“People won’t quote the sentences you carefully designed to sound clever. They will quote the things that spilt out randomly while you were talking from the heart.” — Me
Similarly, when you try too hard to be funny, not many people will laugh. Have you noticed? You are much more likely to come across as cool and entertaining when simply being yourself — and not reflecting too much on what you should say or do.
When you are relaxed, you are present in the moment. And when you are present in the moment — you are typically relaxed.
I noticed I can be an incredibly enjoyable companion to others — provided that I am enjoying myself. Recently, I attended a party with high school friends. For the first time in a while, I allowed myself to not care what other people would think.
I spoke to the friends I wanted to speak to. When I felt like leaving the conversation, I just did.
I danced away, not thinking whether I’d make a fool of myself. These people have known me too long for me to feel embarrassed among them.
Consequently, my friends loved my company and were drawn to me. It’s been a while since I felt so popular and likeable in a big group of people.
I realised I don’t let myself behave this way very often, though. Usually, I carefully watch my moves. I worry about what people will think when I speak my mind. And more often than not, I follow others in social situations — even if I don’t like what they bring to the table.
Regardless of what we tend to think about ourselves — humans are not very rational in making decisions. We mostly interact with each other basing on feelings. We spend time with those who make us feel good — or rather, we somehow feel good in their presence.
Similarly, we follow the ideas and behaviours of those who we feel to be confident in what they are doing. Look at the political scene today: are populist politicians like Trump gaining popularity because of the content of what they say and do?
Of course not. It is the unquestioned self-confidence, arrogance even, that attracts the followers. It is the feeling people experience while listening to the leader that makes them give in.
So if you want to make an impact by getting people to follow — you have to commit to being yourself first. There is no other way.
You cannot design your facade image according to what you think people think. You cannot make an equivalent of a business plan and follow pre-designed steps to make people feel attracted to you.
You must focus on becoming yourself.
I am using the word “becoming” because I don’t think many of us have ever fully been themselves. We are always weaved into our social network, conforming to rules that are not ours and mastering the art of pleasing others. That’s not being yourself — and that’s never going to make people follow you.
The seemingly trivial pursuit of being yourself really isn’t easy. For a big part, we are like chameleons. We observe and absorb the values of our immediate environment — and we come up with ways of fitting in. That’s how Nature designed it.
For the past three years, I have changed countries and environments numerous times. The setups included (but were not limited to) my family home, meet-ups with my digital nomad friends, working at a hotel, joining meditation retreats and drinking with my high school pals. Oh boy, how different it was to be in each of those environments.
It literally felt like I had a different identity in every setup. Wherever I went, I instinctively dressed up in “appropriate” values. I conformed. I did my best to fit in.
Until I realised that if I honestly want to live life my way — and to attract the people who are like me — this is not the way to go. The values I adopted were useless, for they were only reflections of other people’s beliefs.
I needed to find the courage to stand out.
Because it was not my truth I was dressing up in. It was somebody else’s.
Now I am alone again — and gradually digesting the past three years of gathering life experience, diving into new beginnings and searching inside of myself. And it seems that I have found enough for now. Enough to be able to put it into action.
This action has to be built on me being myself. Me speaking and laughing from the heart, so I can attract others. I need to attract others — those who are similar to me.
Not for the sake of having thousands of followers on Medium. Not for the sake of becoming popular, feeding my ego or manipulating crowds.
I simply realised that fighting alone against the whole world is hard. It is not what I want to do. I’d rather find my tribe and continue the journey together.