We often find as many ways as we can to escape the perceived danger of ourselves. We run to the 'safety' of trying to be what we think others want us to be.
How many times have you sat in the waiting room at a job interview and seen that candidate--the one that strolls in all confidence, jokes with the receptionist, and smiles at the other applicants--and wished you could be like him/her?
How many times have you seen that person at the cocktail party who is able to nonchalantly mingle, migrating from group to group of strangers and chatting them all up with ease--and wished you had that superpower?
How many times have you seen that guy in the weirdo-neon-Hawaiian shirt with the sneakers that light up, the one who is aware of the snickers he gets--and wished you could also not care about your appearance?
The people around us indeed possess strengths that we do not.
But don't be so anxious to trade places, just yet.
We don't see how the confident applicant had to psyche himself up for hours before the interview.
We don't see how the cocktail-party-all-star can't connect intimately in a relationship.
We don't see how the guy in the weirdo outfit felt diminished as a child and now leans on attention-seeking behavior.
How many times have you felt the need to act like someone else? It's a natural part of the human experience, but it incorrectly suggests there is nothing special about who you. And you are special.
Dating as a Microcosm of Human Experience
Can you imagine what a waste of time it would be to sit across from someone on a first date and try to guess what they're looking for in a potential mate, rather than just being yourself?
What if a sarcastic, charmingly pessimistic woman tried to act sweet and super-feminine, because that's what men presumably want? Would that actually work?
What if some nerdy, shy, kind man tried to act more like a mysterious "bad boy" because he thought that's what women want? Would that fool anyone?
Stop trying to guess what others are looking for. Assume YOU are who they're looking for, and bring yourself to the situation.
Of course this doesn't mean that you're going to book every job, get every second date, or avoid awkward conversations at cocktail parties.
You'll get some wins and they will be more meaningful because the connections you make will be a better fit for your authentic self.
Progress Forward by Being You
Find as many opportunities as you can to show people who you are.
Being genuinely you can feel liberating, easy and loose. It may also be terrifying--at first.
The greatest goal in life, business, or art should be to reflect other people's humanity back at them.
This is such an inspiring notion, but how do you actually do that? By embracing yourself, flaws and all, especially when you're around others.
Not everyone will become a fan, friend or associate--and that shouldn't be your goal anyway. But what you will find is that your new bond with your own authenticity, will more easily elicit an organic response from others.
When you stop trying to get something from others, you will find you naturally have more success and wins in life and find that people will more easily gravitate to you.
Stop trying to win, be liked, impress, land the client or account, etc.
This emits a vibe of zero desperation because you're not busy figuring out how to get something from people, but rather enjoying your time with them.
This article was originally published on Inc.