Our modern Western society tends to push us to show we are successful. At school, the best student is the one with the best grades. On social media, we try to show we have the most exciting life. At a big family dinner, parents often judge the success of everyone’s children by their job and salaries.
It gets very misleading because when you start digging, you understand that trying to show you are successful is actually very counter-productive and only works short term.
When you want to show you are successful, you try to avoid showing anything that is identified as not successful. You avoid being different, thinking outside the box. You avoid being vulnerable, thus authentic. You consider it as weak. Things like being the most involved in a relationship. Like giving more than you receive. Like not knowing something. Like not receiving the credit for something.
How pretending prevents you from learning
Trying to show you know a lot involves a lot your ego. If you pretend you know a lot of things, you will not be open-minded at all to the truth. You will have what we call a fixed mindset (vs a growth mindset). When you learn you were wrong, instead of being excited to have learned something, you see it as a failure and tend to reject the truth.
When you have a failure, you try to hide it, rather than seeing it as an opportunity for growth.
So it is a very short term view. Pretending you know prevents you from actually learning and after a certain time, the people eager to learn will actually know way more than you and become more successful.
How pretending prevents you from connecting with others
You may also miss out on another great way to become successful: other people. When you try and show you are successful, people are less likely to help you. We all need help and not having people helping you will jeopardise a lot your chances
On top of it, to avoid being weak, you don’t want to give more than you receive. The relationships from which you get the most are the ones where the other always try to give more than they receive. That’s how you create 1+1 = 10 or 100. If you only focus on giving a lot, you will connect with like-minded people and will receive so much more than if you always try to get as much as you gave.
Constant learning and connections are 2 of the most important things you need to succeed. If you always want to pretend you are the smartest or the most successful, you will drastically reduce your chances to reach your goals, whatever they are. I know it because, until recently, I was exactly like this.
A lot has been said on the power of authenticity and vulnerability and it has triggered a complete change in my personality. I now constantly focus on trying to give, how I can help and what I can learn, which made my life so much better. It actually made me more successful in terms of happiness, work and relationships. If you haven’t tried yet, have a go, it’s a liberation!