"Just be Yourself And You'll Be Successful" is Horrible Advice. Here's Why
You've heard it before, this piece of advice and tempting promise:
"Just be yourself and you'll be successful. Do what you love and you shall be rich."
On some level you believe it. You definitely want it to be true. Honestly, it really does sound good. I think so too. But then again, it sounds a little too good to be true, and when you look around you see a lot of evidence to the contrary. You see people living their lives, doing what they feel like, and they're still broke, confused and overwhelmed. Not successful by any standards. Even though some of them are amazingly talented and very hard workers.
This breaks my heart.
So what is so wrong with 'Just being yourself'? So glad that you asked!
First, let's start with the obvious.
This isn't even giving you much of a direction at all. I ask you: Who is this ominous creature called 'just yourself'?
In my experience, whenever I ask somebody this question, people go into drunken sailor mode. Uh, well... that um, ... yeah.
Go ahead, try it for yourself. And while we are completely honest - I don't even know how to answer that question to satisfaction. Of course there are things that I know. I have preferences, talents, hopes and dreams. But I also know that there is more to me.
The thing is, who you (and I!) are today is actually the result of a whole lotta learned behavior. Much of this happened by coincidence. And it's not to your benefit.
So what you'd rather want is to BECOME more of yourself - by digging, uncovering, unlearning, experimenting, expressing and creating.
And you should. This is the greatest adventure you could have in your life, figuring out who you are. I for sure am on this journey.
I have the suspicion that the main reason for people to hang onto this piece of advice is because it's so easy to take it as an excuse to not make clear decisions, and avoid some of the work that's necessary.
But this is not even my main point. There's a much bigger reason to kiss this piece of well meant advice good bye for good.
Come back in a few days for part 2 of this little series. I know life gets busy, so make sure to leave your email below and I'll email you a gentle reminder once it's out.