“I know of nothing more valuable, when it comes to the all-important virtue of authenticity, than simply being who you are.”
What Does It Mean To Be Authentic
Picture this scenario, you’re about to go for your first job interview and you ask your mother what to say and she goes “Just be yourself!”. Ever heard this piece of advice before? “Just be yourself and they’ll love you!”. That’s easy for you to say when your not in a room full of people interrogating and judging you!
What she actually means is be your authentic self – be the best self that you can be. But what does it mean to be authentic? Lets over analyze this situation quick. Let’s say you go for your interview and as soon as you walk into that room, you realize you forgot your resume print outs, you forgot your notepad and you came with only yourself. Not only that but you expect to see one person but instead, there are three big, grown men in suits staring into your soul. Is this your authentic self? This nervous wreck that can’t seem to control his bladder?
Now this is an extremely important distinction. I want you to actually imagine yourself in the above scenario. Let’s say you completely bombed the interview. They expected you to come with your resumes, every single question you got wrong, and then you wet your pants in the end. So the interview went great! (just kidding) Let’s also say the next three interviews after went similarly terrible. So are you just bad at interviews? You’re trying your best. Why do I suck at interviews? Be careful how you answer this last question because the worst conclusion your brain can come up with is
It’s Just Not Me
The It’s just not be mindset is absolutely the worst thing you can do to yourself. Essentially what you’re doing is you’re cutting off every possibility of you getting good at that craft. This is you giving up, throwing in the towel and just saying “it’s not me” and then stop working on yourself in that area. The biggest obstacle in finding your authentic self and in self-development, in general, is that people believe their past defines who they are. It doesn’t. In fact, your past doesn’t even exist, only the present truly exists if you think about it. It’s only when you allow your past to define you is when you start moving away from your authentic self. Here are just a few examples of this mindset in action:
- I’ve never owned a business before. “That’s not me”
- I’ve always been shy, I can’t talk to girls. “That’s not me”
- I’ve never played sports before. “That’s not me”
- I’ve never acted before. “That’s not me”
- I wet my pants on my first interview. “That’s not me”
If you come up with this “That’s not me” mentality in any area of your life this keeps you from improving that area of your life. It stops you from googling “How to overcome social anxiety.” or “How to get good at interviews”. It stops you from seeking help and ultimately it stops you from improving yourself. The authentic self is that person who has expanded all areas of his or her life despite failure and being uncomfortable.
It’s Not Me Yet
Instead of cutting off every possibility of you getting good view it as “Maybe I’m not very good at this right now. How can I improve?” You see, not only is this path more useful it’s also much harder. It’s hard to see your own flaws and it’s hard to improve on these flaws because you will inevitably face failure until you get good. That’s why the “That’s not me” mentality is so popular. Nobody wants to take the hard road. If you are constantly living by this ideal. If you are constantly looking for your flaws and working on them you will be on the path to your authentic self. The self that is much happier, much more fulfilled and is much more successful in life.
I always live by the mantra of “What one man can do another can do”. We are all destined for great things so long as we don’t stray from our path.
Have a great day!