Until I was about 25, I thought relentlessly, Who should I be like?
I looked to successful friends, role models, even characters in movies or plays.
When I was in high school, I would listen to the music my friends liked even though I didn’t really enjoy it.
Last year, in trying to make YouTube videos on self-improvement, I tried my best to copy my favorite filmmakers who made the same content.
After starting my own business, I read countless business and self-help books to figure out who I should emulate to become prosperous.
In my work, my relationships, and my creative endeavors…I’ve spent an ungodly amount of time asking that same throbbing question…
Who should I be like?
As we get older, one of the frustrating (and uplifting) things we realize is that cliches are cliches for a reason: They remain true.
We can turn to one of the top five cliches to answer this uncomfortable question:
Be like you.
In a world of seven billion humans, there is only one person on the planet who has the exact same combination of interests, strengths, and perceptions as you have. And it’s…me.
Just kidding. It’s you.
Of course, it’s necessary to be influenced by others. Soak in ideas and motivation from the people you respect. There’s always something to learn from everyone.
But only you can take what you learn and make it totally your own.
I’ve written about 1000 blog posts on this site you’re reading. There’s not a single word I haven’t taken from something else.
My mom and teachers taught me how to read and write.
All my ideas have come from experiencing the outside world—conversations with friends, stories, and lessons I’ve learned and pondered over.
But they’ve made it onto this screen because they’ve traveled through the filter that is my brain and then out of my fingertips and onto the keyboard.
Thus making them mine.
The same is true for everything you do and say.
What do you value and cherish? What excites you? What do you love?
Do that. Do it all the time. Get really fucking good at whatever you hold dear to your heart.
Because that’s you.
When you do that, you don’t have to be like anyone else. You can be the coolest person on earth.