend half my waking life slaving in a cubicle for some Armani-wearing dipshit who doesn’t know my name and couldn’t care less if it was me or someone else punching in those numbers, right?

But the problem is, in all our praise of individuality, we forget that our personalities aren’t fixed. You might be familiar with psychology professor Carol Dweck’s theories about how having a ‘fixed’ mindset — as opposed to a ‘growth’ mindset — is detrimental to our growth as human beings.

See, unlike other species, we can intentionally improve ourselves. And in some areas of our lives, it’s crucial that we do it.

Take me, for example. To become a successful entrepreneur, I’ve had to change from someone who slept ’till past 9 A.M.  most mornings, partied at least twice every weekend and just plain dicked around with no direction… To someone who wakes up at 6 P.M. every day, exercises every other day, detoxes for weeks on end and works from morning ’till evening.

Had I kept listening to whoever was parroting “just be yourself”, I would’ve settled.

If you don’t act a little out of character, how will you ever expand your comfort zone? If you’re shy and introvert, but you genuinely wanna be able to confidently interact with other people, are you gonna settle for simply “being yourself”?

I hope not.

No matter how this sounds, we need to acknowledge that in by far most cases, being yourself is not enough if we need to evolve ourselves to reach our goals.

(And really, name me one worthwhile goal for which one would not need to evolve oneself just a little.)

And yes, of course, we should all feel confident and love ourselves. But I’m sure every insensitive, narcissistic megalomaniac out there feels confident and loves themselves, too. And in the case of one such person, I’m sure the rest of us can agree that simply being yourself is not enough if you want the rest of the world to remember you positively.

(Picture is totally unrelated.)

And here’s another thing:

People change.

Not necessarily by intention. Not necessarily even by themselves. But over time, things tend to change. We grow up. We get tired of certain things, and we start feeling like trying other things. New people enter our lives; others leave. Some by simply dying; others by growing apart from us. Oh, and our bodies change.

Indeed, everything changes. And this affects us. What we want today might not be what we want tomorrow. And that’s okay.

Essentially, “being yourself” is an illusion. It is estimated that 40-60% of our personalities can be ascribed to biology. This means a hugely significant portion of who we are is not only subject to change, but also within our means of changing.

In the words of best-selling author and professor of management and psychology Adam Grant, “unless you’re Oprah, ‘be yourself’ is terrible advice”.

Let’s evolve!

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Wait for it… — On the virtue of patience

How do you expect to succeed at anything if you haven't got the patience?Building confidence takes patience. — In that it takes years.

Some people attract confidence naturally. But, unfairly as the world works, not everyone does.

If life’s truly got you down, turning it around is one of the bigger projects you’ll ever undergo. And even with a fairly normal life, rising above the average and becoming extraordinarily successful will also take years.

Trust me.

This is one of the major reasons that people get stuck in unsatisfying lives: We often end up settling for certain conditions because we think they’re inevitable. This can be because we’ve endured them for a certain period, and/or because we find ourselves coming back to them.

It’s all due to a lack of one little term, which means a world of difference between those who succeed and those who don’t…:

PATIENCE.

When someone settles for less, there’s necessarily a bi-sensation of giving up. And even though this might feel nice, it only does so because it’s comfortable. And, more often than not, comfort is what keeps us from getting where we want to be.

How many times have you planned to get up early only to snooze within the first millisecond of the alarm clock?

How many times have you wanted to lose weight only to keep gorging on junk food several times a week?

I could go on, but you get the point.

We settle for things by allowing them to happen. And by not being sufficiently patient we give way for allowing something to happen which we might end up settling for, even though initially we wouldn’t necessarily want to.

This is especially true for people of low confidence. When we’re not confident, we think unrealistically less of our abilities, therefore often not putting in the necessary work to succeed in whatever our pursuit, thereby getting used to failing.

And, in turn, we end up thinking of not only ourselves, but of everything we do, as a failure. — Which, in a classic example of downward spiralling, affects our patience negatively.

However, if one has enough patience to succeed, guess how that affects our confidence — and our patience? Yes, exactly.

Patience is crucial. Not only to succeed in any endeavours, but to a basic, good life. Think about it: If you want to achieve ANYHING worthwhile, how are you gonna do it if you deem failure in the midst of the process only because you get impatient??

I don’t want this for you. I don’t want any of you to settle for less than you truly want. Allow yourself to slowly build the patience of a saint, and you will be able to reap whatever tremendous benefits you want.

ACTION ITEM:

For 24 hours, turn off your phone, don’t go online, and don’t watch any TV or listen to any radio.

Why? Because we’ve gotten so used to these everyday distractions that our attention span, and, hence, our patience, suffers drastically. The longer you’re able to abstain from these kinds of instant gratification-kinda stimuli, the better your patience will be.

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