You’re only an expert in being ‘you’
“Be yourself. The world worships an original” — Ingrid Bergman
Emmy Rossum said: “I don’t think you will ever succeed at trying to be anyone else, but who you truly are.” I have often told people that the most effortless person you can ever be in life is ‘you!’ Your uniqueness is your selling point and it must never be negotiated. Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
The greatest journey in the pursuit of excellence is to be distinct because you would never influence the world by trying to be like it. It is a basic truth that people who are different are usually the ones who end up making a difference in the world. What stands you out is your uniqueness.
The most amazing gift you can ever give the world is you. In fact, your destiny lies in your difference from others and by being yourself, you put something wonderful in the world that was not there before.
The strongest force in the universe is a human being living consistently with his/her identity. Why try hard to fit in, when you were born to stand out? You have the right to be different. Life is not about being who everyone else wants you to be; it is about being yourself and finding someone who loves every bit of you.
Being yourself is ‘excitation,’ while being like others is ‘exhaustion.’ Be yourself, be unique, be uncommon and extend the same privilege to others by giving them the platform to be themselves.
One of the most fantastic stories about the ultimate benefit of living a distinct life is that of Hollywood stars and one of Hong Kong’s greatest actors, Jackie Chan. When he was a baby, his parents could not afford to feed him. They decided to sell him to the English obstetrician, who delivered him for $26. Because they couldn’t afford the surgery bills, they offered to give the infant to the doctor as payment for the Caesarean Section (CS), but the saving grace came when his father’s friend said confidently to his parents that he might end up being their only son.
At the age of seven, Jackie was apprenticed at the infamous Academy of Chinese Opera, where he endured a brutal programme of music dance and traditional martial arts training. The rigorous training took everything away from him, but not his deep sense of humour, a ‘virtue’ that would later distinguish him from the rest.
When Bruce Lee died in 1973, Jackie, along with many others, was picked to fill the vacuum. He failed miserably. “Very hard, very hard,” he said, “so instead of trying to be Bruce Lee, I decided to be myself.”
His first big break came in 1978 with the movie, Snake in Eagle’s shadow. Jackie has climbed to a peak spot in Forbes’ Highest-Paid Actors List and is Number 12 on the list of the highest-paid actors, with a net worth of $370million as of January this year. Some people wanted to be Bruce Lee, but today, they are nowhere to be found. Jackie Chan alone decided to be Jackie Chan, and it has brought him fame and glory.
There is only one pursuit in life that is destined to fail, and that is when we strive hard to be like others. When you are like everyone else, your existence does not matter, whether you are present or absent, no one bothers, because there are so many others just like you to cover up for you. There is always a temptation to be someone else, but great people resist it. Bruce Lee said: “Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”
The only thing that can never be faked is being yourself, and it happens naturally. We are living in a world where we are so accustomed to disguising ourselves to others that in the end, we become disguised to ourselves. The hardest battle you would ever have to fight is the battle to be yourself and whatever makes you weird is probably your greatest asset.
Joyce Meyer said: “One of the favourite tricks of the devil is manipulating our identity because if he can keep you from realising who you really are, he can keep you from doing what you were created to do and he can keep you from enjoying the life God has for you.” Rita Mae Brown said: “I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.”
There is only one thing that God would never call you to be in life, and that is being someone else. You aren’t called to be anyone else; you are called to be ‘YOU.’ Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are. There is only one you for all time. Fearlessly be yourself!
Finally, I want to address parents that have turned their children to victims by forcing and manipulating them to live a life that they themselves should have lived when they were younger. I want to use this platform to especially advise parents in the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, who said: “You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.”
Designing the future of a child is beyond parental ‘jurisdiction.’ Parents should avoid the temptation of forcing their children to fit into their own design, but rather provide them with a platform to stand out with their uniqueness. Jim Morrison said: “Of all freedom, the most important is the freedom to be you.” The greatest gift a parent can ever give to his or her child is a platform to be him or her. Parents are meant to nurture the uniqueness in their wards.
The greatest parental sin and abuse is to manipulate our children to live a life that is not theirs. I want to say categorically and emphatically: “I will never apologise for being me. You should apologise for asking me to be someone less.”
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