‘Be Yourself’ – Bad Advice?

Today’s video I’ve been wanting to share with you for a while.

There’s a piece of advice you’ve heard hundreds of times before that could be really holding you back.

‘Be yourself’. Seems like good advice right?

That’s what makes this line so insidious.

On the surface we feel it’s helpful, but the truth is it rarely serves us.

When someone says ‘be yourself’ all it does is give us validation for staying the same and not taking risks.

It’s a polite way of saying, ‘be who you are now, don’t explore being more evolved, advanced, or daring.’

It implies you know who you are, but do you really?

Many of us when asked this look in the rear-view mirror, looking at who we’ve been in the past.

I don’t think that our behaviours and habits are who we are. We should never confuse who we are at our core with the behaviours we’ve adopted over time.

There are parts of ourselves we won’t have experienced in a long time, or that we’ve never experienced because we haven’t pushed ourselves in certain directions.

We find out who we are by having new experiences, adventures, by trying things, figuring out what we like and don’t like, and by judging our actions upon reflection.

But we only know all this when we take chances.

If I had followed the advice ‘be yourself’ I never would have stepped up on stage to start public speaking. I was terrified of it growing up and thought I didn’t enjoy it. But once I began to get good at it, I began to adopt it as part of ‘me’.

We always have to be questioning who we think we are.

When did you decide you were any one thing? And how do you know it’s really true?

Stop trying to sit there ‘discovering’ who you are, and start DESIGNING who you want to be.

Figure out who you want to be and the goals you want to have.

–What type of person do you have to be to achieve these goals?

This is a much more practical question than trying to discover who we are.

Are you choosing the route you’re choosing because it’s really who you are, or are you saying this is who you are to avoid something you’re afraid of?

Keep taking risks, mess around with who you are, try new things, and dabble in different ideas and with different personality traits to come to a conclusion yourself from the experiences you have in your life.

If you want to hear more about this type of stuff, my Retreat program is the place where I really get into this. It’s where I go deep, helping you figure out what you really want from your life. I have one program left this year that’s not sold out in Florida in November. To check out more about it, click here.

Question of the day…

What’s one new personality trait you can try on for size this week? How can you shake things up and do something you wouldn’t normally? Let me know in the comments below!

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89 Replies to “‘Be Yourself’ – Bad Advice?”

  • I don´t agree so much this time with you.

    1. “Be yourself” may seem like the thing you´ve explain to us. “Don´t try to be the best of yourself” and that kind of things. But what truly is “act accord to your values”. Your acts have to match with the things that you belive.
    2. You´re rigth to say that people don´t even know themselves to know how to act like the things they belive because they don´t know what are their values. That doesn´t mean that you only should focus in what you want to be but in what you are.
    3. The only way to change yourself to a better version of you is to accepting what you are an knowing it. It´s true what you say that that is by experiences. You should not underestimate the power of knowing who you are to make changes. Accepting what you are doesn´t mean that you say to yourself that is not necesary to change but to be in peace with you in order to really make a deep change.
    4. I have made travels in order to know who I am. I have lived in many countries and that teachs me not only about the present but about the future (about what I want to be). So those trips that you talk about as “not practical” in the reallity, for some of us, are really practical.

    If I have a grammatical mistake I do apologize.

    1. I totally agree with your comments.
      This specific sharing is a little too shallow and too surface. In reality you can never understand who we want to be and become unless we know who we are now. Its simple, its like taking a journey, say you know you wanna go to San Francisco, but if you don’t know where you are know, how can you build a journey to a desired destination.

  • Great post, I really need to stop looking at my past self and look at who I am now. That way I can look at what areas I can change to be the person I want to be. The personality trait I am going to try is exuberant. I’m sick of being negative or negative people bring me down. Life is for the living so I’m going to start living it. Best of lucky to anyone trying to becoming your better self.

  • Hey Matt! Last week I tried something that was really something I’ll never do! I kinda told a guy I fancy him! It went horrible! He was like your so beautiful bla bla bla and then he started putting on facebook things about some other girl!!!! And said that she practically love her… I was so mad, but anyways as you’ve said I am embrassing deception ;) jiji
    I love your videos Matt you ate the best!

  • This is totally off the record, but I’ve often thought that you look like someone familiar but I couldn’t quite figure out who it was. Then after seeing this vid today and you’ve got your hat on and half a beard I realised, Matthew , who you remind me of……..Hugh Jackman ! :o)

  • Yeah totally looks like Hugh Jackman , and he is lush I wouldn’t kick him out of bed for farting I wold put my head under duvet and smell

  • You are the only life coach I can listen to and think “wow”. Great post…never thought of it like that. If you can make me sit up and listen, you’re something special. :)

  • Agree. Being yourself unfortunately has become synonymous to agreeing with your imperfections. Although it should rather mean acceptance of our imperfections without necessarily agreeing to them. This is the way to develop our personality. Also being yourself sometimes implies revealing your all to the other person, and that most often does not prove beneficial for us. Keeping some stuff to ourself adds to our VALUE :).

  • Oh Matt, you are always taking up things that are in the moment! A guy told me this and really meant it. My first thought was actually that I shouldn’t change at all.. And this is wrong! I should use my expierence, my lifechoies to BECOME more myself. Not going back into some kind of black hole and think that I will find myself there…

    Keep going!!!!

  • Hi Matt,
    A personality trait that I would like to embody would be to become comfortable with engaging in conversation with people I don’t know. When in that kid of sistuation, the thought that crosses my mind is, “What am I goin to say to this person to maintain a conversation and how do I even start a conversation with them?” I would love to get comfortable enough to be able to do this without being afraid. Do you have any direction when it comes to this area? Thanks for all you do, Matt! You inspire us to all keep putting ourselves out there and becomin the people we really want to be!

  • Hey coach,

    Great video! I love following your blog because your always an inspiration and give sound advice. So I know you’re all about getting the guy, but from my experience it seems like guys tend to prefer to be the ones taking initiative and pursuing the relationship versus being pursued. From a guys perspective, do you find this true? If I even hint at taking any interest, it never works. So I do my best to not show my emotions and always hide how I feel.

    I hope your enjoying being back home with the family and have a great week!


  • Hi Matt, I see your point about taking risks and up-versioning your self, however, one might argue if you have to attract somebody in your life by being someone else..that façade can only be put up for so long until the truth comes out. Simple example, some of your videos talk about attracting/meeting guys in bar-type settings…I have never been a bar fly (neither have any of my friends), so for me to go to a bar to find someone would be being “someone else”..its just not me and doesn’t align with my cultural values. I agree with taking risks, but sometimes your gut/intuition (your true self) is worth listening to.

  • Good Morning Matt!

    Fantastic video as usual!
    Loved the look this morning and found it difficult to focus on the important message; thankfully you have it written up as well..very helpful!
    I have always been a pleaser. It was ingrained in me from observing my parents and what was expected of me growing up. It became very easy for people to use me and manipulate me in relationships and my marriage.
    This past week after experiencing a situation that clearly emphasized to me how this trait harms me and does neither party any favors, I’ve started changing how I deal with people -especially attractive young men. I am working at doing what I want even if the guy doesn’t agree. I am working at being high quality and not dropping my standards for anyone. I’m am working at developing core confidence rather than just projecting it. I was thankful for what I experienced as I am now willing to change that part of me.
    Incidentally your techniques/book/videos are amazing and effective. I now have no shortage of guys to practice on of all ages. My favorite being the sexy dude, 13 years my junior, who looks like the love child of you, Chris O’donnell and Diego Bonetta. :)
    Enjoy your week!
    ~ Alena xo

    1. Thanks again Matt… fantastic informative video you look so HOT and that hat.

      @ Alena, I was so the person you were shy timid willing to please wanting to please.. I’m getting used manipulated and stepped on by spouse is partners family and friends..
      That was just me being me I thought… now the me is I’m very expressive I say no when I want to I don’t do when I don’t want to and I feel much much freer… its not that I’m being hateful or hurtful I’m being unhelpful anime hurtful to myself… I think I get a lot more respect from people now that I have grown a backbone… my mom always used to tell me when I was a child stand up straight where’s that backbone show me that backbone Andie… well my backbone is here and this is discovering who I am and I love it! and I am still compassionate loving affectionate I am just enjoying the new me and don’t necessarily need a partner or mate I am doing me… and finding Batman gravitate to women that with them self first. thanks again Matt I’m learning so much from you

      1. I am so sorry my speak to text is out of whack sometimes I am finding that men(not batman lol) gravitate towards women who put themselves first… take care everyone

  • Hiya, Ive read and listened to alot of you advice. My Bf has commited in that he lives with me and does alot for me but shows his love in practical ways. I have met his friends and his family.

    We are both bisexual and I am divorcing my ex female civil partner for unreasonable behaviour.

    He is the first guy that I have gone with for ten years. The problem is that he has gone from saying I want a kid with you and want to marry you to not saying it. He has also said that he does not want to go with guys. However the other day around a friends house, he said that he wouldnt rule it out! Which is the answer which I have given for women, since the beginning.

    He says this is because he is stressed with my divorce and the impact it is having on us. I have tried to be lenient as he is a real flirt and has kissed guys in front of me and said it was nothing.

    I am not the type to flirt unless I wish to take it further and I certainly dont flirt with people in front of him!

    We have had tests regarding the fertility issue and he cannot produce enough. So we have been referred. In the meantime, I feel a bit lunged at as he has said I was over weight.I am now going to the gym.

    Yet no commitment from him to cut down his drinking…

    I am doubting his commitment!

    I wanted your opinion about how I can get this on tract..

    Thank you

    Julie Sheahan

  • Hi! Mathew, could I ask you something?
    if the guy cheated on me but we are working in the same association and even sharing same group of friends. Should I just leave everything behind because every time i see him during the association gathering/ frd gathering, I feel sad and don’t even want to talk to anyone there. Or do u think I should stay? I have been trying so hard to get rid of this situation, but I just can’t act normally when he is here. What should I do?

    We didn’t REALLY go into a relationship, but we did everything that bf/gf did. This relationship had only last for 3 months. After everything ended, I talked to some friends and discover he was flirting another girl at the same time when he was with me. Therefore, each time that guy and I contact each other, we must argue, he said to me “you are dumb/ no, the girl and I are not dating (which is a lie), even i date her, people will like her more than you!/ actually, I don’t want to be friend with you, only because my friend persuade me to do so”
    Now, its already half a year, but I still cant get over it.
    :( I want to be happy and forget everything about him. What should I do?
    I am sorry to comment in an irrelevant post.
    Could you please give me a hand?

    btw, I am a girl from Hong Kong. My frds and I LOVE watching ur vdo, all those advices are very useful! :) Thanks for helping so many lost souls out there! we support you!!!

  • I want to be the kind of person who has the ability to bring others into the community I have surrounded myself with, essentially, to be the kind of person who brings people together.

  • Hey Matt,

    Like the hat mate! So I dig it about looking in the rear view mirror. Fortunately I see the idiot I was during the last 15 years or so and don’t want to ever be stuck in that death hole of self again. Being alive to yourself hurts ALOT though. The rewards of it can be validating of themselves however as you are a better version of you.

    I did some risk taking last night actually. I’ve always wanted to go the the Rocky Horror Picture Show gathering and I did corset and all! I was so excited for myself. No heels or fishnets but stockings with bows and boots (I’m a bit country and rock and roll). So I thought I would dig it because its kind of sexually liberating to go and I didn’t enjoy it!!! Something I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do. However I felt great afterward because I put myself out there in an over the top way that I have been slowly integrating back into my life. It taught me alot about me. The guy I like was there and this night proved that he has put me not only in the friend box but the girl who likes me whose in a friend box. The worst box ever. If I’m going to be in the friend box (which truth be told I’m fine with) I don’t want to be that weird girl who likes me. Its palpable that he treats me with kid gloves. So much so that i told him, you’ve got me in the WRONG box guy. I’m not pining for you. Bleh! I’ve been out with him in a group twice and we are supposed to go out but I almost don’t want to give him any more of my time because he’s pining over a girl who doesn’t even like him!! Who is thousands of miles away. Funnily he mentions she brought him a smoothie (how super sweet he says). I’m thinking didn’t I just do the super sweet move as well with some danish and chopsticks so he could use his keyboard. Not that I’m completely throwing in the towel, but I am definitely going on hiatus. NEXT!!!

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