Anyone who tells you that you should always be yourself under any circumstances does not have your best interest in mind. On the contrary, placing yourself in difficult situations for no good reason will prevent you from enjoying life and leave you little energy to develop your talents. Being authentic is great, but not at any cost.
Two critical steps that you should take
it comes to pursuing your dreams, you will be much better off if you do
it the right way. Minimizing your psychological and financial
dependence on other people's opinion is a prerequisite for being able to
make your own choices without fearing dire consequences. My point is
that it is perfectly rational to avoid confrontation in situations from
which you cannot walk away.
Increasing individual independence
from third parties' opinions is such a fundamental skill that it should
be taught at school. The idea that only millionaires possess the means
to speak out their mind is false, although unfortunately, such an
argument is frequently invoked to favour conformism. The truth is that
everyone can take steps to protect his privacy and integrity. In my
experience, the following two strategies are particularly useful:
A habit that I strongly recommend
There is little advantage in
providing details of your private life to strangers, colleagues at work,
employers, suppliers, or anyone who does not belong to your circle of
close friends. Why should you give anyone the opportunity to use that
information against you or the power to manipulate you in anyway?
is unnecessary to protect your private life and, to prying questions,
it is often wise to give a vague reply. In most cases, people will
accept your reluctance to provide personal details and change the
The bedrock of your self-confidence
Accumulating a financial cushion will do wonders to protect your peace
of mind and personal freedom. The temptation to engage into doubtful
business or professional practices can hardly tempt a man who possesses
enough savings. He will be able to used those to quit his job and spend a
couple of months searching for a new position.
Nobody needs to
be a millionaire to be able to do that. The real bedrock of
self-confidence is not magic or make-belief, but financial foresight. If
you save regularly every month, it should not take you too long to
accumulate a financial cushion that can take you through a rough period
in your professional life.
Make the decision to bring your
dependence on other people's opinion down to a negligible level. Find
polite ways to show your determination to protect your private life. It
is easier than you think and it will save you lots of problems down the
Establish a reasonable monthly savings goal for yourself
and stick to it until you reach your desire level of safety. By adopting
these simple measures and implementing them consistently, you can
substantially enhance your well-being, peace of mind, and happiness.
For more information about rational living and personal development, I refer you to my book The 10 Principles of Rational Living
[Image by Ross Elliott under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]