Looks Like You’re Trying To Be Someone You’re Not
August 1, 2013
2013 is a weird time to be alive. We’re more connected than ever, more aware of what others are doing with their lives than at any other point in history. The rise of social media and its integration into our daily lives make it so. We act as if there’s no escape. Perhaps there isn’t.
Everywhere I turn in life I see confused people. People acting less and less like their true selves and more like other people whose lives they desperately crave. Facebook, its showcasing and highlighting of people’s lives, every minute detail, make it difficult not to compare and envy others.
For the most part of my life I’ve been living as if I’m someone else. I see something they have that I want and I put up a veneer that closely resembles that of the other person. I feel that it’s going to serve me. No matter how material the want is. No matter how pointless the desire.
The reason being? I’ve barely taken the chance to really enquire of myself. Never much attempted to block out the noise of others and concentrate inward. Not once taken real time out and asked myself what it is exactly that makes me tick.
Yet there is time for all of us to figure that integral stuff out. And it’s important to do so. Otherwise it’s back to living in somebody’s shadow relentlessly for the rest of your life.
A good dose of self-analysis is what you need. Figure out why you’re the shit and what you have to give. Stop trying to be someone you’re not.
The Pursuit of Happyness
The reason why I think people are so lost (myself included) is because we’re all too willing to ask questions of others. For us the other person is fascinating. How did they do what they did? Achieve what they managed? Lived a life quite like that?
We listen to podcast after podcast, read book after book and go to networking event after networking event, always looking outward. Looking for answers from others. Someone to handle us the golden egg that is our life purpose. “Your life? Here’s what you gotta do punk.”
It’s a bit like Will Smith’s character in the film The Pursuit of Happyness. The first step is finding the path. When he does that by asking the slick stockbroker how he got his sports car, he soon discovers there’s still a shit ton of work left to do if he’s to follow suit.
You ask one question, you get one answer. You run the fuck with it.
The reason Will Smith’s character got there? He didn’t sit around seeking any more validation than that.
Asking more questions. Trying to confirm what you’ve already figured out for yourself. Emulating the other persons success so closely that you choke yourself of your own creativity. All that is only going to delay failure.
Don’t carve your life in the image of the big guy. Copying his manner, diction and dress. Thinking that you’ll get where you want to be, with the things you want to have, if you act just a little bit more like them.
Sure. It’s good enough to go down the same path. Just chill. The journey is always different. And because of that you don’t need to spend your life trying to look like somebody else.
You’ll fail regardless. Your own unique circumstances make it so. And besides you have enough in your own armoury to get the success that’s right for you without needing to mould yourself in the shape of anybody else.
Your Life’s Pursuit
Pursuit and how to live a life should be an imperative point of study. The fact that people don’t spend enough time focused on it is the sole reason they emulate others and thus become miserable.
It’s something I’ve dedicated an an unholy amount of mental energy to of late. As I want to leave a footprint that is bigger than myself and simply the things I did, bought or owned, I’ve realised I need to change my frame of reference. Make that reference solely myself.
Helping to justify people of their own material desires (and the amount of lifestyle advocates I see out there telling people to live life on their own terms) seems to miss the point. The point is to make people more mindful of shit that counts. Things of real importance. Community and shared experience. The truth within themselves.
The amount of people I see jumping on the quit-my-job-gonna-be-an-entrepreneur bandwagon is alarming. It’s like a whole swathe of the western population has become internalised and unsympathetic to concerns outside of themselves. I myself was one of those people. And I’m still trying to come to terms with it now.
For me it was born out of the fact that I never really investigated myself enough. I just leapt from one “tribe” to another, too impatient or too weak to ever fully hold up the mirror in a way that was mature or sensible.
Yet lately, finding myself at a precipice and tired of all I’ve gained thus far, I’ve started to recognise the necessity in doing so. If I’m to remain sane at least.
Everything I wanted to do in terms of becoming a “digital nomad”? I’ve done.
I built a business capable of taking me anywhere. I learned a lot about money and how little impact it has on your your actual wellbeing. I found that I actually like work and enjoy a grinding challenge.
Yet none of it was ever truly me. It was just lessons I ascertained through trying to be somebody else. Someone I once considered cool. Perhaps by default because so many other people found them cool too.
Had I invested in discovering my true self, spent dollar on taking personality tests? A Myers-Briggs here, a petal exercise there? Perhaps I’d be further down the line to something more fulfilling now.
Alas, I blindly jumped around. Emulating others because of the adulation they received. Thinking their level of success would automatically be the type that would fulfil me similarly.
Of course none of it worked.
Take Back Control
Today that habit is changing however. These days I’m beginning to explore my nature and work toward uncovering my true goals on a near daily-basis.
Luckily for me there are a number of good resources out there in the world that can help. And although they are buried under hundreds of “find-your-passion” or “look-how-fucking-great-my-life-is-don’t-you-want-it-to?” websites, they still shine out when you find them.
One of my favourite reads is my friend Alex Heyne’s site The Milk Pigeon. Not only does his writing consistently force his readership to ask themselves meaningful and ethical questions of their wants and desires but it also delivers a ton of actionable advice as to how to go about shaping your life too.
His article, entitled The 5 Most Useful Tools for Finding Work in Your Life, has been a super useful resource for helping with my own self-discovery. Just following a few of the steps proposed is already causing a great amount of traction.
I’ve been looking at past job and life experiences and asking myself what left me dissatisfied about them. I’ve been writing stories about myself in order to figure out what transformable skills I enjoy using. I’ve been thinking about my life philosophy and much less about the goals and achievements of others.
As a result?
I feel like I’m getting closer to uncovering what kind of person I really am. What kind of things I’m truly motivated to do. What things I’d rather give than take.
And I’m looking a lot less as if I’m trying to be somebody else in the process.
Perhaps it’s time you made a similar start.