Just be you

Just be you

September 20, 2021 0 By Rick

Stop trying to be someone else. Just be you. If you do an excellent job of being you, you’re well on your way to completing a Ph.D. (Personal Happiness Development). Of course, you’ve got to find out who you are first! Then, you’ve got to get to know yourself. Many people don’t know who they are. They spend a great deal of time trying to be other people (mentors, excluded, of course). One way to find out who you are is to list what you like and what you don’t like. Find your thing. Not everything can be your thing. Give yourself permission to say, “sorry, it’s not my thing.” Be self-aware enough to know what floats your boat. Just focus on being you. Take ownership of your own shit, and sort it out as best you can but be you.

I like me
Become one of your favorite people to hang out with. Learn to be alone and source your energy from it. When you’re alone, you can explore who you are and learn to like the company you’re keeping then. And learn to be nice to yourself. If you can’t like yourself, no one else will. Get emotional energy from doing shit that you love and are passionate about. What do you need to feel good today? You’re responsible for your own energy. Your energy introduces you before you do, so be aware of the energy you bring. Have you ever felt someone’s energy when they walk into a room before they speak? Energy is contagious. You owe it to yourself to strive to be excellent, but you can’t be excellent all time, of course. And when you can’t, be compassionate and kind to yourself. Use your self-talk to become your own friend. Be careful when you mistake a mistake or fail at something. It’s easy to go down the rabbit hole of self-pity and negativity and start to beat yourself up. Before you know it, that’s the narrative running in your head. 

You must be totally self-sufficient. Learn to push yourself, release yourself and relax. What do you need to be the best version of yourself? What do you need to be the kindest version of yourself? You don’t need other people to approve of you. You only need to approve yourself. Find your personal life hacks. What makes you calm when you’re anxious, happy when you’re sad, energizes you when you’re low, and lights your fire when you need it? You can read books about other people’s hacks, but you must find out what works for you. We are all really good at some things and really shit at others. We’ve been led to believe that it’s our job to get good at the stuff we’re not good at. You can if you want, of course. Just be you and get someone else to do the bits you’re shit at, if possible. 

Lose the fun factor
If you spend all your time working on the things you’re shit at, you’re going to lose the fun factor, which is doing the things you’re good at. You probably don’t think the stuff you’re shit at are fun, which might be why you’re shit at them. Be really hard on yourself and demand excellence about the stuff you’re good at (strive to improve and set high standards), and be really gentle and kind to yourself about the stuff you’re shit at. Hey, we’re all shit at something, and many of us are shit at a lot. Don’t develop a combination of ADHD and OCD where everything must be perfect but only for a short time and then you’re over it and have lost interest. Dream big but not so big that you paralyze yourself going forward. You’re either helping or hindering. Develop zero interest in hearing why things won’t work. Don’t be a professional people-pleaser. You have a choice. If asked to do something, it should be either a resounding “hell yes” or a resounding “hell no” – nothing in between. Saying no to things you don’t want or have to do is a blessing for the people who asked you and for you. Saying no at this stage keeps you from losing interest and running out of steam on their project, so it doesn’t get done. And it keeps you from feeling bad when you fail. Know enough about yourself to be honest and say, “I’m probably not going to see that through. It’s best if you get someone else.”

Chill when shit happens
Learn to say “I’m fine” even when things aren’t fine. When shit happens, tell yourself, “yes, it’s shit, and it happened” and then deal with it. There’s always an upside. I was managing an office in Jakarta, Indonesia, when I got blindsided by a short message from headquarters in London. It said, “let the staff go, sell the assets and close the office.” The next message told me that I was being downsized and expected to leave the company soon. That was a major OMG moment. I was in my early 50s would soon be with no job and nowhere to live as my apartment came with the job. As I was feeling really sorry for myself while being driven home by my chauffeur in an air-conditioned car, I notice a beggar on the side of the road with no arms or legs. He was perched on something that looked like a skateboard pleading for water, food and money. That snapped me out of my pity party immediately. We stopped and gave him some money. If you look around, you’ll always find people worse off than yourself. I love the Persian proverb, “I cursed the fact that I had no shoes until I met the man who had no feet.”

Birth and death
Birth and death are the hard ends of life. If you look at a tombstone, the dash between the date of birth and the date of death is a person’s life. Make your dash rich with joy. Get up every day and do stuff you love. Get up every day and be a good person. Get up every day and be really kind to yourself. Find something you’re really good at and do as much of it as you can. It’s not how good you are; it’s how you are good. Find your “big elephant.” Baby male elephants follow big elephants until they are old enough to leave the herd. I’ve been following various big elephants all my life. I hope I’ve been a big elephant for someone, i.e., a mentor. Who’s your big elephant? Who are you learning from? Who’s inspiring you?