To be, rather than to seem

Most of us know someone who will say or do anything to further his or her own self-serving agenda. These people are two-faced. They are suck-ups. They seem at times to be a team player, but in reality they are only looking out for themselves. In short, they are hollow and lack any real substance.

Most of us are not these über-phonies described above. However, I think that most of us, to one degree or another, have these natural inclinations to want to seem to be more than what we really are.

So why do we have these tendencies? I think its part of our natural animal defense mechanism. As part of the scarlet king snake’s defense mechanism, it mimics the appearance of an extremely venomous coral snake. The praying mantis (or walking stick) appears to would-be predators as a harmless tree branch. We humans also use false appearances as a defense – a defense to guard our own insecurities and inadequacies.

There are 5 simple rules to help overcome being a phony:

  1. Stop hanging around image consultants. You’re not after changing the surface you. You’re after molding and defining your integrity and character – your true self.
  2. Work on yourself on your own time. When no one is watching, that is the best time to work on who you are. Silent, anonymous acts add more to our character than loud, attention-getting acts.
  3. Do what’s most important to you. Take time to list the things that are most important to you and make sure every daily action (or non-action!) you take gets you closer to what matters to you most.
  4. Learn to truly listen. I’ve found that the better listener you are, the more you learn from others which enables you to discover more about who you really are.
  5. Be true to your potential. We are all keenly aware of our shortcomings. Despite our shortcomings, innate in all of us is the potential to make a real difference. Live worthy of your potential!

In the pursuit of personal growth, remember the motto of North Carolina: To be, rather than to seem.

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