‘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?”

  • So, so true!!!!!
    “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.”

    These words are some of the most empowering words I´ve ever heard!!! They take you out of that “mould” you think you are that´s invariable nad that cannot be changed.
    Thank you Mathew for such good advice!!

  • Omg I love you tshirt color it’s amazing :) bt I didn’t like that on your hair and about the question I need to be a stronger girl really stronger

  • Some people that don’t know me think I’m fake cuz I always acting different, but it’s not that I’m fake.I just show all different sides of me, is that wrong?

  • how are you doing hero . I hope you are OK . coz I feel that you are blue today.
    to me being myself doesn’t mean to stay the same .coz everyday pass I grow up and I learn something . and today is different than yesterday and today is going to be different than tomorrow .
    to me discovering myself led me to start designing who I want to be ,and that led me to have goals in my life .
    I think we should not stop trying to discover who we are, coz (discovering who we are ) happens when we have experiences in our life . so what I mean is life is full of experiences ,and it will show us different sides of ourselves .
    in the same time when I design and decide who I want to be , something new or new experience happen to me that lead me to discover a new thing about myself . and that make me add or re-design who I want to be .and the same thing will happen with my goals.
    what I’m trying to say is discovering myself is connected with designing who I want to be and connected with having goals in my life.

    with my family I discover myself a 100 times in a day . that’s why I keep discovering myself . :D
    if you ask me who you are ? simply I’ll tell you (KOOKY)


  • Last week I made progress. I was more open, I tried more, risked more. But one question was burning in my head. I always was afraid to be pushy while talking. If there was a group which I knew a bit and this boy i liked I was insecure to be pushy if I would join. How can I rate these situations? Sometimes I did and sometimes others joined and sometimes it wasn`t at all a problem. I am always afraid to send the wrong signals which I don`t feel and others would rate. I thought it maid be a way of excuse not to go out of my habits, not to be open. I would be glad for your advice.
    I am trying. Thank you Matt. You are great and inspiring. Happy Sunday.

  • Very interesting point your making, Matt!

    Its not about “who we are”. Forget who we are! Toss it aside, its not important. What matters is who we want to be! Our intentions, our goals, our actions. Our ideals. What we give to other people, the world, life.
    Suddenly..”who we are” seams very small and far away… :)

    Cheers Matt! All the best to you!

  • “Stop trying to sit there ‘discovering’ who you are, and start DESIGNING who you want to be”
    when I heard that, my mind exploded! Needed the reminder. Thank you!

  • As a fan of (healthy) self-improvement this pleasantly surprised me and I really like it. This is pretty big! I think I am inclined to agree. Cheers Matt.x

  • Hello Matthew!!

    That is a really great way of thinking about who do I want to become. I’ve never really thought about the phrase “just be yourself” in that way…very powerful video!! Design who we want to become… and take risks.. Thank you very much…your email videos are great!!

  • Thanks Matthew, for always producing insightful videos for us!! It’s important to just be who you want to be! There was a time that I tried to discover who I am (by meditation lol) but it’s difficult to know who I really am, it’s so much easier to just be who I want to be! Thanks for the advice and your video makes me always anticipating Sunday!!

  • I have been “trying” over a decade to get away of being a single. An advise I have kept getting was yes, ” be your self” and I always questioned about it like, “really?” I always thought ” being yourself ” wouldn’t help on anything! – it’s proven – I have been myself, that’s why I have been single! Thank you, you cleared my blockage.

  • By the way taking risks is so important! This year I have been taking risks from time to time and now I have some more new friends(both girl and guy friends!) (although sometimes I revert back to my comfort zone lol), I am sure as long as I keep taking more risks I will have more new friends and I will meet the guy very soon!!!

  • Hello Matt!

    I have been reading your blog for some months and it’s inspired me to get out of a bad patch. Have yet to pick up your book but I’m already seeing results. I’m beginning to emulate the kind of attractive energy you refer to in your posts. I have never had so many men interested in me at any one time. I am actually in demand.

    You have a gift for connecting with people, so if it weren’t for giving public speaking a try, we would be deprived of your inspiring videos. And that only serves to demonstrate what you were saying. I used to break out in sweats and panic whenever I had to give a speech. I’m getting better the more I practice. Reading this post gives me even more determination to conquer my fears.

    Thank you for your wonderful blogs and videos :)

  • Hey Matt,

    Usually I agree with your videos and nod along in agreement to the points that I feel you always get bang on but I’m afraid that I’m going to have to break rapour with you on this one.

    I feel that I am “being myself” and I feel like I know myself and happy with myself as a person.

    One of the big things about me is that I love to learn, love to explore and grow as a person so therefore that to me is “being myself” as that is part of me.

    Hope you enjoyed your trip back home.

    Take care


  • This is the best video you’ve ever done. Nothing to do with relationships but about life and finding yourself. People always fall back on “be yourself” as a phrase to counteract advice like “be confident” “be friendly” “be open” “be ambitious” “be strong”… We put “just” in there as well. “Just be yourself.” We never say “just be confident” because it’s not as easy as just being yourself.

  • How can you be so young, yet so wise? That is my question to you. Is it due to reading, observing, or something else or everything?

  • I’ve decided I need more Matthew Hussey in my life. You reconfirmed that all the personal growth work Ive done had been worth it…I can tell you exactly who I am, what I want and Im usually willing to take risks. Thanks M!!!

  • Isn’t being yourself, being relaxed and comfortable around someone you like, without putting a mask on, been able to say No when necessary and being able to put boundaries, not being afraid of the morning with no make up or to wear your old comfy clothes in front of him, being so comfortable that you crake jokes etc etc…? Isn’t this ‘being yourself’?

  • I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s very easy to let fear of failure, embarrassment or just the unknown rule your life. I wish I could reach back and tell my teenage self to listen to this video.



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