How knowing one simple, yet fundamental thing puts you with the elite thinkers.Aug 26, 2019
What do you do and who do you know?
Are you living your life being true to yourself, or are you constantly trying to keep up with the Jones’s? Maybe it’s about the salary you think you should be earning by your age and stage in life, living in the house that befits someone of your standing, sending your children to the ‘right’ school, holidaying in the latest ‘in’ destination and being seen at the popular social functions etc. Sometimes it’s all so exhausting!
Ed Sheeran’s song Beautiful People is a great social comment on how so many people strive to fit in rather than be themselves and happy with who they are. The video depicts two ‘ordinary’ people arriving at an airport and then to their surprise, being ushered into a limo. There they sit, drinking out of their apple juice cartons, eating a packet of crisps, watching bemused as Lamborghinis and Hummers stream past. The whole video plays out with them at a pool party for the uber cool, young and rich, whilst they sit on garden chairs getting their picnic out of their cool box, unfazed by the tanned and beautiful partying around them. A champagne bottle is sprayed in the background whilst Joe Bloggs opens his very fizzy cola bottle, then proceeds to blow up his rubber water wings. A party aboard a luxury yacht is more than Joe’s seasickness can handle and he and his wife go to bed in their PJs, with face masks and cocoa, whilst the trendy and stylish party literally around them. The words and visuals go hand-in-hand – stay true to yourself.
The core of who you are
When all is said and done, it’s about being true to yourself, which means living by your core values - what and who are important to you. Very very few people if you asked them, would know what their five most important values are, they’re living by values they adopted from somebody else who probably didn’t think about them either. If that’s the case, how can you be making important decisions about the direction you want your life to take if you’ve never given any conscious thought to what your values are? Only 2-5% of the population make the time to think about their core values. If you’re reading this and cannot think straight off the bat what your core values are, make the time to do so and understand what eliciting your core values can mean for you. Be one of those elite effective thinkers and know what you want out of life. Once you know your core values, it makes decision-making so much easier.
We are all always living by our core values because whatever we choose to do, will sit most comfortably with us. So, visiting the mother-in-law who we don’t particularly get on with, is something we do because perhaps it’s more favourable than the cold shoulder and portion of nag pie we get from our partner if we don’t go or the disappointment they like to show, or perhaps simply because the value we place in our relationship with our partner, far outweighs the awkwardness of a lunch with dear M.I.L. (dealing with the ‘guilt’ is a whole other topic so watch this space on that one…!). Or, ferrying the kids to and from their various clubs and activities may be something we moan and groan about but you must want to do it because, well, otherwise quite simply, you wouldn’t be doing it. Perhaps one of your values is ensuring they have access to a range of sports and hobbies to enrich their physical, mental and emotional development. Standing on the side of pitch in the freezing cold or sat in the car week after week waiting in the car park for an hour, is a small price to pay for enhancing their learning.
Honesty is the best policy
So, you see, we are all always living as the person we want to be because we are always acting in accordance with our core values. What we might however have are aspirational values – those values which we think we live to or want to live by. Maybe we tell others one of our values is the environment. We demonstrate this by earnestly recycling and taking our jute bags to the supermarket, or turning the tap off when we clean our teeth. Yet when recently buying a car, did we consider electric, or hybrid? Do we shop at charity shops to recycle clothes? Look into solar panels for our house? Maybe we say community is a strong value for us but what does that mean? Checking on our neighbour once in a while, helping at the village fete? Or could we do more? Perhaps start a group raising money for a local charity? Run errands for those in need in your local area?
Be very conscious of what you say your values are and how you actually live your life. I don’t personally believe honesty should ever be given as a value. Whether it’s little porkies we excuse as ‘white lies’ – seemingly to benefit others, or absolute whoppers to absolve ourselves from any responsibility, lies will be told by us all at some point. Be honest with yourself and that authenticity will shine through.
I remember a child in one of my daughters’ classes. He joined the school mid-term because he’d been badly bullied and had had a terrible time. I so admired him because when he started his new school, he didn’t try to fit in, he stayed true to who he was and if kids liked him, great, if they didn’t, that was OK too. He loved dinosaurs and all things paleontology and do you know what, if at first they thought he was a bit of a geek, by the end of term, they were fascinated with what he knew. Before he knew it, there was a group of kids who’d flock to him at playtime to play some kind of dino-themed game. The pride in his Mum’s face at pick-up time brought tears to my eyes. Her son was authentic. He wasn’t trying to be anyone else so that he’d be liked, he was who he was, take it or leave it. As Caroline McHugh said in her thought-provoking TEDx Talk, it’s the art of being you.
If you’re slightly eccentric, quirky, unique, gifted, people seem to have a problem with this. Of course, this is usually born out of fear of the unknown and also jealousy – the doubters and the naysayers just wish they had the chutzpah to live their life with such va-va-voom! The artist Daniel Lismore is a human work of art – his intricate, grand and out and out fabulous outfits are carefully put together using anything from 2,000 year-old Roman rings, to beer cans. He gets the looks and he’s bullied but he loves what he creates and stays true to his craft and his passion.
The crux of it
The key to knowing the true you is to give conscious thought to what your core values are and to consciously know you are making decisions and choices according to these. Take time and make the effort to find out who you are and what you stand for; it’s too easy to buy ephemeral popularity by following the herd.
Be your own beautiful person being true to who you are. Be authentically you.
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