Being Authentic vs. Being an Ass: What Does it Mean to “BE” Yourself?

Being Authentic vs. Being an Ass: What Does it Mean to “BE” Yourself?

(http://brendonburchard.tumblr.com/post/114912499013/can-authenticity-suck)

I found this post through my Tumblr. and it was so fascinating to me.  Especially because I grew up in a culture where you don’t showcase who you really are.  I always had a hard time to understand what “being yourself” really means.  I have to admit I sometimes misunderstand being authentic from being fearful (→please read #2 below).

My life is my practice.  Everyday.

SUMMARY:

As the world threatens us at every turn to conform, to become mindless, to act as something we are not, like the caricatures  of greed and indolence on television, we must grasp tightly the value of authenticity. We must demand of ourselves that we act from our own truth and fully express who we are and who we wish to be.

But let us be weary: Not all forms of so-called ‘authenticity’ are… well, the real thing. Keep these points in mind:

1. Be Authentic, Not Abusive: Some people use “authenticity” as an excuse to be socially abusive. They say something rude or demeaning to others and then justify it with a flippant, “Well, I was just being real and honest.” No, you were being rude and oblivious. In each of our hearts there is an authentic desire to speak our mind but also care for other people. Being discourteous flies in the face of the divine drive for connection. Not all your interpretations of others – and your opinions are interpretations, not truths – must be spoken. The good news is you can always be who you are, authentically, without discounting others. You can be supportive, kind, inspiring, compassionate, and empathetic to people and still be genuine about your impressions, opinions, and ideas… when you are genuinely asked for them.

2. Be Authentic, Not Fearful: A lot of people use genuineness as a shield or mask. They exclaim, “That’s just way I am!” or “Don’t tell me what to do! That’s not authentic tome!” or “I know what I like and who I am – I just don’t like that!”  But there’s a difference between being authentic and being fearful. Boxing yourself into a belief about who you are and what you are capable of can diminish your growth. Being so “set in your ways” might seem authentic, but it can prevent you from learning, developing, evolving, attaining new skills and competencies. To learn new thoughts, feelings and behaviors means pushing outside the comfort zone of “me”. It’s requires focus, discipline, effort and habit until the uncomfortable becomes comfortable, until a new you, a more true you, emerges.

3. Explore Who You Could Be. If you are stuck in life because you are too proud of who you are, maybe it’s time to explore who you could be. Ask yourself, “Who would I truly be if I were more courageous? Who would I have to become to grow into my highest self? What uncomfortable thing might I have to attempt in order to stretch and attain my dream? Stretching the conceptual boundaries of your belief and behavior is how you open yourself to the next level of success.

You can choose to develop new ideas, skills, abilities, interests, and relationships in order to become your highest self, a person who attains greatness. When you do, you choose a growth mindset over a fixed mindset, push through your self-labels, and start to live what we call The Charged Life!

FULL TRANSCRIPT:

Does authenticity ever suck?

Yeah! I think it probably does, once in a while. Good question. I think authenticity is so celebrated. Which it is, it should be!

Be authentic, be real, be the true you. It is the oldest and best advice still in all of life philosophy, personal development, psychology, neuroscience, happiness studies; you name it. It all comes down to, BE YOURSELF.

And that’s so critical in a world where it’s just constantly threatening for us unless we conform that when the world wants to make something of you that you’re really not:

  • That’s when we feel the pressure.
  • That’s when we feel tyranny.
  • That’s when we feel oppressed.
  • That’s when we feel so frustrated and trapped in other people’s expectations and rules.

That’s an awful place to be in. So, I think that’s the best advice ever. Be yourself.

My father who I lost to leukemia, many of you guys know, in 2009; that was his advice to us. Be yourself.

I love that.

It’s what made my whole career, my whole success with these 20 million people watching these videos along with you. That’s happening because they know that I’m just doing this. I don’t have a script, I don’t have notes. I get the question, I go. I have the note, I talk. You know, whatever it is. And so, here it is.

I think this idea though that authenticity is always a good thing—some people take it in a weird direction.

Be authentic and authenticity is such a buzzword. Some people use it as an excuse to be socially rude.

“Well I’m just telling you, I’m just being real and telling you how I feel.”

You’re like, “No, you’re being an ass.”

There is a difference between being real and authentic, and being an ass. And I think that’s really important to realize, isn’t it true?

Like authenticity, you want to know how people really are. You want to know what they really think, what they really feel.

When they act, you want them to know that’s our true intentions and true actions—not doing it for manipulative basis. We want to know is that, “Oh, that’s really who they are.”

But, it’s just like, you know what, someone might say, “Who I am is I’m a someone who doesn’t take a shower.”

And they show up at your house stinking. And they show up all around stinking. And at some point, you’re like, “Yeah, that’s genuine. That’s authentic. You stink.” But come one there’s also social appropriateness.

We live on a planet with seven billion other people. A lot of people, it would be authentic for them to say very-very rude things to people. To point out someone’s weakness, isn’t that being real? When someone is weak and hurting; to comment on it.

“Well I feel, my natural inclination, what’s genuine for me is that you suck at this.”

We could dash a lot of dreams by being super authentic and genuine all the time. I mean, there is this thing called social intelligence—the idea that we can support and inspire other people—that we can also be kind, compassionate, empathetic human beings.

Could you imagine if someone has lost their parent and you’re like, “Well, when I lost my parent didn’t mean much to me”. Because if you had that situation where you had a bad parent and you didn’t have a relationship with them and you could say … sure you could say that. It’d be genuine for you. “Didn’t mean anything to me, don’t know why you’re crying.”

That would be genuine for you but it could destroy them. It could be so rude to them.

So there is that appropriate thing. And I hate the word appropriate in general but I think it’s important when we start talking about the power of authenticity. It’s like yes,

  • Be genuine,
  • Be truthful,
  • Be you, and also
  • Be compassionate to other people.

Recognize that other people might not have:

  • The same journey,
  • The same feelings,
  • The same reality as you.

And if you can understand that, then you’ll know, well what is appropriate to share and not to share. And if you think about it, some of the greatest conflicts you’ve had in your life is when you said what was true for you but someone said, “Well that’s not what’s true for me.”

They had a different interpretation so you battled and it’s not that they weren’t being authentic and you weren’t being authentic. It’s that we interpreted things different. We have different values, different meanings.

And so, if your authenticity is this, “Well this is just the way I am.” And you push yourself to the world it’s kind of a little bit … immature.

That the other people are also doing their best to be themselves and we have to be honoring and respectful of that.

So, I think authenticity only really fails when we fail to realize and to accept other people and to be compassionate to other people. To never allow our authenticity or our genuineness to be rude or discourteous because I also think we have a lot of people right now, I mean, I don’t know about you but our culture has gotten incredibly critical, incredibly rude.

And those people would say, “Well, I’m just being genuine with my feelings”. No you’re being an ass and let’s learn the difference so that we can all be honoring and respecting of each other while we maintain our own individuality and authenticity.

I would say the second place that authenticity gets in the way of our lives is when we define who we are and we stick to it and we stop evolving and growing.

People say this all the time, “Well that’s just the way I am” and they say it with a great medal of pride after they’ve done something maybe wrong or after they’ve done something that wasn’t appropriate to the social context they were in.

“Well, that’s just the way I am.”

Or they say it like, “Well that’s not authentic to me.”

And what the reality is, it’s a challenge to them. It would require them to gooutside their comfort zones.

A lot of people use genuineness or authenticity as a shield, as a mask, as a thing that would prevent them from:

  • Developing and learning,
  • Attaining new skills and competencies.

And so it’s an excuse. “Well, I just don’t like that.”

Well, how do you know you don’t like that? Have you tried it?

“Well yes, I’ve tried it when I was nine years old and I didn’t like it then.”

Hmm…well…maybe it was authentic for you as a nine-year-old but you’re an adult now. Could we give it a try again?

It’s like, come on!

If you are stuck in your life because you are so proud of who you are, maybe it’s time to explore who you could be. Maybe it’s time to explore.

  • Gosh, could I learn some new thoughts?
  • Could I develop some different senses of feeling and presence?
  • Could I learn some new behaviors that may be with it push me outside my comfort zone where I don’t feel like that’s me?

But look every great growth that ever happened from every great person, they were required to do things that they didn’t want to do:

  • In order to attain their mastery.
  • In order to attain their degree.
  • In order attain their greatness.

Look, I never wanted if I went back to my younger self, I never wanted to do these videos. That wasn’t even in my mind, my concept. I was terrified of speaking. Public speaking terrified me like it terrifies most of the public. I would … if I had to present something in class in like middle school and high school, I was terrified.

But after my car accident, after I realized that we all get second chances in life and I wanted to share that message, I thought “If I want to share a message that inspires the world, I’m going to have to become a different person.”

And I don’t mean that in a negative way, I mean that is we have stages of our own development.

I hope that you’re a lot different today as you were when you were 18. If not, unless you’re 19, I know you’re still at it but I mean come on if you’re the same person, if you haven’t developed:

  • Any new ideas,
  • Any new skills,
  • Any new abilities,
  • Any new interests,
  • Any new relationships

In the last decade then you’re not growing; don’t fool yourself. You’re not being authentic, you’re being fearful. And there’s a big difference between the two.

And I had to do that for myself. So, I’m not challenging here. It was the same thing for me. I used to say okay. Back then it would have been easy to say, “Well, I’m just not a public speaker.”

  • It’s just real for me that that’s uncomfortable.
  • It’s just real for me that I’m not good at this.

I wasn’t born with that so it’s not going to be a talent. No, no, no, no, don’t fool yourself. Everything we have learned in talent development is that:

  • It is about focus.
  • It is about discipline.
  • It is about hard effort and a habit over and over and over again.
Until those things that we find uncomfortable become comfortable. We learn to gain a confidence in things that are uncomfortable because we know we will figure it out. And if you’re not willing, it’s like, if you go look at your dreams—sometimes to achieve those dreams, you got to become the next level of you to get there.

And if you’re just like, “Well that’s not my style, that’s not who I am. I’m so authentic in my bubble of competency and reality today.” Then I worry for you and it’s time to have a different mindset as we learned from positive psychology there’s two ways to approach the world:

  1. A fixed mindset, and
  2. A growth mindset.

And that growth mindset allows you to push through your own self labels to say, “Who would I have to become to deserve that dream? Who would I have to become to move toward that dream?”

  • That is real for me.
  • That is authentic.
  • That is in-line with my values.

But it’s allowing myself to stretch myself to go there.

Because if you won’t stretch yourself, your concept of yourself, your own boundaries of belief and behavior; you’re never going to reach that next level of success.

I know that it’s not nice to say because I’m the inspiring guy on YouTube but let’s be honest with ourselves.

Sometimes we limit our own definition of ourselves and we call it authentic and real and genuine and what we are is scared. And we need to look at ourselves and say, “Okay, let’s go to the next level.”

  • What’s it going to take?
  • What new thing would I have to develop?
  • What new part of me would I have to find?

I had to find the communicator within. It was there, I never had saw it before but I knew if I’m going to deserve this dream of making a difference, if I’m going to get to follow my passion, to be a writer, and to be a trainer, I’m going to have to teach myself to do those things.

If I want to reach the world, those things are important to me. I better learn them, even though that’s not me now.

I would never have said, “I’m going to be the YouTube guy.” I never meant 30 million people to watch my videos in the last 12 months. I never have thought that would happen.

It happened because I said years ago, “This is important. This medium could be important for me to serve and to make my difference in the world so I’m going to challenge the style and the person who I am that says I can’t do this and I’ll become the person who can. It’s that important to me”

I hope that you’ll follow that same idea in your own life because the real you is a much stronger you than you probably ever anticipated.

Like this? Please share it with your friends so that your loved ones can stretch their conceptional boundaries of their belief and behaviors and reach their next level of success. – Brendon

La Belle Epoque: Sunday Treat

La Belle Epoque: Sunday Treat

Ayako was making fun of my homebody-ness today at her store, Marigold and Mint.

It is taxing for me to work with bunch of people in so many different level during weekdays so I limit my weekend just to see very few close friends.  I sometimes don’t even see anyone but Archie.

Sunday started with Starbucks Reserve, Kenya Sangana, very blight and juicy coffee in bed.  This is one of my favorite moment of the day.  Then, I met up for a coffee at Milstead in Fremont with a couple of friends who will be traveling to Tokyo and Kyoto with us.

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Last stop of today’s outing is Marigold and Mint.  Ayako showed me this French tulip called “La Belle Epoque” and I fell in love with the vintagey color of this flower.  She made a small bundle of these tulips that are looking so lovely in my living room now.

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All I will do this afternoon is read.  Nothing else.  This is my favorite way to spend my Sunday with Archie and my chunky Chihuahua.

Guilt Free, Calorie Free (not quite but still): Quinoa Salad

Guilt Free, Calorie Free (not quite but still): Quinoa Salad

After eating “dirty chips” (it’s basically nachos.  Potato chips are used instead of corn chips with pull pork, gorgonzola cheese and BBQ sauce) at Maison Tavern (nothing to mention here…I am not a big fan of this place) last night, my stomach has not been happy.  It was too late to regret it when I left the place.

So here is my “feeling guilty” lunch.  I ate oranges and apple for breakfast and quinoa & arugula salad dressed with nutritious yeast, olive oil, lemon juice, champagne vinegar, white wine and salt for lunch.  This should even out 5,000 calories that I had last night, right (I am trying SO hard to feel better about myself)?  You all agree that I can consume more calories at tonight’s dinner since I was being good all day, don’t you?

Happy Friday 🙂

Rika’s Asparagus vs. Dad’s Asparagus: It’s Spring!

Rika’s Asparagus vs. Dad’s Asparagus: It’s Spring!

My mom sucked at cooking asparagus.  It’s more like my dad actually.  He liked vegetables well done (ugh) and she cooked them the way he liked.  I didn’t questioned why my dad liked vegetables cooked that way but I never liked it.  He almost eats anything raw.  Fish, beef, chicken, beans and so forth.  I always thought asparagus tasted like wilted old grass when I was a kid because of this.  I was never a fan until I was in my early 20’s.

My friend Rika and I went out to eat and drink a lot.  We explored the culinary wonderland of Tokyo.  We ate French, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Ramen, Cuban, German, Hawaiian, Greek, Jamaican, Burger, Pizza, Cajun…you name it.  One day I saw her eating asparagus raw.  I had never met anyone who eats asparagus raw until then.  Light bulb moment.  Ah!  Why the hell didn’t I think of that??  I don’t even have to cook it!  Since that moment on, I haven’t cooked my asparagus until they get wilted.  Never.

It is spring.  My favorite farmers market vendors sell precious green asparagus.  They are beautiful.  Now this is my favorite way of cooking asparagus – lightly sautée in a bit of olive oil, chopped garlic, salt and a good squeeze of lemon juice.  These green stalks have such an ear pleasing snap sound as you bite into them.

Two interesting lessons from my dad and my friend.  Dad, I am sorry but this is how I cook asparagus and I hope you would like it someday.

Complicated Times: Simple Reminder

Complicated Times: Simple Reminder

All I need is a very simple reminder when it feels like my life is getting complicated.

WAKE UP – yes, I did that.  I got out of the bed this morning.  Barely, but I did it.

KICK ASS – I am not sure I did kick ass truly but at least I tried.

REPEAT – OK, I will see tomorrow.

Only three things.  I think I can handle that.  I would add one more here, “Stay Humble.”  I look forward to welcoming tomorrow.

In Three Weeks: 1200+ Years Old City – Kyoto

In Three Weeks:  1200+ Years Old City – Kyoto

I called our dog sitter today and she told me she was going to take care of my overweight Chihuahua.  Right after getting off from the phone with her, a flush of excitement went through my body.  It was quite strong.

I am leaving for Kyoto exactly in three weeks.  My parents and my brother’s family still live in Tokyo and I am not telling them that I am coming to visit Japan.  This is a huge deal.  Please don’t get me wrong, I enjoy visiting my family every time I go back.  I have to admit however, I don’t feel like I “travel” when I visit my family.  I enjoy the food, hanging out and catching up with them but it is visiting my family, not a travel experience. 1518981_10152091511682230_328486914_n

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Kyoto’s history starts in year of 794 when Emperor Komu stated Kyoto as the capitol city.  It is 1200 years old and there are over 3,000 temples in the city.  Millions of old buildings are still intact.  Not like in Seattle (ugh!  Ugly new developments!), they don’t demolish  old architecture. During World War II, the Allies actually did not bomb Kyoto because of the conscious choice not to destroy tons of historical sites.  In a way, it is like Paris.  Kyoto tries very hard to preserve the way of living and Japanese historic culture.  It does not mean they are not open minded.  It just means they embrace and respect its history.

My grandma was born in 1906 who passed away in 2004.  She had been through a lot.  She was a strict Asian grandma yes.  I remember she never wanted to do things in a convenient way.  For example, she taught me how to make bonito/kelp stock (dashi) from scratch instead of buying ready-made packets at the store.  She showed me how to filet a fish yourself instead of buying fileted fish.  Those thing take time.  To me, people in Kyoto in general seem that they choose traditions over convenience.

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I am beyond excited.  I have my passport, Green Card and the bestest travel companion that I can ever ask for.  I am all set.

What would you like to do if you have a chance to visit to Kyoto?

Sakura: Cherry Blossom

Sakura: Cherry Blossom

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Every year I experience this bitter sweet feeling.  I grew up in Tokyo, Japan.  I had been waiting for getting out of that country since I was five even though I am very proud Japanese.  I felt like I was living inside of small box and there was no way to go and I was dying to search for my independence and freedom.  Now, I love Seattle.  This beautiful city has been treating me so wonderfully and it has been delighted to be here.

It is spring and cherry blossom (sakura) season.  I think sakura is very special to majority of Japanese people and the most admired flower/tree in Japan.  I see gorgeous sakura trees in Seattle as well.  Every time I see it, my heart aches.  I feel slightly homesick.  It is interesting indeed to feel that way because I always tried to be away from Japan.

When I retire, I want to go visit Japan every spring to see these sakura trees.  Then I die, I want my ashes to be spread underneath of my favorite cherry tree.  It would be nice if the tree is one of these in the photo (this is very near to where I used to live).

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Alphabet Questions: T-Z (Y: crying is good for you)

Alphabet Questions: T-Z (Y: crying is good for you)

T – Time you woke up?:  2:30

U – Umbrella color?:  blue

V – Very best friend?:  Archie who is currently suffering from allergy

W – Which celebrity I’d marry?:  Jimmy Fallon

X – X rays I’ve had?:  chest

Y – Your last time you cried?:  Today.  I was reading this Japanese book and this one character who is 70 year old cancer patient and has a daughter who is about to be married.  He didn’t want to tell her about his illness before her wedding so he was trying to hide it from her.  But she knew and he also knew that she knew.  That scene.

Z – Zodiac sign?:  Libra

Not Too Odd (actually quite nice): Oddfellows Cafe + Bar

Not Too Odd (actually quite nice):  Oddfellows Cafe + Bar

Rustic, funky, vintagey, hip and eclectic. All of it.

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This place is one of a few cafes where you want to spend for hours.  One of those places you get immediately comfortable and hanging out with hip crowd.  Oddfellows Café is located inside of Oddfellows building, built in 1908 (my house is built in the same year!).  This café still has original old wooden floors, bricks and windows and offers rustic and environmentally sustainable fare.

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Please sit for hours when you visit here.  You will enjoy music, handcrafted espresso drinks, dishes made with locally sourced ingredients and lots of charm.  This is one of places I proudly can say “very Seattle” – rustic, funky, vintagey, hip and eclectic