They should like me for who I am

Dear oh dear.

Earlier today I sent out a few tweets tackling something interesting I had witnessed over the weekend. I wasn't rude or aggressive but twitter being twitter means that some people still decided to get offended.


It all started when someone I followed tweeted out something like this "Women notice shoes gentleman...wear nice shoes"

The number of responses along the lines of "they should like for who I am" was fascinating.

I watched the arguments back and forth, observing a perfect little microcosm of the different psychologies that make up our society.

The funny thing about all this is that I also hear this complaint ALL THE TIME when I give out career advice.

Last week I recommended you learn story-telling because being able to craft an interesting narrative is a critical skill in life. Story-telling will help you in all aspects of life - friendship, relationships, parenthood, and career. Definitely career.

Being able to answer interview questions with pizazz, telling a fascinating story whilst showcasing positive attributes of yourself is a massive advantage. Compare that to the mumbling bumbling chump who just gives a rudimentary answer because "they should like me for who I am".

This attitude of "they should like for who I am" is flawed.

Yes I agree that if someone does not like you for who you are then it is better for you to move on BUT this is not an excuse to therefore never need to change. You should ALWAYS be looking to change, to improve, to grow, to become someone better.

I see the "they should like for who I am" argument as a shallow rejection of change. It is an excuse to be stagnant.

Seeking out change to improve yourself is the most important life skill you can have. If you want more success in any area of life you need to be constantly challenging yourself to get better.

If you ignore advice simply because you want to wave your hands around and shout "they should like me for who I am" then you are going to miss out on some bloody good advice.

Not all advice will be right and not all advice will be right for you. But all advice is worth assessing, considering, and making a conscious decision for your own context.

Rejecting advice just because it does not sit with your current view of the world is stupid. The whole point of following people and listening to their advice is to hear new ideas that might change your view of the world.

You follow me to get these emails about how to build a better career for yourself. You don't have to follow every single thing I say but you definitely need to THINK about each piece of advice I give.

Otherwise you wont grow. You wont get any better. You wont change.

Fast forward a year and you will still be same person stuck in the same situation having the same problems that you had today.

Life is change. Everything changes.

Every moment life goes a step forward and if you aren’t stepping with it you get left behind.

Here is how I think about the argument not to change because they should like you for who you are:

If they should like me for who I am now at age 35 then who should they like me for when I'm 45? Is it the 35 year old me or the 45 year old me?

The 45 year old me has gone through 10 years of change. The 45 year old me is (hopefully) wiser, more mature, and more experienced.

The 45 year old me is very different person to the 35 year old me. The 35 year old me will be 10 years out of date. He will seem drastically immature by comparison.

If I refuse to change because they should like me for who I am then I am choosing to lock myself in to being who I am now forever more. It wouldn't be fair to otherwise have someone like me "for me being me" only to change on them right?

And if you're smart you can see this reductive logic scales all the way back in time.

If I'm going to reject change for this sake at 35 then I should have rejected it at age 25. So is the 25 year old me is the 'right one' for me to be forever more?

Or should I go back to the 15 year old me? Or hell, maybe I should regress to the annoying tantrum-throwing 5 year old and expect everyone to just accept me as I am?

Obviously not.

The 5 year old me is as an out-of-date version as much as the 35 year old me will be in a few years time. I'm constantly changing because life is constantly changing.

Every moment life goes a step forward and if you aren’t stepping with it you get left behind.

This whole thing is not really about the shoes you wear. The shoes are just a metaphor. The shoes are your attitude to life and the constant change it brings.

If you want to improve your life start looking at how you can improve yourself. Of course, I don't need to tell this to you. You're already on this email list which means you're already thinking about how to improve your career.