My daily routine usually includes reading Seth Godin’s blog, which I conveniently get sent to my mailbox every day. As so often, he succeeded to make me think and review my own use of words.
The title of the post referred to a quote often attributed to Oscar Wilde “Be yourself, everyone else is taken”. Rereading it I was agreeing with the idea until I saw that Seth doesn’t agree with it, which was the perfect trigger to be intrigued and reflect on the point Seth was making.
One of the principles of marketing according to Seth Godin is the idea that a marketer seeks to make a change, which also means that everyone who wants to have an impact is a marketer. The change we seek to make is for people who want to hear about it and who will benefit from it. To allow change to happen we create tension through work we can be proud of and the tension works because we care for the people we serve.
Now, why should we do differently for someone else than for ourselves?
If we stick to “be ourselves” we devoted ourselves to either stay the same or to accept an idea of who we are that comes from somewhere. With “be ourselves” we assume that the idea we have grown up with, received from others, assume society wants us to be is right or that we need to find the holy grail within us.
That’s where Oscar Wilde comes up again: “one’s real life is so often the life that one does not lead” by trying to be who we are we are at risk to play a role which isn’t ours.
Choosing ourselves takes a different direction, the dynamic becomes to start with who we are right now and decide for the change we seek to make for ourselves. Change by change and doing a work we are proud of, we’ll have chosen who we want to become, discovering the endless options available to us, one at a time.