It’s interesting when people say be yourself. That’s very passive and an easy advice to follow. You’re basically being told, don’t worry about what others think about you or how you treat others. Well, I agree and disagree.
Being yourself is fine if you are just going through the motion. When you become a gear in a machine, don’t you dare try to become something else, or else you will throw off the entire process.
Passive people are easy to control. By being satisfied with who you are, you won’t dare to ask the bigger questions nor indulge in critical thoughts about the direction of your life. You support the status quo by being yourself. Others don’t have to adapt to your growth. You prevent your friends from keeping up with the constant development of your overall personality.
One of the keys to living a meaningful life, is that we need to have our own individual goals for personal development. We need to see the type of person we want to become, and through books, guidance, constant practices and overcoming obstacles, we must individually strive to become the person of our own vision. I’m not talking about things such as new years resolution, although it is a well founded thought. I’m speaking of development goals that can only be achieved through the use of constant reflections of our habit and calculated changes in our behaviors.
To achieve this, I have a few simple advice:
First off, know thyself. It sounds simple but many of us go much into our adult lives without stopping to figure out this simple thing. In The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential John Maxwell says that knowing yourself is like reading “you are here” on a map when you want to find your way to a destination. List our your morals and values. Which way does your moral compass pass? And I’m not speaking of religious views, although, I’m not excluding those either, but try to list some values independent to religion. There are plenty of personality tests that can assist you along the way.
Secondly, imagine the type of person that you want to become in the next year, five years, twenty five years. What are the qualities and habits that you admire? Who are the people that exemplify these qualities? Who are the people that you look up to the most and why? How did they come to hold those values that are admired so dearly?
Thirdly, learn and begin to mold yourself. Invest in personal development; read books about habits. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business is a great book to start and Charles Duhigg also provides the readers with plenty of exercises and guidance. I guarantee you that anything you want to do, any habits or characteristics that you want to embody, there are books, videos, speeches, recordings of seminars and plenty of other resources to guide you along the way. If you don’t enjoy reading, listen to audiobooks. Read autobiographies of people whom you admire and understand their journey.
Fourthly, Practice. Once you have found your inspiration and have an idea of the characteristic that you want to exemplify, start practicing. Make it a habit to implement new ideas into your daily life. Sure, you may stumble today, or even make a fool of yourself in front of others a few times, but remember, no one great started out great. Everyone has traveled through a brutal road of failure, regrets, and disappointments. Without this journey of personal growth, we can never be sculpted into a masterpiece. For it is the journey that defines a man and his character.
So the moral of this story, live your life and be yourself. However, just like everything in this universe is in a constant state of flux, be at a constant state of change also; by today, being one step closer to your desire than you were yesterday.