Here’s why “just be yourself” is terrible advice


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Listen, I know you’re a good person. I know that you have wants, needs, desires, fears, dreams, deep emotional experiences, and a variety of life experiences every day.

I also know that your friends and family care a lot about you. They want the best for you and they want to see you happy.

Here’s the hard pill to swallow, though:

None of this means that you are the type of person who is currently equipped to live the life you WANT to live, nor that your friends and family are equipped to give you guidance or advice that will actually help you.

When people tell you things like:

“Just be yourself, you’re doing great!”

“Keep doing what you’re doing, the right person will come along!”

“Don’t worry, this breakup is their loss!”

…it’s natural to feel comforted and reassured about your current path. But, what if you’ve heard these things repeatedly and you continue to be disappointed?

As Albert Einstein said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

So many people seek comfort over progress that they become increasingly frustrated as they find out the two things do not often live together. To ‘just be yourself’ is not going to help you reach higher goals, perform at a higher level in your career, or attract people who are more deserving of your heart.

If you are not disciplined enough to stick to a consistent gym routine, “keep doing what you’re doing” won’t get you into shape. You need to train yourself to become a more disciplined person in order to follow a new path.

If you are abrasive and closed off when in social situations, “just be yourself” is not going to help you attract an intimate partner who is genuine and caring.

If you are apathetic and unaffectionate in a relationship, “this breakup is their loss!” probably actually isn’t the case…

But, if that’s what you’re being told on a regular basis, all that will happen is that you’ll develop a victim mentality where nothing is your fault.

And, if nothing is your fault, you’ll never be driven to reflect on your own actions…let alone put in work to change them.

The kicker is this: Even if your life is perfectly calm and comfortable, it still doesn’t mean that just being yourself is the best course of action. The world is consistently revolving around us. Circumstances change. Career demands evolve. The person we’re in a relationship with is growing and improving…

If you remain stagnant while all of this is happening around you, the world will leave you behind.

So – don’t just be yourself. Create yourself. Grow. Evolve. Learn. Develop. Expand.

Build yourself into an ever-evolving optimal version of who you can become. Listen to podcasts on your commute instead of music. Read books instead of Facebook pages. Talk about current events rather than sports or the weather. Do things that matter.

Be curious. Be ambitious. Be driven. Be better than you were yesterday.

Be TRUE to yourself and be TRUE to your values, but don’t become so comfortable in who you are that you prevent yourself from becoming who you CAN be.


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  1. Jock on October 15, 2018 at 11:18 am

    Excellent points! Thank you!

    • James Michael Sama on October 15, 2018 at 11:22 am

      Thanks for taking the time to read!

  2. wolf bennett on October 16, 2018 at 12:01 am

    Working on it. Things that matter. Coaching families/individuals in life skills for professional and personal achievement. 10 month program, 8 hours month minimum.
    Writing “thinking” articles for local magazine and Mensa bulletins.
    Already dropped 10 pounds down to 195 and aiming for 5 more by early November (BMI 185)
    4 times week at the gym and trying for more but without judgement when I don’t make more.
    Some changes enacted and a few more to kick in as I get the first ones totally on track.
    Not sure where exactly all this is headed but I want to be a better man and the base work comes first.
    Thanks for the nudges,

  3. Ash Pariseau on October 16, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    Great post, James. Instead of just be yourself, I say be your BEST self.

  4. […] Here is a great blog that tells you the opposite of what you are used to hearing. […]

  5. TheLord07 on April 1, 2021 at 1:10 pm

    If you want to live in peace and comfort, pay for your sins on the site . Our service will help you find peace of mind. If the burden of past sins weighs on you, preventing you from living in peace. You just pay for it on our website (the amount can be any). And so it is every time you sin. It’s very simple.

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