By Rupert Johnson
According to Oprah Winfrey in order to succeed “you have to be 100 percent of yourself.” In other words don’t try to be someone else.
I have my doubts about the 100 percent characterization in that we are all inclined to imbibe instinctively some of the character traits of other people. However, I fully understand her point of view. I take it to mean that we should not make a conscious effort to be someone else.
I have always been fascinated with Polonius’ advice in the Shakespearian play: Hamlet. He states: [“Above everything]: to thine own self be true.” This implies that you should be honest to yourself and stop pretending that you are another person. Therefore, be yourself by creating your own identity. According to George Bernard Shaw, the great British playwright: “Life is about creating yourself.”
There is nothing wrong in having a role model, that is, someone you can look up to and emulate, but you should not try to be an exact replica or carbon copy of that person.
It is extremely disconcerting to see how gullible young people are in their hero worship of out of control pop singers, movie stars, football players, baseball players, basketball players, hockey players, and others in the entertainment and sporting industry. Many young people without an identity of their own tend to fully copy the lewd gyrations of entertainers, the vulgarity of movie stars and the disgusting debauchery of sports heroes. After awhile youngsters become so saturated with the outrageous behaviour of these so-called heroes that they tend to become exact replicas of them.
My advice to young people is this: Try to build your own identity and be steadfast in your convictions. Don’t be swayed by every passing puff of wind. Remember that when you do not know who you really are your mind can become a fierce battleground of conflicting thoughts. On the contrary, if you establish a clear identity that is devoid of pretentiousness this process can lead to serenity of mind, happiness and success.
There is no doubt that pretentiousness has sinister connotations that can railroad your quest for peace of mind, happiness and ultimate success.
The Biblical self-righteous Pharisees were so pretentious that Jesus of Nazareth castigated them very severely.
Pretentiousness is as prevalent today as it was during the time Jesus was alive in the Holy Land. Millions of people throughout the world have become hostages to this sinister practice of pretentious behaviour. From ordinary folks to those in high authority, pretentiousness seems to have become an integral component of this universal culture of double-dealing.
We are all aware of many people who go out of their way to display their phoney pretentious behaviour to impress others. The character, Hyacinth in the British sitcom: “Keeping up Appearances” is a good example of what pretentiousness is all about.
Rupert Johnson can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.