This is a guest post written by Damien Olenslager. Check out Damien’s ideas about business, personal finance and wellness from a minimalist perspective at his blog, Bite Size Idea, and snag a free copy of his eBook on investing for the minimalist here.
The title is taken from the legendary Kanye West, when he asks (because he’s not sure) if anybody makes real shit anymore. While the grammar is lacking, it’s a legit question. Does anyone produce real, new, authentic things anymore? Is it possible to be authentic, or are we all just copies of what we see and think is cool?
I say YES, we can be authentic. We can have our own opinions and make unique offerings to our communities. But this world makes it difficult sometimes.
Here are a few ideas about how to be the authentic you.
Use Your Own Brain for Thinking
There are plenty of others that would love to do your thinking for you. MTV, VH1, Perez Hilton. The information age is an incessant onslaught of data and opinions.
Instead of plugging your brain into your preferred media feed, how about disconnecting and thinking for yourself? Just for a few minutes. Clear the clutter and give yourself some breathing room.
Pause, Reflect, Form Opinion
Now that you’ve given yourself a little breathing room, pause and let your brain work. Practice Colins 20 Minutes of Awesome. Think about what you have encountered that day. Compare it to what you already believe and see how the new information fits. To be authentic, it’s important that you have reasons for your opinions. Parrots and puppets are not authentic.
Maybe the problem is that you don’t have any beliefs.
Do You Have Convictions?
In order to be the authentic you, you need convictions, beliefs, causes that you would die for! Well, maybe not that strong, but you need to care about something more than March Madness and Lady Gaga’s latest costume.
Maybe you care about sustainable living. Perhaps you understand the value of spending your money on experiences rather than stuff. Whatever it is, know what you believe and why you believe it.
The Real Deal
Once you have taken the time to unplug, reflect, and form opinions, the authentic you will shine through. You will know what you believe and why it’s important to you. With that foundation, you can help others discover their authenticity.
Challenge others when they offer opinions. Don’t be a jerk about it, just ask why they are so sure about what they’re preaching.
You may find they’re right.
They may find you are right.
Either way, you’re both on the road to authenticity. And that, Mr. West, is the real…uh, stuff.