Why ‘Just Be Yourself’ Is Lousy Advice When You’re Young.

Here’s a piece of advice I don’t much care for, especially when it’s directed towards young people: Just be yourself.

You’re giving a talk? Just be yourself.
You’re writing a paper? Just be yourself.
You’re going on a date with Cindy Crawford? Just be yourself.

But the problem is, What if you’re not really sure who you are yet?

To the confused souls among us — and yeah, I’d put myself in that category some days — “Just be yourself” is lousy advice. Before you can be yourself, you have to find yourself.

That takes time. We find ourselves through trying new things, through experimenting, through stepping out beyond our boundaries and seeing what we like and what we don’t.

And we never really stop searching for who we are. There will come a time when you find a version of yourself that you really like. That’s fantastic.

But it’s only the 1.0 version. You cant stop there. You can’t stop growing. You can’t stop trying new things.

I’d like to do away with “just be yourself.” I’d rather tell someone, “Do something that scares you.” Action leads to discovery.

Don’t settle for being someone you’re not totally sure of. Do the work, and through that, you’ll find yourself.