In my later years, I have looked in the mirror each day and found a happy person staring back. Occasionally I wonder why I can be so happy. The answer is that every day of my life I’ve worked only for myself and for the joy that comes from writing and creating. The image in my mirror is not optimistic, but the result of optimal behavior.
In the early 90’s I got interested in tennis and one of the biggest rivalries of the 90’s was between Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras. Agassi was a huge celebrity of the decade as the “bad boy” of tennis where “Image was Everything” as seen in the Canon commercials that he starred in. He was known for the long hair and flamboyant outfits he wore and I remember having a pair of neon green Nike tennis shoes from his brand. Pete Sampras was a very “clean cut” player always in classic whites. Sampras although he debuted later than Agassi during the resurgence of American tennis soon became the number one player of the world for six straight years. Agassi in the standings was always behind Sampras in the 90’s and in the late 90’s people thought that his career was over.
Agassi returned with a vengeance sporting a shaved head and a completely different attitude. Instead of worrying about his image and the “attitude” he was simply himself and focused on the game. This was the period of time where he regained the number one ranking and had the best four years of his career. The image matched the man and Agassi became one of the all-time greats not because of image as the “bad boy” of tennis but as a true great.
We try to create a facade an image of ourselves for the world to see. We really want to highlight our best points and even at times fudge a little to help maintain an image that is likable. From the way we physically look and dress to the things that we talk about or are passionate about.
At the end of the day though everyone is alone and the only person looking at you is yourself in the mirror. When everyone else is gone, who are you?
Focus on Image
I think everybody’s got a presentation. Everybody looks a certain way because they want to convey a certain image. You look a certain way because you want people to listen to you in a certain way.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to have a good image, someone that others can like and admire. It’s actually a trait that people can and should aspire to. The problem that arises is though instead of trying to be that person we just want to create the illusion of that person.
Instead of making an effort to change who we actually are into someone that we ourselves can be proud of we focus all of our attention on just creating and maintaining the image for the world to see.
We all fall into having to maintain an image. Even the most impressive people in the world want to impress someone. In many cases with those in the public eye whether they are celebrities, politicians, athletes, etc. the image that they try to portray to the world is very different from how they are in private.
Living Two Lives
The mass audience doesn’t want to see you if you aren’t perfect. If you don’t look a certain way, if you don’t have big pecs and great skin and the perfect eyes. And it’s unfortunate, because kids are growing up with body image dysmorphia because not everyone is represented on the screen.
In the end most people end up having to live two lives. One for the world to consume and another for ourselves. In today’s world where almost everything is public even for the average person we tend to end up focusing more on the fantasy aspect of us. The aspect which is created and marketed for mass consumption.
Who are You? What do You want to Be?
In “Tropic Thunder” Robert Downey Jr. plays a method actor who does everything possible to get into character. Since he has literally become the person in the role at some point he forgets who he really is as his life has revolved around fulfilling the role that he is in.
For most people the image that portray is a role, a character that they portray to the world. We need to decide at some point if that is the person that we really want to be and if so to strive to really be that person.
The sad thing is that most people feel insecure about who they really are. Instead of being genuine with one another we feel that who we are deep down inside is lacking so we shore it up with an illusion.
I don’t care about image and all that nonsense. I’m in sweat pants every day. I don’t play the game at all.
I remember reading about someone who really wanted to be James Bond. Now they realize that they will never be an MI6 spy or anything of that nature, but they did spend their time learning and developing all of the skills that James Bond posseses. From learning martial arts, skydiving and how to pilot a plane to practicing their skills at conversation and charisma. They had an image that they wanted to be and tried their best to become that image.
In some cases the image that you portray to the world might not be the person that you really want to be. I’ve met many hardcases who feel the need to portray a cutthroat personality in order to succeed while being really gentle hearted deep inside and hating themselves for how they felt they needed to act.
I would say to them that they should show a bit more of who they are as in most cases the attention and respect that they crave, the acceptance that everyone deep down wants would be better satisfied with their true personalities. Regardless of who we are or who we portray we need to figure out who we want to be and strive to make all three match.
Originally posted 2017-02-10 18:24:39.