We wish we could be ourselves, but most of us find it too intimidating. We respect others who walk their own path, yet we prefer the safe path that the majority of people are taking. You might think you’re better off putting on an act, but you’re not. In fact, being yourself is one of the most important things you can do in life. Not in a cheesy, Hallmark, you’re a unique snowflake kind of way. No, I mean in a very real way, you are much better off being yourself and I’ll tell you why.
1) It’s Your Only Guarantee to Be the Best at Something
There are few guarantees in life and success is not one of them.
Being the best at something is certainly not guaranteed. Or is it?
While it may be nearly impossible to be the best at a particular skill, there is one thing that you are absolutely guaranteed to be the best at – being you.
No One Else Can Be You
You are the only you. No one can be better at being you than you. Even the best imitator is limited to always being one step behind. They can’t copy your next move until you make your next move first.
Yeah yeah, that sounds nice and all but let’s be realistic.
Well what would you rather do, be someone else?
Everyone Else is Already Taken
You can’t be anyone else, they are already taken.
We can’t help the family or situation we are born into. We can’t change the hand we were dealt. We all have to come to terms with that eventually.
If you’re born poor you have to bust your ass to get out of poverty. If you’re born rich you have to bust your ass to prove that you didn’t need the wealth to make it. Everyone has to overcome something.
Just let go of the thought of trying to be someone else, you’ll be doing yourself a favor. The best case scenario is that you’ll be in position to be one step behind.
Do you want to take your chances that you might someday be one step behind the person you want to be? Or would you rather be guaranteed to always be one step ahead of your toughest competitor while effortlessly being yourself?
2) It’s the #1 Regret of the Dying
Recently I published an article about getting what you want out of life. I referenced a book that compiled survey data from thousands of dying hospital patients and their regrets from life. The #1 regret of the dying is:
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
So we have very clear evidence that being ourselves is important.
It doesn’t matter what the regret is, if the OVERWHELMING majority of people who have gone through all of the major life cycles give a single answer as their #1 regret – we need to pay attention.
Advice from the elderly is like having strategy guide for life. You don’t have to follow it exactly, but you should at least skim through it if you get the chance.
I would argue that many people already have this regret. You might regret that you haven’t been true to yourself since graduating college or maybe even since graduating high school. Even worse, you might be 25 and regret that you’ve never truly been yourself.
Do you think that regret will just eventually go away? Or do you think it will grow and grow and eat at you slowly until you die? I’m leaning towards the latter, but that’s just my opinion.
It’s important to always look at the big picture. Not having that regret is reason enough to be yourself.
3) Warm Fuzzy Feelings
Being yourself feels good. Putting on an act takes a lot of effort and wastes valuable time.
Find Your Destiny
People love to throw around the word destiny. We say things like:
- I guess I’m just destined to work in a cubicle my whole life
- I was never destined to be successful
- He/she was destined to be better than me
What is destiny anyways? Destiny sounds a lot like destination. If you’re trying to find your destination, don’t you think it would help if you followed your path.
You need to look at what’s unique about you to find your unique destiny.
Live With Purpose
Look at what talents, skills, characteristics and experience set you apart. By simply living this long, you’ve been working towards you destiny.
Living a life of purpose comes after living a life on purpose.
Pull out a piece of paper right now and write down:
- What you like
- What you’re good at
Focus on the things that fit those two criteria. If you don’t have anything that fits both, then focus on something you like that you know you can get better at.
You’ll never find purpose wandering through the world aimlessly. The world is already giving you hints of what your purpose is. These hints come in the form of a skill that you are great at, maybe a circumstance you overcame or a cause you are passionate about.
You don’t find your purpose, your purpose finds you. You find your talents and gifts and choose to follow those hints on purpose.
Some might think that Steve Jobs was destined to revolutionize the music industry or that his purpose was to change the course of mobile technology.
He didn’t set out to do either of those. He liked computers and he was a good engineer. He took action and formed an engineering club as a kid and purposely moved forward to create computers for people to use in their home.
Really, he wasn’t that great of an engineer. His expertise was design. However, he would’ve never known that if he didn’t focus on his initial skill and interest – engineering and building computers.
Follow the hints the world is giving you.
If you get compliments on a particular skill a lot, make note of that. If all of your friends go to you for advice about a particular subject, make note of that. Those things might not be the final answer, but they will lead you to the final answer.
You won’t find your purpose by looking for it and especially not by waiting for it. You have to live a life on purpose before you figure out how to live a life of purpose.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
4) More Respect in the Long Run
Ahh, the irony. We respect those who walk their own path the most, yet we put on an act because we fear what people think of us.
We respect others who stay true to themselves, yet we live a life others want for us to gain their respect.
It makes sense though.
Let’s say you you’re an accountant but you really have a passion for building cars. It’s a lot safer to be an accountant. Even if you suck at your job, who cares right? You aren’t passionate about accounting so if someone puts down your ability as an accountant it isn’t that offensive.
What if you stay true to yourself, follow your passion and ultimately fail? That stings all the way to the soul.
Quite frankly, that’s a very real possibility.
We all fail at some point. Unfortunately, some people fail at the important things. Even more unfortunate is, that person could be you.
However, deep down, we all know that if we are true to ourselves that life will work out eventually. It’s either take the risk with an upside of happiness and fulfillment or play it safe and guarantee mediocrity and boredom.
Who would you respect more, the person brave enough to be themselves or the coward who puts on an act?
We all want to be respected. That’s why we put the act on right? To ensure people like us. What’s respectable about that? Sure they might be nice to your face, but no one really respects someone who can’t be themselves.
All of the reasons we choose to not be ourselves are the exact reasons why we should be ourselves. Yes it’s difficult, but it’s difficult for everyone. If you want life to be easy then you can follow the path of all the other weaklings who couldn’t tough it out. However, if you want to die without the #1 regret most people have, you will face a few obstacles.
So why do I choose to follow my own path, personally?
I want to give my future grandkids a strategy guide to life filled with what to do instead of what not to do.
Until Next Time,
What do you think? Do you agree, disagree or have any thoughts to add? Let me know in the comments below.
Never miss out on new posts like this by subscribing to my newsletter!