Last night I went to watch comedian Reginald D Hunter… A comedian from Georgia in the US who has been in the UK for a while now, he is brilliant and hilarious and someone I totally love watching.
He treats comedy as an art form and expresses himself and his ideology beautifully through the vehicle of comedy. He mentions that elements of his show are often rejected by audiences and he gets some resistence to some of his notions, but he always remains true to himself and his comedy. I love that notion.
When you look in the mirror, is that the same person that the rest of the world sees?
I can remember when I was in the 4th year of secondary school, I was chatting to a friend of mine. He was not one of my football friends or from my usual social circle, he was a friend I knew from the role-playing club. I used to get jokes made by my regular friends for going to the club, but I used to love playing dungeons and dragons and hanging out with very different people, stimulating my mind and imagination in a variety of different ways.
I had noticed that this guy, who outside of school only ever wore Iron Maiden t-shirts was reading ‘Shoot’ magazine.
“Can I read that interview with Des Walker after you’ve finished, he plays for my team Forest, I didn’t know you were into football”, I said.
“I’m not into football at all”, he replied.
“How come you’re reading them then? Don’t they belong to you?” I asked
“I am reading them because that’s what all you guys talk about, and I want to join in. I want them all to like me.”
“Why don’t you talk about the things you like?”
He just shrugged moodily at me and curled his lip in a kind of snarl, but without any bite or malice.
At the time, I could not believe someone that clever (he had an amazing vocabulary, very different taste in music, was taking exams early and had a wicked sense of humour) would waste his time doing something he didn’t like or care about.
I encounter so many people that still do things like that and don’t seem to learn a decent lesson from it…. There was a time in my life when I would pursue ideas, relationships, even leisure activities for the wrong reasons… Reasons that were about trying to be someone else, trying to influence how others perceived me, instead of being who and how I really was.
In short, at those times, I was not true to myself. Sometimes when others are persuading us or heavily influencing us – whether they are doing it intentionally or not – we can find ourselves doing things that make us feel uneasy or uncomfortable. We ignore those feelings because we want to be accepted. Peer pressure doesn’t end at age 14, it continues until we learn to listen to our feelings.
When we are motivated by something that makes us feel anxious, nervous or ill at ease, we need to pay attention to that feeling, and discover what it is really telling us. When we do, we most likely find that we are uncomfortable because we are living a lie. I have learned that pursuing interests that bring me joy, also give me confidence. My confidence then attracts people who want to be with me for who I am; and situations that generate greater satisfaction.
Being true to yourself, that is the formula for success and congruent living in my opinion.