Over the last years, I’ve been trying to understand what made people around me happy, confident, and strong, and maybe me as well. Happy and confident in my life, and what was coming next.
One principle appeared to me. It took a long time, but in the end appeared to be very simple. As usual with important things in life ;)
Simply being true to myself. Coherent.
Being true to yourself, what I now call “centered onto the true self” is something I find an incredibly powerful state of mind in my life today.
As I’ve been sharing it with many people I’ve met, friends, family and team members at work, let me share it with you.
Faking versus being real
A few years ago, when I was trying to analyse what was going wrong with me and a lot of people around me, I found out that most of the mistakes that we make are because we’re “faking” many things in our lives. Pretending to be someone we’re not.
You know these little lies that make you blink an eye. We have so many examples every single day:
- Saying yes when you wanna say no because you don’t want to create troubles,
- Accepting behaviours that are contrary to your principles but socially accepted, or because you don’t want to speak up.
- Pretending to be strong, or mighty, when we’re actually weak, or having doubts…
And the list is long.
On the opposite, I have always been impressed by people who are really confident about themselves, and who seem to be handling each situation with calm and confidence, whatever the uncertainties they’re facing. What was their trick?
Finding your true centre
It took me a long time to rationalise this. I think that in our mind, each of us is made out of a set of psychological features at any given time. Our character, knowledge, values, goals, capabilities, principles… That’s who we are.
This is what I call our “True Centre”. It comes with our skills, our strengths, our victories, our weaknesses, our difficulties.
You could put that real “you” as a pin on the map. The true centre is who you are when you look in the mirror.
You’re the only one who can possibly know your true self. But it takes a lot of time and energy to find it.
But more than this difficulty, even when we know it, we always tend to hide the difficulties we have and show only what’s easier to show.
The fake centre
Have you experienced this feeling when your pretending being someone you’re not quite exactly?
I see a lot of people around me not being true to themselves in their everyday life with others. When we do small or big lies. Think about the examples above. They happen every day in our lives, with friends, family, at work, with strangers in the street. Each lie adds on top of each other, usually with a compounding negative effect.
This image you give of yourself to them is just another pin on the map. A fake centre.
This image is the simplest way I found to represent what causes a lot of harm to some people around me.
The longer the distance between true and fake centres, the more painful it is.
Measuring the painful distance
I’ve met a lot of great people, some great thinkers, great entrepreneurs, great friends, showing a lot of confidence and happiness despite weaknesses and difficulties. All of them had one thing in common. They were not lying. They were just true to themselves. “Centered”.
I found out, the shorter the distance between the true and the fake centre, the more coherent we are, and the more confident and happy we are.
The longer the distance between the two dots, the more difficulties we have. Lies have a compounding effect. They add up and make you weaker and weaker. Don’t get into that fake life trap. You don’t need to pretend to be someone else. You can just be yourself.
One of my most inspiring managers (and actually one of the smartest person I’ve ever met) once told me:
I’m not smart enough to lie.
This is so true. We waste so much energy on bridging the distance between what we show people and who we really are. This uncomfortable distance.
People around you are smart enough to feel the distance. They won’t necessarily say it but they will feel it. You know it as well when you look in the mirror.
But you don’t have to lie. Most of the time, being true to yourself, telling the truth and being transparent may seem harder at that very moment, but so much simpler on the long run, and at the bottom of our hearts, so much more powerful.
Get this distance as short as you can now. This is my advice.
You can tell your friends you’re tired, you can tell this guy hiring you what are your weaknesses and your strengths. Honesty will be your strength. People in front of you will see the real you.
You will have no regrets. You will be coherent, strong, and ready for your future.
Moving the real centre
Of course, your true centre may move. You’re not the same as the one you were 2 years ago. When you travel, when you meet people, when you read books, your true centre changes. That’s fine. You will have to align your centre again and again. This is a job of a life.
Keep the distance as short as possible. To be confident. Honest, and true to yourself at any time.
I’m not saying aligning on your true centre is easy. I had a hard time, and I’m still fighting with myself sometimes to remain true to myself.
Your true and fake centres will keep on moving all the time and it will be a full-time job to keep the distance between them as small as possible. Most of the people I know do not want to be on their true centre. They fear the reality, they suffer from that.
This is about discipline. Mister resistance will be there every morning.
The good news is: it’s really simple to start. Try it tomorrow with a simple exercise, no more little lie in your day. Think about it before saying something. You will see, you will start to align on simple things, and in the future, on larger, more important ones. You will feel better and more confident.
This is what I’ve been telling all people I’ve encountered and I wanted to help.
Align on your true centre.
This is my mantra in life, I hope it may help others.
“Do not chase people. Be you and do your own thing and work hard. The right people who belong in your life will come to you and stay” Wu Tang.