“ Just be yourself “

I’m sure you all have heard or been advised to be yourself at one point in your life. Many have taken this advice as a norm and continued to impart that same quote for others.

The problem is that no one ever actually looked into what this will mean to many. 

Let’s take an example, if there’s a young man, who has just turned 21 ( considered an adult virtually in any legal system now), who is addicted to playing video games all night until it’s really late.

Overtime he will develop poor health habits and always tends to eat unhealthy junk food (which is mostly the case) while playing games and then obviously he would have to operate in a very low level of energy throughout the daytime as he didn’t get enough sleep in the optimal circadian time ( an article about this later) along with empty carbs in his system. 

Since the gaming addiction can very well be linked with to feel a ‘sense of achievement’ he could be underperforming in his other areas of life.

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Yet, if he dreams to find an attractive girl of his choice, day dream to be a specialist in a craft, save money and purchase his first car etc he is miles away from reaching that goal.

Often in this scenario he would ask the question ‘why can’t I attract that girl..why can’t I master this craft and be exceptional?..” 

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He would walk to his gaming buddies who would advise him to ‘be yourself’ ..but that will never let him get even close to his dream lurking in him. This is what “being yourself” has done for you.

Same goes to those who are addicted to other things as well; whether it is smoking up, consuming alcohol and the association with other addictive substances. Some simply waste their earnings to over entertain themselves or get carried away with endless trends of ‘comedy, gossip or political news’ throughout the day on their smartphone or watching endless TV series on Netflix. These are just a few elements where you will easily waste the golden time of your life and resort to mediocrity while a few manage to leave the herd and develop a world class lifestyle for themselves. 

Now more than ever we are drowning with distractions all day long. 

The worst advice 

“Just be yourself” – It is the worst advice that many gave me when I was a kid as well. Later on time and again I get to hear that from my other friends as well, especially when I am going through some adversity.

But it never helped me in a positive way. I feel ‘lost’ every time someone advises me ‘just be yourself’ .

Instead you should always strive to be the BEST VERSION of yourself. 

Before you begin

You must accept where you are and be honest with yourself. This should not mean that you change everything in your life nor this means that you should patch up your weakness and lie to yourself. This means acceptance of what serves you and what does not in your way of life at the moment. Do take time for a self audit. 

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Meditation is an ideal way to do it if you know how to meditate and have developed the habit. In self reflection you can clearly see WHO exactly you are and how you conduct your life. If not, take time to be in solitude, grab a journal and write a list of activities you do in a usual week and ask yourself what activities belong in your future successful self and what activities do not belong in there. 

If you do have a trusted partner you can show this and ask to add what he / she can reveal about your behaviours. That will come in handy too.  

So yes be yourself only to know where you are!

But I hear some says ‘I don’t have the motivation’

Well you don’t have a problem with motivation. You only have a problem with clarity. The moment you have clarity in something you easily take action even if you don’t have much energy in yourself and are seemingly ‘exhausted’

Example – imagine that you have exhausted ‘everything’ in your tank after a long jog and then lie on the floor thinking that you can’t move one bit for another hour. But suddenly you see a venomous black cobra coiling to attack you just a couple of feet away. Wouldn’t you sprint a hundred meters if you have to? You would. But how? It is because in a split second you are so crystal clear as to what you need to do to ‘save your’ life. In this context sprint is the action and ‘save your life’ is the goal. 

Bun in the persuasion of your most desired goal, you can’t move as you wish if you don’t develop clarity. Not years but decades will go by, you will still meddle with average life instead of becoming a master in your craft. 

One effective tip to choose the right goal –

Choose a goal that really excites you. This is key! You should be nervous, excited and feel that it has ignited fire within when you have chosen the right goal for you.

Conscious choice of happiness

But don’t forget to include the question ‘Am I happy’ in the process.

No point in persuading a goal while you feel absolutely miserable in between. This will unlikely to create the best version but most likely to create a negative toxic person who is difficult to associate. 

For an example I met a person who went to work in an overseas company purely based on the financial rewards. He compromised many aspects that mattered to him including his happiness, which lead him to be ill, short tempered and a sad person following years of work. He finally quit the job when he found himself far from whom he should be, then returned to Sri Lanka and in a couple of months he looked so much happier regaining his spirit. 

So yes, will I be happy in this process? is a very important question to ask. Nothing worth compromising your happiness.

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The process towards your best self

What exactly do you want in life? 

Write down the things you badly need in your life. The skills that you must develop and the lifestyle you must obtain.

Then write down the list of activities you perform.

You will be astounded with the activities you do against the dreams you have. Most of it is empty and builds a disempowering environment created nobody but yourself.

However, the worst thing that can happen in this process is that you feel self pity and regret for how you have led your life all this while. Well that is a really poor state to be in. 

Number one – DON’T BE! Accept where you are, and DETERMINE that you will not go back to this old grooves again. Appreciate yourself for making this decision, that’s the first step.

This is so much easier to do with the help of a mentor / coach but if your financial means are against it, simply take the SMALLEST action IMMEDIATELY to create momentum.

Remember nothing surpasses the power of taking action. So take the smallest action possible in order to ‘break the ice’ first. Just be consistent.

And yes as the Nike tagline famously said it ‘ JUST DO IT’ don’t plan so much. Definitely don’t wait for your ideal time to do it as it will never happen! 

What can you do TODAY to create momentum ? do that.

Blessings in disguise

Now the young adult who has been addicted to playing video games all night decided that this will not mean any good to fulfils his dreams. Hence he wanted to be a physically active, healthy man who can attract a good looking woman into his life while he also developed a skill for him to be highly employable. 

So now he spends his money to join a gym. This will aid to replace his wrong choices in nutrition, his metabolism will increase thus will have better energy, since he works out, he is more likely to be tired in the evening hence can easily fall asleep early. So he gets a good night’s sleep, wakes up a couple of hours early – dedicates that two hours to study something that he needs to master before he goes to work / university. 

Due to this mentality he is likely to meet more people who are on the same path. 

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There are tons of good ‘by products’ that will appear as he continues on this path. His associations will change, choices will be for his best interest, his thinking will be more discipline etc. But more than any other he will feel fulfilled already.

Because progress = happiness.

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Slowly but surely he will be conscious about the behavioural changes he can apply to become his best version. So as ‘life begets life’ good behaviour will feed in to more good behaviour ( as long as you are consistent) where in matter of months he is heading towards success for sure.

How to master it

Bhavitho bahuli katho ( භාවිතෝ බහුලී කතෝ) 

 “ More you do it better you will become at it ” – Buddha preached in one of the sutras under mastering a skill. Yes it’s that simple. 

Now time to dig a bit deep in your chosen skill – 

Break it to a granular level. Advice to do it following atleast 3-4months of consistent work. Then look closely at how well you perform each hour of the day. At work did you take two hours to accomplish something while peeping in to the smartphone a half a dozen times or allowing little distractions all the time. Then leave it away for 60mins, ‘wire yoursef’ in the task – You will be surprised how you can accomplish the same work in an hour and have saved an extra hour! 

Momentum is power! It doesn’t just add up but compounds as you develop it.

Take three difficult phone calls at work today which you otherwise used to postpone for weeks. Be amazed at how quickly things will change around you for the better.

Do you want to progress your fitness? then focus intently on each rep as if it’s your last day in the gym.

Ask yourself how I can perform 10/10 today! ( not tomorrow! postponing is a self created curse to hamper your development) 

and then perhaps once a week ask yourself how can I perform 11/10 today, yes an illusionary target. Guess what? you will always find an extra bit that you didn’t think you had in you.  

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Why you may ask,

It is because we are always destined to be limited by our own self created limitations than any other. Power of visualisation is vital in the process of becoming your best version.

Read that back, I didn’t write ‘ in the journey’.. Instead I wrote ‘in the process’. Self development is a process from the moment you have decided what exactly you want to focus on.There are few easy ways to measure it and monitor your own self and propel.

Remember there’s no such thing as ‘ I can’t change now.. Or ‘ I have gone a long way in this bad habit now’  

In my coaching sessions I have experienced first hand how decades long addictions end under half an hour, how years of depression and living with prescribed medication ends in an hour. 

It is all but a powerful decision.

You are always a one powerful decision away transforming yourself and liberating you from whatever the ‘shackles’ keep you bound.

There’s a life in every breath.

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