Truly happy and successful people get that way bybecoming the best, most genuine version ofthemselves they can be. Not on the outside--on theinside. It's not about a brand, a reputation, apersona. It's about reality. Who you really are.
Sounds simple, I know. It is a simple concept. Theproblem 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 ofhard work to do it. And you're going to have to break out of your comfort zone and take somechances 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 notfinding 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 commencementspeech:
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 insomething--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 alittle too amorphous and challenging to resonate with today's quick-fix culture. These days, ifyou 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 anddiscipline, two things that are very hard to come by these days. Why? Because, focus anddiscipline are hard. It's so much easier to give in to distraction and instant gratification. Easyand 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 genuineversion of yourself.
It will make you happy. Getting to know yourself will make you feel more comfortable in yourown skin. It will reduce your stress and anxiety. It will make you a better spouse, a betterparent, a better friend. It will make you a better person. Those are all pretty good reasons, ifyou ask me.
Besides, you really won't achieve anything significant in life until you know the real you. Notyour brand, your LinkedIn profile, how you come across, or what anyone thinks of you. Thegenuine 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 andstart spending time on figuring out who you really are and trying to become the best version ofthat you can be.
You pay a huge price when you engage in mindless distraction. The only people that really careabout you are your loved ones, your friends and family. Everyone else is too busy living his ownlittle mini drama. To put it bluntly, your network couldn't care less about you.
That's why engaging yourself and others in mindless distraction isn't worth your time ortheirs. More important, it will absolutely keep you from focusing on accomplishing whatevergreat things you might manage to achieve in life if you set your mind to it.
There's a business concept called opportunity cost. When you choose one course of action,you miss out on all the other opportunities you might have chosen to pursue but didn't. Peoplerarely stop to consider that until it's too late.
It's the most exciting journey you will ever embark on. We're all enthralled by adventure. Welove to read and watch movies about other people's journeys, real or imagined. The Hobbit.Raiders of the Lost Ark. Into Thin Air.
We love to take vacations, to travel to all sorts of places. And when we do, we revel in thenatural beauty of Kauai's Na Pali Coast, the Grand Canyon, the Alps. We marvel at the greatworks of others: the art, the architecture, the Pyramids, Stonehenge.
And yet, the opportunity for adventure is right there in front of each and every one of us.Until you take it, you'll never know what you might achieve. What marvels you might create.What you might discover. All you have to do is start the journey.