Unless You Can Be A Unicorn

Always be yourself. Unless you can be a unicorn. In that case, be a unicorn.

“I have to admit I’m not too familiar with unicorns, so I can’t say how much wisdom there is in that quote. I know that unicorns are regarded as somehow particularly special amongst mystical creatures and it is apparently desirable to be special. In real life, most unicorns are actually rather lonely though.”

Either way, there is of course some wisdom in the above mentioned quote, and that’s the importance of being yourself. This does sound fairly obvious, but in the age of social media, it feels like it might not be the case anymore. Most people have a personality or two to spare…. “A long time ago there was internet relay chat (IRC), in a way the grand daddy of all virtual spaces. Everybody was at least a secret agent. I pretended to be a yacht designer because nobody would believe me that in reality, I’m a freelance astronaut.”

Interacting with people in a virtual world made it very tempting of course to pretend to be somebody cooler, smarter, more interesting and of course better looking. It also made it a bit awkward to explain a few things when meeting ‘in real life’… But here lies the mistake us old-fashioned folks made. We assumed this would be a problem. Apparently, it wasn’t.

Fast forward to today, internet isn’t just a hideout of some weirdos anymore and everybody is just so much cooler. At least going by their Facebook status.Except for Christian Leyk, who’s still only a yacht designer.

A jet-setting, trend-setting, super smooth super yacht designer actually, and the only reason you won’t read about him mingling with the rich and famous is because he’s also super humble.

You see, when we say it’s important to be yourself, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be the best version of this person. As a matter of fact, it’s only natural to express different facets of oneself all the time. Think about making a good impression on the in-laws or trying to get a pay rise.

Is it okay to stretch reality occasionally? Hell yes, of course it is. Applying a bit of creativity can’t be a bad thing, can it?

But here’s a bad thing: If that person you are creating isn’t you. Not even remotely you. Not even you in your dreams but instead someone you think the world expects you to be.

And that, rightly or wrongly, always crosses my mind when I hear somebody talking about ‘self branding’. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe this really just means bringing out the best of who you are (But then I’d argue what’s wrong with the rest of me?). But if it means creating an alternative you, built to increase your market value as if you are a product you’d need to sell, I’d argue that this is a very bad thing. You are not in this world to sell yourself. Forget the unicorns. You’re here to be awesome. And you know what? I think you are.”