You have to tell the truth, or you will die inside, a little bit more every day.
You will feel yourself struggling with this concept, as it goes against every grain of advice you'll get. From the world-weary, those who have fought this battle already, shriveled-up bits of ectopic flesh posing as humans.
You can see the immense popularity of people who own their truths. From this I would deduce that those who hide under the covers are not destined to do great things.
"Transparent" is not just about a man who finally comes out and lives his life as a woman. It is also about his kids, who emerge from their cocoons as well.
"Enlightened" is about a woman who decides not to be a corporate drone anymore. "I will not run away from life" she declares, and we love her awkward, painful, heart-wrenching journey down the corporate ladder toward personal success.
"Girls," of course, is about a young woman who freely takes off her shirt every five minutes to show us her flab. She walks away from a highly paid job writing advertorial copy to go to the Iowa Writer's Workshop. Because she has to.
Audi is running ads about a guy who says "yes, yes, yes," because he is a well-trained yes-man, until he finally gets his car and can be himself. A "Mad Men" version of freedom but it says something nonetheless.
Leah Vincent and Deborah Feldman have both written memoirs about their dangerous and painful, but ultimately rewarding escape from the ultra-Orthodox communities where they were cloistered off from the world.
Many people mistake personal branding to mean "the development of a phony image." That's true, in a sense; because you're trying to make yourself look the best you can, and in real life you don't always look that good.
But in a deeper sense, it's about finding out who you are, precisely so that you can share your unique and unparalleled skills - even if, and perhaps because - you prove to be uncomfortable for others to bear. That is the definition of genius. To create something, add something, introduce a new mode of living - that transforms the way we fundamentally approach a subject.
Yeah, it will scare the shit out of people. And to do it you have to speak your truth - what you see, what you feel, what is real to you. Not the truth, necessarily, because narrative has many perspectives. But you must make the leap and own what is your own.
What are you destined to achieve in this world? What are the unique gifts you were given, the knowledge that was instilled in your brain in you were born?
You must find out - you cannot censor your search.
Accountability to your higher purpose. It's the the ultimate act of courage, and conscience.
Disclaimer: This blog is written by Dannielle Blumenthal in her personal capacity. The opinions expressed here are the author's own and do not reflect the view of the National Archives and Records Administration, or the United States government. Photo by vincent desjardins via Flickr.