Everyone has aspirations in life and bills to pay, so it’s tempting to do whatever it takes to get to your goal. But how will you sleep at night if you aren’t true to yourself? In this post, there are three sections we’re going to cover, listed below.
- My recent experience with staying authentic
- How to be authentic in the face of temptation
- How minimalism helps with authenticity
My recent experience with staying authentic
It’s been a minute since I posted anything. I can’t say my health is too much better (I had shingles twice in two months!), and getting the care I need is moving at the pace of a glacier. And the speed is that of a glacier from maybe a hundred years ago, not even our current climate-change glacier speed. ; ) But I’m hanging in there.
An interesting thing has been happening since I last posted, which gave me a great topic to broach here. I’ve had many businesses reach out to me with requests to add links to my blog or do guest posts.
I’ll be honest—this blog does not make me much money at this time. This is in part because I can't spend as much time on it as I would like. It’s a labor of love because I believe in the topic and I want to help as many people as possible. While these people were offering potential income opportunities for me, I chose to turn them down because they were off-brand. It would be pretty hypocritical of me to gush over reducing consumption and making life simpler and then flood my page with ads for things that you probably don’t need. Not to mention I refuse to endorse products that I’m not familiar with myself, and I had no personal knowledge of any of these brands.
Also, after I left my soul-sucking job, I promised myself that being self-employed meant never bending my ethics just to make a buck. If I was ok with that, I could just go work for “the man” again.
Anyway, the whole ordeal made me think this was a topic that could use some discussing because I’m sure we’ve all had opportunities to do something that we might regret later. Here are some alternatives.
How to be authentic in the face of temptation
Something that I’ve coached many people on is staying on track with your goals. I tell people that whenever I’m faced with a decision, I ask myself whether going through with that choice will bring me closer to my goals, or further away.
On the surface, accepting money (or recognition, or whatever is being offered) may seem like it will get you where you want to be. But will it really?
Think about it like a diet pill, or the ad for that get-rich-quick scheme. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. These are just fads, preying on people who are looking for an easy out. The truth hurts, but there really is no easy way out. I guarantee you that virtually every overnight success story out there was preceded by dozens, if not hundreds, of failed attempts. I’ve seen, read, and listened to tons of interviews of people who have succeeded at something, and they all say the same thing. They put in a lot of work and were willing to move past mistakes before they finally got it right.
But nobody really cares about failures—they want to know about something that works, so they can do the same. So the success is where people start to take notice, and it’s easy to assume that these successes came easily.
But anyone who’s tried a fad diet or paid $99 for their “new business start-up kit” knows that in the end, the shortcuts don’t work. Not only that, but you’re probably worse off than where you started.
So tip #1 to staying authentic is to remember that there are no good shortcuts. Just detours that end up taking you off course and wasting your time.
Tip #2 is to forgive yourself when you forget about tip #1. To err is human. Move forward and do better next time.
How minimalism helps with authenticity
Striving for a simpler life and focusing on what’s near and dear to you creates good habits. As you settle in with minimalism, you become accustomed to consuming less and appreciating what you have. I don’t think that the urge to consume ever goes away completely, but it certainly diminishes with time.
This means that temptations become less tempting. Not only that, but the idea of having clutter, or filling up an empty schedule, may start to feel uncomfortable. You may decide that it’s so much more fulfilling to be…unfilled.
And needing and wanting less is very helpful for the wallet. Simplicity is very affordable when done properly. You’ll find it easier to come up with the money for your bills every month, and maybe even start having some money left over.
You also may start to crave things that are not what others can typically tempt you with. For example, who’s going to pester you to not go out shopping so you can stay home and read a library book (except maybe the library)? Or put up an ad that proclaims you should take a nap?
No, they want you to buy a car or a $50 T-shirt that cost them $0.03 in materials and was made with toxic chemicals by someone who isn’t earning a living wage. And they don’t care whether you can afford it, either.
I don’t want to get too negative here. Not everyone who’s out to sell something means harm and is only out for themselves. But I can guarantee you that every person who came to me asking to post an ad or article on this website was hoping to get something out of it, and I’m pretty sure that is usually the case anytime something seems to be easy or helpful but requires you to bend your own rules a little. Proceed with caution (go back to tip #1).