I have a number of posts regarding ‘being oneself’, ‘being true to ones beliefs’ and ‘living for the now’ in progress as we speak – but I’ve been sidetracked by that same post from Liz Strauss article entitled "Change the World: Choosing Our Own Path".
This is an amazing article. It’s already helped me write an article that expands on the circurmstances for saying "No" both in work or life. But tonight while I was traveling around her articles looking at her very interesting reading, I stumbled back into the same post!
This time I was entranced by this sentence "Authenticity knows how to choose its own path" and the comments it drew from various people.
One of the first and foremost attributes I have within myself is my unique authenticity, individual approach to life, and outlook on life.
I often see the world from an outsiders perspective. I’m the guy that says "Aliens would never land on this backward M-class planet. Who’d want to mingle with walking-meat?" This attitude was born after watching HHG2TG one too many times. But I still find I look at the whole world as if I just landed. I’d imagine visiting aliens would say things like:
"You voted that guy as your president? Again?"
"You actually drink until you kill the 10% of the few brain cells you actually use?"
"You deliberately inhale noxious fumes through a cylinder of paper? Why bother with the filter? – Give that to the guy who doesn’t want your stench!"
"When is your planet going to abolish money and go with unification and help each other at a global level?"
"Wow, all this mess, and yet you’ve not drowned in your waste!"
"We were here for the dinosaurs – and they’re still the most intelligent species on this planet?"
"Hey, where did all the Egyptians go? We left them here last time we visited! Man, those guys could ROCK!"
"Wow, you’ve got GLOBAL warming instead of a THERMONUCLEAR Winter … OK, lads, we’re outta here!"
And then they’d be gone.
Step outside the norm’, see the world from different points of view (and none at all) or just simply take a backward step once in a while. Don’t be constrained by the tunnel-vision that the corporate world so often enforces upon us. The distance between bed and the kitchen and the lounge and the front-door and the bus-stop and the window-view along the road to the cubicle to the cafe to the queue-for-bagels-and-coffee to the line-for-the-last-ticket … and back again – that’s not living. Take sideways steps sometimes. Look up. Turn left, right, right around. Make believe you are deaf for a day – it’s amazing how much more you can see!
The advantage of this is that the world will suddenly become your backyard. You’ll see everything as being part of you. Not just the sidewalk and the rooftop, but also the way people interact, the differences in peoples faces from day to day, the way the clouds slide across the rooftops. You’ll see sunlight where others see dull and grey. Your point of view will focus on the poetry of living, not just the grim reminder of that today was yesterday and is tomorrow.
Why do I suggest this? Ever seen my architectural photography? I see this because my eyes are open to changes, differences, moments and the whole. Not just the little details – but the way I thing fills a space. Architecture grows, it’s an art-form that both envelops and projects. My city was once a dust-ball of monuments – and is fast becoming a cityscape of life and invigoration. (Except for the smoke-cannisters that add nothing but pollution and ill-health!)
But authenticity comes a cost, something most people cannot live with. Uniqueness. Individualism. Oh, many people will say, "I’m an individual." But they are not, not really. Individuals are not afraid to be wrong. They are not afraid to stand in front of the crowd. They aren’t even in the crowd – they are out on the own doing their own thing. Individualists stand in the car-park photographing hubcaps while the crowd consumes meat-pies and beer, watching twenty-something men compete to kick a ball between the middle of four white posts. We are the few that stop in a crowd of black-suits to watch the woman in the red dress. We find comfort in the fact that we are unique, authentic individualists.
The important aspect to remember about being authentic is remembering where you got your beliefs from, to keep an eye on where they are going – and remembering that change is inevitable. The best aspect of being authentic is that you can, you really can change anytime you want. Today you believe in orange llamas, tomorrow you believe in green bananas. There’s no hang-up on whether it contravenes your belief-structure. An individualist listens, researches, understands – and makes changes as applicable.
At least, that’s how it is for me. "What makes you authentic?"