Why You Need To Talk The Talk Before You Can Walk The Walk

by Paul Hudson

Success is a funny thing because you have two sides of it: the success that you show off to others and the success that you know yourself to have accomplished. The two aren’t the same. There are the little successes that we pick up along the way that we may either consider private or personal. Just as there are the larger successes that we refrain from sharing because we believe that they will evoke jealousy in others.

The best successes are those that we do not feel the need to share because they were meant to impress us and no one else. Nevertheless, these tend to reflect in the way we hold ourselves and present ourselves to others.

The way that we present ourselves to others is very important because we will be judged on our actions and appearances, and all the human interaction we experience will be filtered through these preconceived notions that others have of us. Knowing how much information about your life you ought to make public and which specific information should be reserved can have a great impact on your life.

Some people are modest; others are nothing more than showoffs. Which one are you? More importantly, which one should you be in order to have the best interpersonal experiences and be presented with the most opportunities? The answer is a little bit of both. The most common sight — other than people low-balling their own abilities — is people duplicating their inner personas by presenting themselves to the world exactly as they are.

No secrets. You are an average Joe and you present yourself as being an average Joe. Maybe you aren’t so average — nevertheless, keeping a separation between the person that you know yourself to be and the person everyone else believes you to be comes with many advantage.

The first advantage being that when people don’t take to you kindly — which surely will happen on a somewhat regular basis — you don’t take it quite so personally. Because you have created some space between the you that you show to the world and the you that you know yourself to be, you have a cushion for the criticism that will come your way.

This allows you to make tweaks to your outward persona along the way strengthening both your ‘façade’ and your character in the process. I’m a big believer of doing your best towards guiding others to make the decisions you wish them to make. This allows for fewer arguments and headaches as well as allowing you to get a better grip on the way you design your life.

Not many people look at their lives as something that they can design, something that is in their control. It all starts with learning to separate yourself from the person that other people see you as. This separation means different things for different people and what it means to you will make all the difference in your life. Some go out of their way to be viewed as humble.

Others do their best to have you think they were the bees knees, princes among peasants. Whatever way you choose to be perceived is ultimately up to you. I would, however, recommend that you keep your projected persona a combination of who you are at the moment and who you one day wish to be.

Talk the talk before you walk the walk. The status quo is the belief that in order to be perceived as a person of worth, we must first accomplish things of worth. This is false. We should aim to appear as the people that we want to be — dress the part, in a way — before we believe ourselves to have become that person. This is not to say that you should dress like a millionaire if you can’t afford to dress like one, but acting like one doesn’t cost you a penny — just a bit of focus. This is why I hate it when people complain about themselves.

Of course, there are times when life will throw something your way that you can’t dodge, but more often than not, we are the ones holding ourselves down. Why not be smart and witty now? Why not be confident and cunning? You may not feel that you are…but the rest of the world doesn’t need to know that. Present yourself as such and that’s what you will be believed to be. Would it not be easier to fill the shoes if the entire world believes you to already be wearing them?

Let the world think you are the person that you want to be. Create a persona for yourself that the world perceives you as and use the knowledge of how they perceive — you know because you are making sure they see you in a certain way—to your advantage. Find comfort in the fact that you are mutable and not finite. If you don’t like yourself or your life then it is in your power to change it.

The best way is to interact with the world in the most ‘controlled’ fashion possible. Once you begin to understand how others see the world you can begin to point their gaze in the directions you see fit. No lies are necessary and best avoided altogether—people can often see through them. Stick to the truth, the reality that you created for yourself and for those around you.

I often like to think that the most successful people aren’t those who adapt to others, but those who introduce others to and have them adapt to their world.

Top photo credit: Leo Caillard, click here to check out his amazing work.