Remember the childhood question that perhaps no child would have escaped in his/her childhood. What would you like to become when you grow up??
Pat comes their reply: I want to become like Sachin Tendulkar, I want to become like Arjuna or I want to become like Salman Khan and the list of replies is endless.
This question however has a deep rooted impact in everyone’s life today. The way we live our life today is definitely deeply connected to this childhood question.
One reply that never did or even will not find place (if asked even this moment) in the endless list of “I want to be like” is – I WANT TO BE MYSELF.
“Be yourself” – This is perhaps the most repeated secret of success mantra by millions of speakers and motivational writers of our times. “Be yourself” – In fact that sound reverberates our ears even in complete silence. Very little effort has gone in analysing the good or benefit gained by the society at large from this phrase. The concern here is that this mantra, this magical phrase has created multi fold miseries to millions of lives and the society. The Vagueness of this phrase has been exploited much intensely than the simplicity of this phrase.
The easiest way this phrase has been implemented in our daily life is with few classic punch words like: “I care a damn“, “I don’t care what they think“, “I will damn do what I wish” or worst case an individual surrenders to life’s tests and says – I am like I am, I don’t care what people think about me. Instead of implementing the phrase in a constructive way, a large population in our society has misused the very meaning of this phrase.
The other side of this effect – Trying to live like someone else. Walking on someone else’s path, a second hand path. That again is lifeless.
The results – Disastrous.
Lets revisit our childhood fable :
Once upon a time, a small caterpillar had a dream to be a beautiful butterfly.
He had previously heard that every caterpillar had a chance to be butterfly. In the morning, he told his dream to his friend the Honey Bee. “I want to be a butterfly,” the Monarch Caterpillar said. “Why?” the bee asked.
“I want to make this garden more beautiful. I want to help the plants by carrying their pollen to another plant. It will help them to make seeds and seeds will make plants. I want to be a beautiful butterfly. I want to fly. I will add colour to this garden and women will love to see me.”
“Are you kidding? You are just a crawling animal. Crawling slowly is your destiny. Be yourself. Don’t dream and wait till the bird eats you, said the Honey Bee and laughed at the Monarch Caterpillar. The Monarch Caterpillar was disappointed with the Honey Bee’s response and then he moved on to the other leaf.
There he met the Black Caterpillar, he told about his dream to be a butterfly to the black caterpillar too. Be your self! This dream will disappoint you. Just enjoy crawling. Don’t try anything. Don’t try to fly. You are not a butterfly. Too much effort will disappoint you. Just be your self. Do not change anything. This was the Black Caterpillar’s advice to Monarch Caterpillar. The Monarch Caterpillar was too nice to debate with the Black Caterpillar. He chose to avoid confrontation. He moved on to the other leaf. He wanted to grow to be a butterfly. His friend’s advice made him think that to be a butterfly was like trying the impossible. He had a dream to help the plants, make the garden more beautiful, and attract the women. He wanted to transform himself.
Suddenly a green beautiful butterfly came to him. The Green Butterfly was curious to know why Monarch Caterpillar was sad. “Why are you so sad?” The Green Butterfly asked.
“I wanted to be butterfly,” The Monarch Caterpillar answered. “Why do you want to be a butterfly?” The Monarch Caterpillar told his reason to be a butterfly and his friends advice about “being your self”.
“Your friends are right but being a caterpillar is not enough. You should be yourself but do not kill your dream. Don’t reject the opportunity to grow. To do nothing or be passive is not to be your self”. You will eventually become a butterfly if you live the stage of a caterpillar to the fullest. The Green Butterfly explained. “So, can I be a beautiful butterfly?” “I was a caterpillar but I am a butterfly now. You have the opportunity to be butterfly. Keep crawling and find sufficient food. Find a safe place to make the chrysalis to protect your self and wait for the process. Believe that you can be a butterfly. Believe that you can fly. Be your best self.” The Green Butterfly encouraged Monarch Caterpillar with these words.
The Green Butterfly’s explanation brought great hope and inspiration to the Monarch Caterpillar.
“Grow better! Be your best self” The Green Butterfly said, flying away to the big tree.
Day by day, the Monarch Caterpillar was crawling and feeding. He tried hard to save himself from the predators. One day, when he was ready to transform, He made a protective shell and formed a chrysalis. In the chrysalis, he turned out to be a handsome butterfly.
His dream comes true. He becomes a Monarch Butterfly. Now He could fly. Now he could make the garden more beautiful. He becomes his best self.
Now the lesson here : What it means to be yourself is to follow the very basics – first, accept yourself. Know yourself beyond anyone’s perception. Identify your strong points or your strengths. Try to figure out what parameters are holding you back. Pen down the activities or actions that are needed to overcome the hurdles. Channelize them into your strength now and start your conquest. A superman on a blind dark trip wouldn’t really help. That has been happening to our younger generation today. Don’t try to live like someone else, you will miss originality, you will end up living someone else’s life. Your life would be mediocre, not lively, not living – just a duplicate. Be yourself, Live your self life, experience original bliss.
If your strengths are in numbers or in analyzing, don’t try becoming a Sales Head, develop and channelize your skills with expertise in database management, MIS or being an Analyst. A Chess champion, trying to be swimming champion will end up becoming nothing worthy. He would miss success. Few motivational readings, Few inspirational movies might give you a temporary feeling that hard work will bring an end to life’s struggles and success is just a few meters away now. But such dare devils are off on a journey into the dark without even a ray of light in their hands. The advice of being yourself is just the beginning. To be yourself is to be yourself to the fullest. Living every moment, striving to get all that you ever wanted; it means to grow and flourish. Honing your skills, capitalizing on your expertise and going beyond the ordinary and becoming niche. Sitting on a couch with a beer in one hand and a remote in another repeating “I am who I am” to yourself would not help.
Many people are indeed scared of improving or transforming themselves. The fear of negative opinions, the fear of criticism comes their way. If at all you are one of such scared types – that’s perfectly OK. The way out is nothing magical, just a fine tuning of your approach to your attitude will work wonders. Being overly worried about what others think about you has to be erased from your mind. You are not here to become what others want you to be. This is your life and you have complete authority on your life. Remember the old adage: You can’t keep everybody happy. Scan, concentrate, Focus on yourself. Identify your likes and dislikes. Once your likes are established, your path to your goal is ready, now you can have complete control over your life. All friends, colleagues, companies that come your way on this path are the right ones. Now you can choose who should stay and who should not, in your life’s journey. Avoid the Honey bee and the Black Caterpillar type people in your life, Ignore them. The green butterfly’s words were not only motivational, but practical too. Just be fully yourself in every stage of life, but don’t stop growing through different stages of life.
Don’t go the way the world takes you, take the world the way you go !!!!