Would you believe me if I told you that there is one person who is responsible for nearly all of your happiness, for nearly all of your success and all of your short comings? Sounds crazy, right? Well it’s true, this same person can be your greatest asset and your biggest supporter or this same person can be your worst enemy, it all depends on how well you know them. The more you learn about this person’s strengths, their weakness, and what makes them happy, the more they will support your dreams, and the more they will do everything in their power to ensure your happiness. Because this person has so much influence over the quality of your life you would think that it would be in your best interest to learn everything you possibility could about them, but for some reason, many of you don’t bother getting to know this person very well at all. So who is the mysterious person that holds all this power and influence over you? It is you, it is your true-self. That’s right, if you want to be successful and happy you need to learn everything you possibly can about yourself, you need to discover your passions, you need to discover your purpose and you need to discover your true identity.
The best way to get to know someone is to ask them questions (and listen to the answers) and that’s exactly what you should do, you should be asking yourself questions all the time. So to help you get started on this journey of self exploration let me give you a question that you should be asking yourself on a regular basis: If you met yourself, would you be impressed? How do you stand up to the standards you set for other people. I really want you to think about this question, are you all talk and no action or are you just about that action? Are you striving for continual self-improvement or are you satisfied being in your comfort zone? Would you consider yourself reliable, could you count on yourself when the going got tough, or would you discover that when the pressure is on, you crack, acting no better than all those “flaky” people you can’t stand? How would you stack-up against your own standards? Yes, this is a very in-depth question and finding the answer will be no easy task, hell, there is a very good chance that just the thought of trying to answer this question scares you to death! If it does (scare you) you are definitely not alone, but if you take this question seriously I guarantee you will not only learn a lot about yourself, the knowledge you gain will significantly improve your life!
When it comes to knowing yourself, ignorance is definitely not bliss, so please don’t let the fear of what you might find stop you from asking yourself this question. However, if you are freaked out, it is most likely for 2 reasons:
- Because self-analysis is not really fun especially when there is a good chance you will receive some negative feedback
- Because you think that in order to be “impressive” you have to meet some really high and very unrealistic standards
But before I discuss those 2 reasons, we first have to discuss how this question/exercise works. To get the most out of this exercise you have to look deep inside and find your true-self, not the person you pretend to be. Let’s be honest people pretend to be someone they are not all the time, have you ever been to a night club? Every single person in a night club is pretending to be cooler than they really are, they are pretending to be more out going, more fun, and more laid back than they really are. So let’s say you meet someone in a bar, how long does it take before you realize they are not as cool or as fun, or even as successful as they pretended to be, how long before you realize that their night club persona was all an act?
How about another example of people “faking it, till they make it”–the job interview. Based on what I hear at job interviews, the world is full of highly motivated “go getters”, who’s only fault is they work too hard and care too much. But fast forward 3-months to 1-year, once the excitement of the “new” job has worn off, these same employees are showing up late, leaving early, calling in sick, and doing the absolute bare minimum that is required of them. In short, it becomes very apparent that all that “hype” they talked about in the job interview was them pretending to be someone they are not.
Asking yourself this question is important because you soon start to realize that you are not just trying to convince others of how cool you are or how awesome of an employee you will be you are also trying to convince yourself. People come into my gym talking about their fitness goals all the time, then ironically, in the same breath they manage to do a complete 180, and start spouting one excuse after another. When this happens it is not necessarily because they are trying to get out of “buying” something, instead they are actually trying to convince themselves that they don’t have time, or they don’t/can’t (insert favorite excuses here ____), because who they pretend to be and who they really are, is not the same person. They say they want to get in the best shape of their life, but their true-self doesn’t want to put in that much work because it is much easier to make excuses than it is to do the required work. It is easier to play the “victim” role than it is to take responsibility for your actions. Given the choice, what would your true-self choose, the easy way or the right way?
So now that we know how to analyze our self and thus hopefully be able to answer the question truthfully, let’s discuss reason #1 why you may not like this exercise. This is a scary question to answer because what you find might be really negative. You might realize that you don’t work as hard as you thought, you might realize that you make a lot of excuses, you might realize that you are highly unreliable, and/or you might even realize that if you met your true-self that you would sadly be unimpressed. But here is the good news, you got feedback. Albeit negative feedback, valuable, how the world operates feedback.
I know. I harp on focusing on the positive and not dwelling on the negative. True- but sometime we need to be truthful with ourselves to make progress- a little tough love if you will. Believe it or not, negative feedback is used in a lot of everyday items, such as our navigation systems, cooling and heating, and even your toilet. The simplest way to think about how negative feedback works is to think about how the thermostat in your house works. You set the temperature to 69 degrees, as long as the temperature in your house is 69 degrees (the goal), no action is need, but if the temperature measures too high or too low (negative feedback) action is taken by either turning your heater off, or turning in on. Because of a negative feedback loop, you house will maintain a constant temperature. Negative feedback is used to keep you on track with the person you want to be, just like your GPS will use negative feedback to get you back on track (if you happen to take a wrong turn) to make sure you arrive at your desired destination. The overall goal is to use negative feedback to keep you on track so that the person you pretend to be and the person you really are, will finally become the same person. That is the definition of impressive. If you say you are a hard worker, work hard!, If you say, you are never late, stop being late. If you say you want to get in shape, work out and eat right on a consistent basis.
Reason #2 – You standards are too high and unrealistic. Just because you don’t have the perfect body, the perfect job, and the perfect life with the perfect dog, does not mean that you are not impressive. Guess what? Nobody is perfect and we all have our faults and we all have areas that could use improvement. I personally am not impressed with how much money you have, your job title, or what car you drive, the only thing that is impressive in my “book”: is a great work ethic, being reliable, doing what you say you will do, doing more than the bare minimum that is required of you, and most importantly striving for continual self improvement. Every champion was first a beginner, then they became a contender, and after many years of hard work, and continual self improvement they then finally a became a champion. So don’t worry about being perfect, or being the best, just worry about being better than you were yesterday–now that is impressive!
So you don’t have to be a millionaire or a superstar to be impressive but must discover your own personal “it” factor? What is “it”? To sound like Justice Potter Stewart, I can’t describe “it”, but I know it when I see it 😉 . Every champion has “it”, every successful business man or women has “it”, and I would bet that anyone that has ever impressed you has “it”. “It” is that drive to never be satisfied, “it” is that passion to never give up, “it” is the ability to take pride in your work, “it” is taking responsibility for your actions, and “it” is doing more than what is asked. So I highly encourage you to make sometime to answer this question, learn everything you can about yourself, use any of the negative feedback to get you back on track, and discover your own “it” factor. Remember be happy but never satisfied 😉