I was watching American Pie 2 the other day, and all of a sudden I felt sick to my stomach. The scene came on where the character Jim, who is pretty nerdy and extremely awkward, has a chance to hook up with the amazing hottie Nadia. As they are getting close to the moment of truth, Jim has an epiphany that he likes the ‘Band Geek’ Michelle who he has been spending time with instead of Nadia. He tells Nadia: “I am a band geek, I just never joined the band.” The reason I got sick to my stomach is because I actually somehow gleaned a lesson from this goofy and not-so-well acted scene.
The lesson? We all need to be our own version of a ‘band geek.’ What does that mean? Be yourself! I know I’ve mentioned that you should always be yourself; with trying to make friends and interact with people especially. I haven’t really explained how to actually go about doing that, however. So, today I am going to give you steps to become a band geek and learn how to be yourself:
1.) Pick Your Instrument. To truly be yourself, you need to think about your ‘sound,’ or what type of person you are. Are you loud and blaring like a trumpet? Are you soft and mysterious like the flute? Or are you wild and uncontrollable, yet a leader of others like percussion? Picking your instrument, aka realizing what type of person you really are takes time. Pay attention to how you interact with people and your inner thoughts to gain insight on who you are.
2.) Stick to the Sheet Music. The sheet music in this context is what ‘notes’ you will be playing. Each instrument has a particular part to play in a song or orchestra, and the key to harmony is that all instruments play their part. Now, this may seem like I’m telling you to try to fit in and only do what you are expected to do. I am not. Instead, what I mean here is that you should never try to be something you are not. Like Jim realized, he was trying to like someone for only their looks, when really he had more in common and enjoyed Michelle’s personality much more. In other words, he stuck to the sheet music. Remember, there are always soloists in a band, so if you enjoy being unique and the center of attention; then go do it! Just don’t pretend to be something you are not.
3.) Play in Your Section. If you’ve ever been in an orchestra or large band, then you should know that each instrument group is divided into ‘sections.’ So trumpet players sit next to other trumpet players, etc. What sitting in your section means is hanging out with people who have similar interests to you. When you do this, it’s easier to let down your guard and only be yourself. If a clarinet player was sitting with trombone players, he might try to act differently to impress them, or he could become shy since he is different from the others. Again, I’m not saying you can’t be friends with people who don’t share the same interests, but it will be more difficult to be yourself around those people.
4.) PRACTICE. Often an overlooked portion of any self-improvement plan, practice is key to being yourself all the time. How do you practice this? Simple. Just remember what kind of person you are, what your interests are, what kind of people you like to be around, and then pay attention to if you are following through on these areas. If you aren’t, make a change in your actions.
Being yourself obviously is a very vague concept, even after reading through these steps. I hope you recognize the importance, though. When you are able to be yourself around others, your life is made easier: you are more relaxed, you can have more fun, you can open up to people around you… the list goes on. When trying to be someone you are not, you usually become stressed or uncomfortable trying to impress the people around you or get to the point where you don’t even want to interact with others. It’s unhealthy as much as it isn’t fun for you.
To be yourself, you really need to know who you are, and Step 1 will help you get there. I know I’m playing on words, but take the meaning away from this advice: figure out what kind of people you like, what activities you enjoy, what kind of music you like, what your favorite foods are, etc, and then find those people/do those things. It’s OK to be interested in all different kinds of things; you’ll just always have more things to keep you entertained and you’ll probably have more friends. That’s how I am; I like pretty much everything, but for the few things I don’t like, I don’t mess around with them. That’s all it takes. Find out who you are and then be that person this week and from now on. You’ll live a happier, less-stressful life. Enjoy your Labor Day weekend readers!