Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.Oscar Wilde

Be Yourself. Even if it is a little bit different - like carving a pumpkin with an emoticon smiley face! (I wish I thought of that!)

What does that mean?
To me, this quote is about individuality and uniqueness of each of us. We are each unique, even identical twins. While they may act like each other, each one has their own wants and desires, making them different.

Everyone else is already taken, the quote finishes. This reminds us that we shouldn’t try too hard to be “just like” someone else, because being that person, well that’s someone elses’ job. If someone really wanted to be just like Mythbusters co-host Adam Savage, you could say someone already has that position filled, right?

Why is being yourself important?  
Really? Who else could I possibly be? Now lets be serious for a moment. It is one thing to pattern yourself after a portion of someone. Perhaps Gandhi’s peaceful resistance, or Churchill’s steadfastness, or Ali’s drive to be the greatest. But it is something else entirely to try to become that person.

To be yourself, you have to know who you are. You have to know what you want, what you stand for, and what you believe. Without those things, you have voids, empty places that long for something to fill them. Instead of patterning themselves after an admirable aspect of a person, they choose to imitate the whole person (to the best of their ability). And in my view, this is what the quote cautions against.

Where can I apply this in my life?
We’ve all seen them as caricatures on TV, and sometimes in real life. They talk like their idol, they dress like their idol, they talk like their idol. I’m not talking about paid professional impersonators, or people having fun at a weekend convention, but people who are so lacking in “self” that they grab hold of something “shiny” to fill the void. This is exactly the opposite of this quote, isn’t it?

Instead of trying to be someone else, I would work on examining yourself and seeing what you can do to be a better you. Grab some paper and divide it into sections. Label them “wants”, “values” and “beliefs”. If you have other ways of looking at yourself, feel free to change the labels, or add additional labels. Knowing what you mean is far more important than my chosen titles.

In explanation, when I say “wants”, I am asking what are your goals and aspirations. What do you want to be or do or become? This would be a driving force in your life, like Ali’s drive to become the greatest boxer in the world. Write these down on the paper.

By “values”, I am asking what are the attributes that define you? If you asked someone to describe you in one sentence, what are you known for? Then add the ones you wish they had said you were. Feel free to note which of the attributes on the list you wish to remove.

By “beliefs”, I am asking what you believe in. This isn’t just a question about your feelings on a higher power, but the ideals with which you identify yourself. Do you believe in equality of all people, or do you have qualifiers for certain groups? Do you believe in justice (which implies a brief look at how you define justice)?

Do the same for any extra labels you added, or for any of mine you redefined in some manner. When you have finished, you should have a rather limited snapshot of what makes you, well, you (as of this date and time – we all change with time).

Now that you have an idea as to where you stand, consider how you can become more “you?” That may sound like an odd question, but we define ourselves by our decisions every day. Why not take some time and actually plan ourselves, instead of just changing ourselves in a piecemeal fashion, at random times and in somewhat random directions?

Scan through each of the things you listed on the paper and ask yourself if you are happy with where that item stands at present. If not, write down what changes you would like to make. Feel free to list things you would like to add or remove as well.

Once you have the list, choose one that best defines who you are, and who you wish to become. This is now your top priority. Brainstorm some ideas on how you will change yourself. Is this something within you, or does it deal with other people?

Break the idea into smaller chunks and start planning how you will accomplish the individual tasks. Make a list of things you need help with, and figure out where to get or borrow the skills, knowledge or abilities needed to finish the specific tasks.

All that is left now is to take the first step. Find a fairly small, easy to complete, task and do it. Right now. I’ll still be here when you’re done with it. Now you have a check mark on your plan, and some momentum built towards completion. Just keep on doing what you’re doing, and keep on building a better you.

From: Twitter, @QuoteHouse
confirmed at :
Photo by crazytales562


About philosiblog

I am a thinker, who is spending some time examining those short twitter quotes in greater detail on my blog.
This entry was posted in belief, goals, individuality, originality, self improvement, self knowledge and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

  1. Muffley says:

    I’m impressed, I have to say. Actually hardly ever do I encounter a weblog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you may have hit the nail on the head. I am very glad that I stumbled across this.

  2. Jay says:

    Whatever you think of the quote, it certainly wasn’t Oscar Wilde who said it.

    • philosiblog says:

      I would love to the information on which you base your comment. If he didn’t say it, who did? Even wikiquote doesn’t say it’s misattributed, only that they cannot find a positive attribution.

      The ball is back in your court, sir.

  3. Rich says:

    I just say this quote in a television commercial and had the same reaction that Jay had. Can’t prove it, of course. But, having run across a heck of a lot of Wilde quotes over the years, this one just doesn’t seem reasonable. Definitely more late 20th century than late 19th.

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