Truly happy and successful people get that way by becoming the best, most genuine version of themselves they can be. Not on the outside--on the inside. It's not about a brand, a reputation, a persona. It's about reality. Who you really are.
Sounds simple, I know. It is a simple concept. The problem is, it's very hard to do, it takes a lot of work, and it can take a lifetime to figure it out.
Nothing worth doing in life is ever easy. If you want to do great work, it's going to take a lot of hard work to do it. And you're going to have to break out of your comfort zone and take some chances that will scare the crap out of you.
But you know, I can't think of a better way to spend your life. I mean, what's life for if not finding yourself and trying to become the best, most genuine version of you that you can be?
That's what Steve Jobs meant when he said this at a Stanford University commencement speech:
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice.
You have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something--your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle.
Now, let's for a moment be realistic about this. Insightful as that advice may be, it sounds a little too amorphous and challenging to resonate with today's quick-fix culture. These days, if you can't tell people exactly what to do and how to do it, it falls on deaf ears.
Not only that, but what Jobs was talking about, what I'm talking about, requires focus and discipline, two things that are very hard to come by these days. Why? Because, focus and discipline are hard. It's so much easier to give in to distraction and instant gratification. Easy and addictive.
To give you a little incentive to take on the challenge, to embark on the road to self-discovery, here are three huge benefits from working to become the best, most genuine version of yourself.
It will make you happy. Getting to know yourself will make you feel more comfortable in your own skin. It will reduce your stress and anxiety. It will make you a better spouse, a better parent, a better friend. It will make you a better person. Those are all pretty good reasons, if you ask me.
Besides, you really won't achieve anything significant in life until you know the real you. Not your brand, your LinkedIn profile, how you come across, or what anyone thinks of you. The genuine you. There's one simple reason why you shouldn't try to be something you're not, and it's that you can't. The real you will come out anyway. So forget your personal brand and start spending time on figuring out who you really are and trying to become the best version of that you can be.
Free Minds and Hearts at Work by Jackie Robinson
At the beginning of the World Series of 1947, I experienced a completely new emotion, when the National Anthem was played.This time, I thought, it is being played for me, as much as for anyone else. This is organized major league baseball, and I am standing here with all the others; and everything that takes place includes me.
About a year later, I went to Atlanta, Georgia, to play in an exhibition game. On the field, for the first time in Atlanta, there were Negroes and whites. Other Negroes, besides me. And I thought: What I have always believed has come to be.
And what is it that I have always believed? First, that imperfections are human. But that wherever human beings were given room to breathe and time to think, those imperfections would disappear, no matter how slowly. I do not believe that we have found or even approached perfection. That is not necessarily in the scheme of human events. Handicaps, stumbling blocks, prejudices — all of these are imperfect. Yet, they have to be reckoned with because they are in the scheme of human events.
我一直坚守的信念是什么呢?首先，我知道人类不可避免会有缺陷。但只要人类有一息尚存，只要人类还能思考，这些缺陷一定会逐渐消失，无论过程会多么漫长。我 并不认为我们已经到达或正在接近完美无缺的境界。完美无缺的境界并非人类社会不可或缺的一部分。有些缺陷，例如残疾、障碍和偏见，在人类社会中都存在，也 就需要我们勇敢地去面对。
Whatever obstacles I found made me fight all the harder. But it would have been impossible for me to fight at all, except that I was sustained by the personal and deep-rooted belief that my fight had a chance. It had a chance because it took place in a free society. Not once was I forced to face and fight an immovable object. Not once was the situation so cast-iron rigid that I had no chance at all. Free minds and human hearts were at work all around me; and so there was the probability of improvement. I look at my children now, and know that I must still prepare them to meet obstacles and prejudices.
我一路上遇到的阻碍都促使我更加努力地去抗争、去奋斗。然而，如果不是我内心深处坚信我的奋斗有希望，我就根本无法坚持。我的奋斗有希望，因为这是一个自 由的社会。在这里，我不止一次遇到过无法逾越的障碍，也不止一次经历过令人绝望的境况。但那时，思想与心灵的自由便能起作用，让我摆脱困境。如今我看着自 己的孩子们，我知道我仍需要他们准备面对困难与歧视。
But I can tell them, too, that they will never face some of these prejudices because other people have gone before them. And to myself I can say that, because progress is unalterable, many of today's dogmas will have vanished by the time they grow into adults. I can say to my children: There is a chance for you. No guarantee, but a chance.And this chance has come to be, because there is nothing static with free people. There is no Middle Ages logic so strong that it can stop the human tide from flowing forward. I do not believe that every person, in every walk of life, can succeed in spite of any handicap. That would be perfection. But I do believe — and with every fiber in me — that what I was able to attain came to be because we put behind us (no matter how slowly) the dogmas of the past: to discover the truth of today; and perhaps find the greatness of tomorrow.
然而，我可以告诉他们，正因为前人的努力奋斗，他们今后不必再经受我们现在承受的某些偏见。我也告诉自己，社会进步是必然的，当我的孩子们长大成人时，现 在社会上的许多教条一定会消失。因此，我可以告诉我的.孩子们：你们有希望——我不敢保证什么，但肯定有希望。有自由思想的人决不会停滞不前，所以你们有希 望。再也没有中世纪强大荒谬的逻辑能阻挡人类历史的潮流滚滚向前。我并不认为从事任何职业的任何人都能排除一切障碍获得成功——这样的完美不现实。但我的 确有一条坚定不疑的信念——我现在所做到的一切是因为我们能够抛开从前的教条(无论多么缓慢)，能探寻当下的真理，也许还能发现未来的美好。
I believe in the human race. I believe in the warm heart. I believe in man's integrity. I believe in the goodness of a free society. And I believe that the society can remain good only as long as we are willing to fight for it — and to fight against whatever imperfections may exist.My fight was against the barriers that kept Negroes out of baseball. This was the area where I found imperfection, and where I was best able to fight. And I fought because I knew it was not doomed to be a losing fight. It couldn't be a losing fight-not when it took place in a free society. And in the largest sense, I believe that what I did was done for me — that it was my faith in God that sustained me in my fight. And that what was done for me must and will be done for others.