Be the Real Thing

Have a voice, because people are sick of brochures and sales letters. They want the real thing. – Trust Agents, Chris Brogan and Julien Smith

In a time when everyone and their mamas are trying to sell you something practically the minute they come in contact with you and their efforts are so me-centered, it’s no wonder why we crave authenticity, honesty, and the real deal.

Someone who’s the real thing? Colin Wright at Exile Lifestyle. He is totally baring himself (literally, in one of his photos! for the women (and men!):  look around in his About section) for the world to see because he’s real. And real witty, with many thought-provoking topics discussed, pondered, and debated upon. Colin is just one of an incredible number of bloggers out there who are saying no to the “I have to write, look, and speak a certain way for others to like me and read my blog” mentality.

Why be real? Uh, why not? The status quo is not something I strive for. In fact, I dare say I run far away from it. As much as possible. And then I keep running.

People can sense a faker in their midst. If someone is trying to “pull a fast one” on someone else, more than likely, we can sense something is terribly wrong with this picture. Unless that person is a con artist, in which case, good luck.

A brief story:

In 2008, I spent a day as an extra in the film Formosa Betrayed starring James Van Der Beek (yes, I did actually see Dawson up close, and no, I did not get to meet him, damn!). The crew provided catered lunch for everyone, and actors included, we all sat in the same room eating. The woman to my left was going on about how she got to see this actor and that actress on many movies she was an extra in. When she realized I was not up to par with her, as this was my first time as an extra, she quickly turned her attention to another far more interesting person who had been in TV shows and movies as an extra.

Apparently, there’s some sort of power hierarchy in the extras circle?? And I’m on the very bottom. The thing was, she was really nice and pleasant up until she found out I had no connections in the film industry. And that’s where this woman revealed her character to me.

There’s a difference between savvy networking and power-hungry carnivores searching for the person(s) who can help them the most.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, to want to see who’s out there that can help you. BUT, it is poor form when that is all you ask of them while providing nothing of value to them, and certainly no reason for them to help you out. It needn’t be a quid pro quo situation, it just needs to be real and authentic.

I’ve reached out to multiple people online and in person who are experts in their field but not necessarily just because I wanted something for myself. It’s because I’m genuinely interested in their line of work, how they came to be, and how their lifestyle philosophy compares with my own. I love hearing their stories as it gives me inspiration and causes me to think more and to think outside the box. I don’t ask for them to do anything for me back in return. Any exchanges should occur naturally and in good time.

How do you ensure this? Be the real thing. Be you.


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  • Matt M.

    Another great post!

    You raise a good point about not being a networking vulture. Thankfully, we have it easier than most – every blogger I’ve met in the minimalism niche has been wonderfully kind so far, that exact kind of “real thing” you describe.

    Kudos to you for being the same. :)

  • Castles in the Air

    Thanks, Matt! The minimalist/lifestyle design bloggers I’ve encountered thus far on the web have been kind, positive, and helpful. It really helps to grow our connections and relationships when people aren’t being vampires. :)

    Keep it real!

  • tokyin

    The picture looks like 10 pieces of random “si”… it looks real and authentic.

    Real and authentic is especially important when it comes to family, relationships, true friends, and in whatever that we believes in. Can’t fake anything at all.
    We can try to fake it in front of our co-workers, casual friends, relatives.
    But when it comes down to people whom we treasure the most; or when it comes to a time of reflection of ourselves; or, if a person believes in God -when he/she comes to God… faking it won’t do any good at all.

    Because faking it means either we are hiding something, or trying to impress others by becoming a person whom we are not. But in front of those people/God – who don’t really need to be impressed, be real, authentic and honest is the ONLY way to go!

    People can only fake it for so long. Fake oneself to look like a good guy/girl, fake oneself to look like a faithful employee, fake oneself to look like a Christian, and fake oneself to look like a very good child who won’t care much about inheritance from the parents…. these type of people are all around us.
    But sooner or later, their real skin will show.

    Lastly – trials, pressure, pain, suffering, disappointments, a lost luggage, constipation… these can easily reveal a person’s true character and whether he/she is faking something.

    May we all have wisdom to discern people who are faking it – and deal with them carefully.

    Excelente poste, persistir en una acción!!!

  • Castles in the Air

    That phrase “fake it ’till you make it” really sucks because some people actually do that. Like all the time. Sure, given at certain times, you will have to be more politically correct or appropriate. Like at in-laws for dinner, chewing with the mouth open while passing gas would probably not bode well with them!

    But majority of the time? Being real. That’s where it’s at. I want to know the real you, not who you think will impress me.

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