Self-improvement is my business, and business is…barely adequate and could be substantially better. As I’ve repeatedly implied (or stated outright in my writing), I wasn’t born the way I am now (and bear in mind that I’ve never referred to myself as someone who is an alpha male 100% of the time). My own journey of self-improvement was a long and arduous one.
Like many that are first seeking that mythical goal of self-improvement, I sought advice from others. And with that wealth of experience—remember that I’ve always said you can learn just as much from a bad experience as you can a good experience—I can safely say that one of the worst pieces of advice I’ve ever heard from anybody is the two word aphorism “Be Yourself.”
While this saying was undoubtedly created with the best of intentions (ie, to get children to stop blindly following trends), it has long since been corrupted into one of the greatest excuses for human failure the English language has, and not only in the context of social interactions, where the term likely originated.
The fact of the matter is, sometimes “yourself” needs to change, because “yourself” sucks! And why would anybody want to be somebody that sucks? Just to refer to my own experience, if I had stayed “myself” the way I was when I was 13 years old, I would be one of two things:
1) An unemployed fat loser who masturbates five times a day (based on what my daily schedule of work and “Recreation” was as a teenager)
2) In prison (due to my penchant for schoolyard fights and general misbehavior). In either case, the way I was was objectively terrible, and needed to be changed.
Instead of “be yourself”, the way the phrase ought to be phrased is “make yourself”—make yourself into somebody worthy of respect. It is a slow and arduous process, which is why I always say “from strength come all virtues”—fitness training is something you can do completely by yourself, and thus fail and mess up at as much as you want without the slightest fear of embarrassment. With that, you will have created a strong base of physical ability and (more importantly) self-discipline, that you can use for any of your endeavors. And, arguably the most important of all, once you’ve made your body better, you realize that anything can be studied and trained and improved upon. Take it from me, somebody who went through that exact path to become a better man.
But, of course, a message of “put in time and hard effort into making yourself into a better person” isn’t exactly the sort of fluffy, feel good aphorism that sells to middle school guidance counselors and daytime talk show hosts with recommended reading lists. So instead, we’re told to be content with who we are right now, with the unstated implication that attempting to change yourself is somehow “selling out”. And society decays just a little bit more each time somebody internalizes the idea of being themselves, rather than realizing that they should only start “being themselves” once they’ve made themselves, and become somebody worth being!
Anyway, the point is, so many of the dysfunctions of modernity are caused by public school guidance counselors. But then again, we all know how terrible public schools are.