“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”

-C.G. Jung

The discussion about personality often revolves around the fact that one should never be afraid of being ‘themselves’. Now that is a very confusing thing to say in the first place. Should a serial killer just be ‘himself’? Should someone who has never shown any courage in his/her life run away when their loved ones are in danger?

So what is this hullabaloo about being ‘yourself’? Is life an extended audition of Roadies where Raghu Ram will use the choicest swear words if we try and be someone else we aren’t; for better or for worse?


If your actual self sucks, then why do you want to keep being that?

If you’re already being your authentic self, and you’re not getting the results you want, why would you keep doing it? Einstein said “the definition of insanity was doing the exact same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.” 

Realistically, we need to learn in order to improve who we are and to get what we want. If you’re here reading this now, I know you believe we should constantly grow to become the best us we can be. If you don’t, then you should probably stop reading this right now.

Huffington Post

‘Be yourself’ is advice given by those who don’t really have anything useful to say to you.

‘Be yourself’ is a lazy fallback expression people can say to sound supportive and wise, when they either don’t really give a shit, or have no experience or useful advice to give about the subject matter. Stop asking these people for advice, and start finding people that can and want to help you become excellent – not just to be mediocre.


It’s fine to fake it and learn something new if it makes you a better person who is better equipped to deal with a situation.

So being authentic really happens on a case-by-case basis. If your authentic self is confident, not scared of new challenges, and can handle conflict well, ‘being yourself’ is the best advice for taking on a new leadership role.

But if you’re not there yet – if your confidence is still shaky, and you haven’t figured out how to deal with conflict or how to take decisive action, you might want to cool it on the ‘be yourself’ stuff. Fake it. Copy those around you who have the qualities you lack, or hire people that your complement existing strengths.

The Polyman

Here’s the rub: we have no idea what we mean when we talk about a ‘true self’. So what are we talking about when we talk about being ‘yourself’ and “authenticity’.

There is, however, a kind of authenticity toward which we could all strive – the kind of authenticity that entails choosing to be the you that you envision being. Of course that doesn’t mean we should try to be someone else.

Do you think that Sachin Tendulkar became the greatest ODI player in history by JBYing? When he failed to score a century in his first 79 matches, do you think he went home and said, “Oh well. I guess I’m just not much of an ODI player. But I’m sure there must be something else I can do”?

When people say “just be yourself” they mean to be honest and genuine; they’re saying stop pretending to be somebody you’re not and to not put on a show. 

To stop trying to fit in, and start letting yourself stand out and be remarkable. If that’s your problem, then this is the time (and the only time) that the suggestion to ‘be yourself’ works and is the best advice you can ever get.


Being stubborn will never help you. Life isn’t a cake walk and you aren’t the perfect snowflake who will conquer the world without making some changes. You need to get better to overcome the difficulties of life and to do that, you’ll have to stop being yourself and start working towards being someone who you’d want to be like.