Truly happy and successful people get that way by becoming the best, most genuine version of themselves they can be. Not on the outside--on the inside. It's not about a brand, a reputation, a persona. It's about reality. Who you really are.
Sounds simple, I know. It is a simple concept. The problem is, it's very hard to do, it takes a lot of work, and it can take a lifetime to figure it out.
Nothing worth doing in life is ever easy. If you want to do great work, it's going to take a lot of hard work to do it. And you're going to have to break out of your comfort zone and take some chances that will scare the crap out of you.
But you know, I can't think of a better way to spend your life. I mean, what's life for if not finding yourself and trying to become the best, most genuine version of you that you can be?
That's what Steve Jobs meant when he said this at a Stanford University commencement speech:
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice.
You have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something--your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle.
Now, let's for a moment be realistic about this. Insightful as that advice may be, it sounds a little too amorphous and challenging to resonate with today's quick-fix culture. These days, if you can't tell people exactly what to do and how to do it, it falls on deaf ears.
Not only that, but what Jobs was talking about, what I'm talking about, requires focus and discipline, two things that are very hard to come by these days. Why? Because, focus and discipline are hard. It's so much easier to give in to distraction and instant gratification. Easy and addictive.
To give you a little incentive to take on the challenge, to embark on the road to self-discovery, here are three huge benefits from working to become the best, most genuine version of yourself.
It will make you happy. Getting to know yourself will make you feel more comfortable in your own skin. It will reduce your stress and anxiety. It will make you a better spouse, a better parent, a better friend. It will make you a better person. Those are all pretty good reasons, if you ask me.
Besides, you really won't achieve anything significant in life until you know the real you. Not your brand, your LinkedIn profile, how you come across, or what anyone thinks of you. The genuine you. There's one simple reason why you shouldn't try to be something you're not, and it's that you can't. The real you will come out anyway. So forget your personal brand and start spending time on figuring out who you really are and trying to become the best version of that you can be.