All You Have to Do is to be You…or Not

It is true that not everyone is comfortable with being themselves. It is also true that there is no need to be guilty of just who you are.

Social media is filled with sayings that will talk about the need to be Yourself in the name of authenticity. Some of these sayings are very cute too.

One such saying from Oscar Wilde goes like this –

Be yourself because everyone else is taken.

At the outset, it is an insightful saying. Really, there is nothing wrong with it. It is witty to the core but it is the truth. It’s hard to argue against it because honestly, how can any person be someone other than who they are???

The Deadly Combination

Over the years, I have seen this kind of advice being used to trigger the deadly combination of convenience and complacency. You can explain away literally any outcome in your life by stating – “that’s just me, that’s the way I am.” You can by a klutz or late for meetings or just plain irresponsible but you can explain all that away by saying, “that’s just me…”

However insightful any saying is, people are smart enough to use it for their convenience and many times using it as a crutch to trigger complacency.

If “being yourself” is a convenient trigger to your complacency, you are in trouble | Tweet this

Nobody, except you can decide to do anything different from what you are already doing – it is always a choice. However, by stubbornly wanting to be “just yourself” because everyone everybody else is taken is not the way to go because there is one person that’s not taken yet.

The One That’s Not Taken

The one person that’s not taken yet is a Better You. It is not a luxury anymore to work towards a better you but it’s something of a requirement. It might not have been a “requirement” three decades ago as the rate of external change was small compared to what it is today. Today, you need to be running to just to stay where you are. You can never catch up with someone “who is growing everyday” by “just being who are you are today” The delta between you and one of your peers who is investing in themselves will be super small on a day-to-day basis but over a span of ten years that delta will grow to the size of Grand Canyon at the least. If you wake up at that time, it will be too late to do anything.

What can you do starting now?


So, we agree that “A Better You” is someone that’s not taken yet and it’s a good path to be on. What can you do today to start on that path?

The list of how you can be a better you will fill many volumes of self-help books as you can imagine.

Let’s start with three things:

1. Watch what you consume:

You are all familiar with the old geek term – GIGO (garbage-in, garbage-out) but it’s super easy to forget as you may literally have no time to reflect on what you are consuming. My theory is that you should be open to everything but extremely careful where you will continue to invest your mind share. Why? Because it is not good to shut off without knowing what you are shutting off. But it is not worth continuing to engage with anything unless that will lead to being a better YOU in the long-term.

2. Watch what projects you are engaged with:

The biggest chunk of your mind share gets invested in the projects that you are engaged in. If the projects are too easy, then the warning bells should ring right away. Any project that’s mundane will never help you grow. Easy pickings today is a recipe for tomorrow’s disaster. The path of least growth is a shortcut

David Burwen, fellow member of the Band of Angels stated it brilliantly when he was sharing with us a single line strategy for all professionals – “When deciding among opportunities, always choose the most difficult path.” (A Buddhist Quote)

Your current projects are your playgrounds where you build future capacity. Choose them wisely | Tweet This

3. Watch what conversations you are engaged with:

Every conversation counts in ways that you cannot even imagine. A casual conversation in an airplane with your next seat mate may have the power to change the trajectory of the rest of your life. If you bring all you have got into everyone of your conversation AND if you choose to make it a habit to create an impact, the world will notice it sooner than later. It takes some practice but learning to be instantly immersed completely in the current context will yield amazing results.

Until you reach a level where your unconscious competence is awesome, it is best for you to craft your conversations to move the needle. It starts with your intent – you should WANT to make your conversations matter. Do it for your own reasons as that intent will drive and stretch your imagination to contribute and in the process, your own growth is guaranteed.

Your output (life journey) can never be independent of your inputs (choices and actions) | Tweet This