Are you ready to become the true person that you are? What we’re discussing here is embarking on a journey of self-discovery and self-transformation that will leave you smarter, more confident, calmer, more capable and better able to conquer and succeed in every aspect of your life.
But we’re not going to take the path that most self-improvement guides take. We’re not interested in ‘five easy hacks’ or anything to that extent. Instead, we’re going to be diving into neuroscience, into philosophy and into ancient tradition in order to look at truly powerful and useful tools that can turn you into something more than you are now. Read on if you are truly interested in beginning your personal evolution. Otherwise, feel free to turn away now.
Be Prepared to Leave the Old You Behind
The first thing that you need to do is to prepare to leave the old you behind. That might sound daunting or perhaps it sounds like meaningless hype. But no: this is the first and most important step to becoming a better you and it’s one that you will find puts up a lot of resistance.
The problem is that many of us feel a certain attachment to who we think we
are and to who other people think we are. We all have a sense of self that is based on our own opinions, beliefs and experiences and on the feedback that we get from others. And we jealously guard this sense of self. We cling onto the continuity of being the same person. And other people will view it that way too. They’ll want us to behave in a certain way that is consistent with who they know us to be: whether they think of us as someone who is very serious or who is very jovial. Whether they think of us as a ‘Mummy’s boy/Daddy’s girl’ a homebody, an adventurer, or a fitness freak.
But what happens when the adventurer wants to settle down? What happens when the jovial person wants to be serious for a change? What happens when we want to change our mind on something that we used to feel passionately about? This is when we meet resistance. There is immense pressure from other people for us to continue to act the way the believe we should. And we ourselves will often feel as though we are ‘betraying’ who we really are when we change. This sense of self and our unwillingness to compromise that is actually a prison.
But change is not a bad thing. It is a very important thing in fact: adaptability is the key to our survival and our growth. You won’t be truly free until you believe that you can change your ‘look’ on a whim, change your mind or just act out of character. And the irony is: this is being truer to yourself than adhering to your own expectations of who you are.
So, this is the first thing I’m going to ask of you: be willing to let go of your old notion of ‘you’ and to embrace whatever you discover in the personal journey that follows. And remember this too: there is no biological continuity. Your brain is constantly changing shape and your cells are constantly being replaced. The entire notion of ‘you’ is an illusion.
Forgetting What Others Think
Just as you need to abandon that prison of wanting to act like ‘you’, it is also equally important that you abandon the concern for what others might think of you. This is something that dictates how many of us think and act and it can be a big issue when it comes to embracing our truest selves and our truest impulse.
The other day I was doing some filming for a client and the video I had to create involved jumping in a river in bare feet. As I did this, people couldn’t help but stare and I felt an intense sense of pressure: people did not like that I was acting strangely or that I was defying convention. It wasn’t amusing to them. But this led me to think: why should they feel that way? For what reason do they have to know and understand what I’m doing? Why shouldn’t I be able to do something that they don’t understand, free from judgmental stares? This is a big problem with the way that our society works and it’s something we should aim to fix: people should be able to act as they feel in the moment and as they want, not feel dictated to by others.
If you can let go of what other people think, then you will be freer to act the way that you truly want to and believe it or not, this is a huge advantage in most social situations. Not in the example I just described of course, but if you are trying to impress a date or if you’re trying to get a job, then not worrying about what others think will make you far more attractive.
Why? Because this lack of concern for your own reputation suggests that you aren’t trying to impress other people. And as soon as you stop trying to impress other people, this sends the message that you don’t need to impress them. This in turn makes them ask what it is that makes you so confident. Why are you so sure of yourself that you feel no natural pressure to impress? The assumed answer is that there must be something special or impressive about you that makes you the person that other people should be trying to impress. When you act truly naturally and let go of your ‘inner Woody Allen’, this is when you become socially smooth, charismatic and charming.