The biggest thing I wish I had done years ago. Stop lying to myself. I didn’t realize I was doing it. “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool” – Richard P Feynman
I recently asked myself, what advice would I have given to my younger self? Besides the obvious of, forget college just put all your tuition money into Google stock, I was able to come up with a very simple statement I wish I had heard. “Stop lying to yourself”. The problem is, I wouldn’t have realized I was lying to myself. This is because I was busy bullshitting everyone else and didn’t realize what that was doing to my own self-talk. Another thing impacted by you lying, is the level of truth others will give to you.
After graduating college I had to deal with the annoying question of, “So what are you going to do next?” Early in undergrad I had always expressed my interest in Law School and that set the script in everyone else’s mind as to what I was going to be doing. When you tell someone something about your plan and they don’t see you for months, it’s natural for them to assume you’re out making your plans happen. Then they see you and you’re still in the same spot, uh-oh. Unfortunately for me, I did this to myself for way too long. I didn’t always say Law School, but I had this, that or the other which I planned to do. All the while knowing inside of me that it wasn’t what I wanted to do. Also unfortunately, we live up to what we speak about everyday. I was spending too much time talking about the wrong fake-plan to even come up with a real one. No matter how terrible of a person you are, none of us like to lie to others, so what we tell them is often what we end up doing.
For this reason I sadly avoided family members and friends at every chance I got because I just didn’t want to lie to them, but I also didn’t want to tell them I had no clue. A common problem with our society is that it seems after college, your education is assumed to be done. I knew mine wasn’t. My degree to me was my back-up plan if I ever needed one, but I knew my self education would be far more valuable to me if I could just keep my head above water long enough to obtain it.
Lying to others is ultimately lying to yourself. So stop it. I got the most amazing idea one day and since sticking to it, the results have been quite astonishing. I decided that I wanted to be a comedian. The story behind this could be a matter of two or three pages to explain (I will happily do so in person) but regardless, it was a decision I came to.
It’s then that I decided the truth was the best, since lies hadn’t worked. From that point on, every new person I met was told I was a comedian, once they prompted me with the age old question of, “what do you do?” Amazingly, no one called me a liar, despite how outrageous that sounded. It became an instant conversation starter, and even more importantly, it motivated me to stay true to myself and to my new found journey. Since then the amount of people who have come out of the woodwork to help me in my pursuit is downright astonishing. It’s quite amazing how things can start happening for you once you begin to view them as happening for you instead of to you. I have found myself in ever more engaging conversations with people who want to tell me jokes, want to tell me stories, or just generally express a genuine curiosity about my journey.
A last great thing which has happened since being more honest. People have become more honest with me. Its astounding how many people want to tell you their crazy hopes and dreams when you just casually mention yours as if they are an easily obtainable reality. I’ve had lawyers tell me they wanted to do non-profit work, accountants say they wanted to run coffee shops, and an IT specialist tell me he just wanted to build houses. When you open yourself up to your own truth, you will also open yourself up to others.