As a millennial, I’ve spent all my life growing up hearing the same rhetoric from my family, my teachers, and countless Saturday morning cartoons. It’s a message to boost morale. A message that promises bliss.
The message is, “Always be yourself.” If you’ve heard the same thing, I want to tell you to stop it.
Stop being yourself.
There are so many people on this planet that don’t know who they are or who they want to be. How is one to be themselves if they don’t even know who they are?
People say, “Just be yourself,” like any outcome of acting on impulses is going to magically turn out great.
What if who you are isn’t a good thing?
“Wait,” you might say, “I’m not a bad person.” Hey, you probably are a good person. That’s great. Good for you. But who cares? Is simply being a good person going to set you up for success in your own life? Is simply being a good person going to better the lives of others?
Don’t justify the negative
Even since I took my first personality test as a form of middle school career coaching, I’ve grown a love hate relationship with them. I’ve taken more than I can count since then, including popular ones like the DISC assessment, Meyers-Briggs, and Strength Finders.
My positive view on personality tests comes from getting a better understanding of myself that I didn’t have before. The things I naturally do well, how I’m likely to interact with others, or the manner in which perform tasks in different aspects of my life. This is great information because it allows me to continue to strengthen those areas of my life.
However, there’s a bitter, resenting feeling I have towards personality tests, and it stems from talking to others who have taken the same tests.
So many times I’ve heard the phrase, “So that’s why I do
Can we really be so naive in thinking we have it all figured out, and in thinking that the path we’ve chosen is automatically correct simply because we are on it? I can’t let negative qualities be prominent in my life just because, “That’s just the way I am.”
I can choose to be just the way I am, and continue to allow those same negative traits to produce the same negative results that they have up until they were revealed to me through a personality test, or I can stop being myself. I can choose to take that information and learn to develop into someone who is better than who I am today.
Positives Don’t Justify Mediocrity
But what about having dreams and goals, not being a bad person, and all the other participation ribbons of life?
Don’t get me wrong, those things are great. I’m sure your mom is proud of you, and your BFF, like, totally always has your back and stuff.
But being a good person isn’t a good end to life, it’s only a good a start. And pretending to be someone better than yourself isn’t going to cut it. You actually have to be that better person.
If you want to get your dream job, being yourself isn’t going to cut it if you’re not the type of person employers want to hire.
If you want to get a pretty girl to like you, being yourself could stand in the way if you aren’t the type of person girls enjoy hanging out with.
If you want to get guys to stay in a long term relationship with you, being yourself isn’t going to help if you don’t understand the principles of having a healthy relationship.
If you don’t know what your purpose in life is, being yourself isn’t going to help if you spend your evenings and weekends playing video games or re-watching the Game of Thrones series for the fifth time.
Are you seeing where I’m coming from, here?
If we don’t change our actions, we won’t change our outcomes.
If you don’t know how to do something, that’s Okay. Nobody pops out of the womb understanding job skills and healthy relationships. Nobody suddenly knows what impact they want to leave on this world when they get their first baby tooth.
Ignorance, however, is no excuse for a lack of performance. Especially in the world we live in today, with an unprecedented wealth of knowledge we have in our pockets and at our finger tips.
So why do we stay in a place of complacency? Because change is hard. Venturing into the unknown can be scary in its unfamiliarity. When you stop being yourself, it isn’t easy. We’re often pulled back into the habits that solicit convenience. Changing ourselves and changing the world around is rarely convenient.
We all have strengths, and things that come more naturally to us than to others. We can all find positive things in who we are. At the end of the day, we ca do more than just having positivity and being a good person.
Imagine the good that can come when we step out of our bubble and begin to make a difference in helping those around us. What if we started meeting the needs of more than just ourselves?
Decide to be great
Being better than who we are today comes down to making the decision to start changing our actions and educating ourselves on becoming who we want to be. The key is making the choice.
So many times we want things that we feel are unobtainable because of different situations we are in, a lack of privileges handed to us, or one of many other excuses and lies we tell ourselves.
To that, I say, “Stop being yourself.” Become the person you need to be to turn those dreams into goals, and those goals into reality.