Unfaking the world
“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken” Oscar Wilde
From social media to fake news.
Fake is the new black.
A worrying example of this trend is infiltrating our world and creating an epidemic of depression and anxiety, particularly in the young.
Whether as extreme as plastic surgery to ‘fix yourself’ or as subtle as an invisible guard that appears when you show up at work, far too many people are tailoring their looks or behaviour to fit in with societal norms and what the accepted definition of attractive or successful appears like.
But the sad reality is those that give the impression of being the happiest, most attractive or most successful, actually deep down are seeking approval just like the rest of us. Often there’s sadness behind the mask when you dig a little deeper.
Admittedly it can be easier to wear a shield than bare ourselves to the world. But do we really want a future where everyone is doing their hardest to be anything other than themselves, chasing happiness and success in all the wrong places?
What would life be like if everyone was comfortable in their own skin and could more easily navigate the obstacles of life?
Paradoxically the thing that makes people shine is the very thing they are running away from…
The art of being yourself
This from Caroline McHugh in her powerful TED talk:
“When you look at remarkable individuals…you’ll find that the thing they have in common is they have nothing in common, yet I’ve identified the thread that links them. These are individuals who have managed to figure out the unique gift that the universe gave them when they incarnated, and then put that at the service of their goals.
And when we see these people we invariably call them larger than life. Life is large. But most of us don’t take up nearly the space the universe intended for us.
We take up this space around our toes, which is why when you see somebody in the full flow of their humanity, it’s remarkable. They’re at least a foot bigger in every direction than normal human beings, and they shine. They gleam, they glow. It’s like they’ve swallowed the moon.”
There’s this myth that to be successful (and not just famous) you need to be something you’re not.
But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
As Caroline points out the real skill is in being confident in who you are and what you are here to do, and acquire the belief to stick with it:
- Have the confidence to say no and it be ok
- Develop the resilience to hear people say things and not take it to heart
- Be open to the guidance and support of people that like you for you
Being yourself is not only empowering, it shows others that it’s ok. And by showing a little vulnerability, people will like and warm to you more.
If you’re running a business or team, you’ll give others permission to also show their human side — and this honesty and transparency will attract the right customers too.
How to get there
“Thanks for letting me be me. Because that’s something that’s not as normal as it should be.” Robert, Netherlands after Alptitude
- Know who you are
Understanding what it is that makes you you, what makes you tick and how you like to spend your time will set you on the right path to authenticity. Often other people can tell you better than you can yourself – ask 3 friends to share with you what makes you you.
- Be clear about your needs
When you know what you want from any situation, or even life itself, everything else flows effortlessly and the right people find you. Pin down what’s driving your decisions and how others can help you get there.
- Immerse yourself in authentic experiences
Being in a space where you can truly be yourself, help others and get support and acceptance back in return is all too rare. This is why we do the work we do – to show that it’s not just possible, but it’s right here and right now.
- Find role models
People living a life that is true to them are out there and you’ll spot them a mile off. They are happy in their own skin, there’s no ego and, crucially, they want you to succeed too. Find them, observer them and learn from them.
- Practice daily
Taking a few minutes of silence out of each day means you can take time for yourself to clear your mind, start to feel again and focus on what matters, namely being more of you.
Follow these steps and you’ll set on the path to unfaking the world, one mask at a time.
Come be yourself and learn how to live authentically at Happy Startup Summercamp this September, applications now open or join our tribe of amazing humans
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Header images from Unsplash