Anyone who tells you that you should always be yourself under any circumstances does not have your best interest in mind. On the contrary, placing yourself in difficult situations for no good reason will prevent you from enjoying life and leave you little energy to develop your talents. Being authentic is great, but not at any cost.
Make your personal safety one of your top priorities
When it comes to pursuing your dreams, you will be much better off if you do it the right way. Minimizing your psychological and financial dependence on other people’s opinion is a prerequisite for being able to make your own choices without fearing dire consequences. My point is that it is perfectly rational to avoid confrontation in situations from which you cannot walk away.
Increasing individual independence from third parties’ opinions is such a fundamental skill that it should be taught at school. The idea that only millionaires possess the means to speak out their mind is false, although unfortunately, such an argument is frequently invoked to favour conformism. The truth is that everyone can take steps to protect his privacy and integrity. In my experience, the following two strategies are particularly useful:
Do not volunteer giving any personal details to strangers
There is little advantage in providing details of your private life to strangers, colleagues at work, employers, suppliers, or anyone who does not belong to your circle of close friends. Why should you give anyone the opportunity to use that information against you or the power to manipulate you in anyway?
Rudeness is unnecessary to protect your private life and, to prying questions, it is often wise to give a vague reply. In most cases, people will accept your reluctance to provide personal details and change the subject.
Save regularly and create a reserve fund for emergencies
Accumulating a financial cushion will do wonders to protect your peace of mind and personal freedom. The temptation to engage into doubtful business or professional practices can hardly tempt a man who possesses enough savings. He will be able to used those to quit his job and spend a couple of months searching for a new position.
Nobody needs to be a millionaire to be able to do that. The real bedrock of self-confidence is not magic or make-belief, but financial foresight. If you save regularly every month, it should not take you too long to accumulate a financial cushion that can take you through a rough period in your professional life.
Make the decision to bring your dependence on other people’s opinion down to a negligible level. Find polite ways to show your determination to protect your private life. It is easier than you think and it will save you lots of problems down the line.
Establish a reasonable monthly savings goal for yourself and stick to it until you reach your desire level of safety. By adopting these simple measures and implementing them consistently, you can substantially enhance your well-being, peace of mind, and happiness.
For more information about rational living and personal development, I refer you to my book The 10 Principles of Rational Living
[Image by Ross Elliott under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us%5D