The World's Best & Worst Advice...

A friend of mine called out the blue the other day and told me a bout a date he had just been on…It was a complete disaster.

He told me that he had done all the ‘right things’ but things still didn’t go as planned. He opened the taxi door for her, he paid for dinner, he laughed at her jokes and he agreed with most of what she said…Then, at the end of the night, he leaned in to kiss her good night and she pushed him away and said “Look, you’re a nice guy and all but I don’t really see you in this way” my friend then asked “why not?” and she said “Well, I don’t really know who you are…you’ve just agreed with me all night…you really should just be yourself.

You’ve heard it before right? Most people have at some stage in their lives…

You don’t have to be anyone just be yourself…

This is, in my opinion, the world’s most commonly used best and worst advice…and we’re not just talking about dating here...it crops in all walks of life. Socially, work life, in business, you name it, at some point or another we all buy into the illusion that we have to some way compromise our identity just to be deemed ‘good enough’ or worthy of ‘acceptance’ only to be met with the advice from a friend, co-worker or business colleague that you really should “just be yourself”.

As I look back in my own past this advice has particular relevance…

Up until the last few years I’ve always had this ‘thing’ where I felt I had to be like everyone else just to be worthy of acceptance…That somehow by being ‘different’ I would be pushed to the outside of the social circle and ostracized like some kind of social leper…

I guess it started in my own early socialisation years and actually had some relevance at this initial stage. Young kids do tend to have an incredibly low threshold for difference and it can often only take the subtlest of differences to be socially black listed…

So as a youngster I did what so many people do and continue to do into adult hood…I changed myself to fit in.

I’m not just talking about changing the odd behaviour here and there, I’m talking about changing nearly everything that felt natural to me. I pretty much compromised all that felt right about my identity just to be part of a group…

Does this sound familiar?

Now while this is obviously an extreme example, this notion that ‘I had to change who I was just to be deemed good enough’ stayed with me into adult hood in some shape or form…

It wasn’t until the last few years that I realised the irony of this mind set…

That in actual fact the opposite has always been closer to the truth…

That by feeling the need to change who you are just to be accepted generally strengthens the notion in the eyes of others that you aren’t good enough…

So the best advice is, of course, to just be yourself but why is it also the worst advice?

It’s also the worst advice because just giving it virtually never helps someone take it on board…

Because when you really get down to it the real issue isn’t that people aren’t being themselves, it’s that they have bought into the illusion that, by presenting themselves just the way they are, that in some way it won’t cut it.

For example, say you had a room in your house that was a complete and utter mess. I’m talking plates with 3 days old food and dirty washing strewn all over the place…

If you were having a dinner party would you have it in this one?

Course not…chances are you would shut the door and choose a nice clean and pretty room to have it in…

The reality is, though, that there is actual nothing wrong with the room…it’s a beautiful room…it’s just you can’t really see it because of all the distractions lying all over the place…

When it comes to being yourself around people the same is true. It’s not that you don’t want to be yourself, it’s that you’ve bought into the weird illusion that there is something there that isn’t worth showing…something that simply won’t cut it…so you take on this different persona, this strange social face like some stage actor or social chameleon…

So the trick is to not so much focus on ‘just being yourself’ but focus more on why just being yourself is more than good enough...

It really is fairly simple…The more you recognise how worthy and good enough you already are just being you, the more you will find yourself naturally showing the world who you really are…the stripped down, bare, raw version of you that is far more beautiful than you can ever realised.

For me the story of the painter and the sculpture tells it best…The painter turned round to the sculpture one day and asked, “how is it you can carve such beautiful statues out of big lumps of stone?” and the sculpture said ‘Well in actual fact I don’t…all I do is chip away at what doesn’t belong and chisel and refine what’s already there”

The same is true with your personality and the sooner you recognise this the sooner you’ll show it…there is something beautiful there that you haven’t been giving yourself complete credit for. It may have some rough edges that would be worthwhile to chisel and refine but it’s there none the less…

Now of course I’m not suggesting that, while you do this, you can’t be flexible.

You’re not going to get very far in life if you can’t change and adapt to different situations and people as you go along…

Behavioural flexibility is one of the keys to success in any walk of life. There is a huge difference, though, between altering your behaviour to achieve a particular result and compromising your beliefs, values and principles…

And there will of course be times where it’s useful to put on a social face or mask to play along with the many games of life for a short period of time…

This is inevitable…The problem occurs when we forget it’s a game and start believing it’s a requirement…

And finally I’m sure that, while for many people just knowing this advice will be enough, for others that little extra nudge is needed.

In the newly released ‘People’s Coach Guide to Social Confidence’ CD Kit you will find out how to tap into this beautiful, confident and attractive inner you. Through a combination of educational material and powerful eyes closed processes you will find yourself developing that deep sense of social confidence and becoming more socially skilled and attractive from the inside out.

To find out more visit The Guide To Social Confidence Cd Page.


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