The amazing basketball coach John Wooden was given a seven point creed by his father when he graduated from grade school. The first point was to be true to yourself. Coach Wooden tried to abide by the creed for the rest of his life.
So what does it mean to be true to yourself? We often spend so much time dealing with everyday life that we lose tract of who we are. Many of us truly don’t know who we are or how to find out. To be true to yourself, you first have to recognize who you truly are.
Start by determining your true core values. What’s the most important things in the world to you. I heard how to figure out your values at a seminar many years ago. The presenter first asked the audience who would walk across the stage to pick up a $20 bill. Almost all of the people raised their hands. Then he asked if there was a 6 inch plank on the ground, who would walk across it for the money. Most everyone raised their hands. Then he asked who would do it if the plank were six feet off the ground, or 20 feet up. Finally he asked, if that plan were stretched across the top of the World Trade Center buildings (remember, this was a long time ago) what would you cross that beam for, specially on a windy day. He said, that is what you value most in life. For me, it was my family and a few very close friends.
Take some time and ask yourself these tough questions. Figure out what you value the most. What, or who, would you risk your life? What, or who, would you risk injury for? What, or who, would you be willing to invest time into? These questions will help you shape what, or who, you value most. For some, like me, its certain people. For others it might be money, fame, stability, adrenaline, religious faith, or power. Everyone is different, but we all have some type of values.
Once you know your values, you can prioritize them. Why prioritize them? Because your top priorities should be where you invest the most of your time, money, and talent. If a family member is important to you and you haven’t talked with them in a few months, why not invest a little time and call them instead of watching some rerun on television that you’ve already seen. Why not send a quick text and let someone know you’re thinking about them.
If helping others is important, maybe volunteer to read to children at your local school. If making money is a top priority, maybe put down that beer and spend the time learning how to make the amount you want.
Stay away from the trap of getting lost in everyday life. Take the time to know your values, know yourself. Then, act accordingly. Heck, why not make a plan on how to be true to yourself. For example, if you’re a Christian and want to learn more about the Bible, maybe join a Bible study. Maybe decide to read and study one chapter of the Bible a day.
The only thing you still need is the courage to act in accordance with your true self and the discipline to follow through.
These steps to acting in accordance with your beliefs will have the end result of you being true to yourself. When you are true to yourself and have discipline about staying that way, you can become the greatest you that you can be. And isn’t that a big part of what life is really about.