Book Club | You do You
'You do You' by Sarah Knight comes with the tagline "How to be who you are and use what you've got to get what you want" and I think most of us can safely say that on a daily basis we are using what we've got and trying our very best to get what we want.
But I wonder how many of us are 'being who we are'? And I don't just mean when you're at home or when no one is looking, I mean, being unapologetically YOU on a daily basis, being authentic and living YOUR best life...
That's kinda what this whole book is about.
Last year I read the first book in the series "The life-changing magic of not giving a f***". It came with a VERY simple concept. Work out what you care about in life. Work out what you don't actually care about but other people possibly expect you to care about. Care about the things that actually matter to you and politely don't give a toss about the rest.
Now while the concept was really easy to understand, the actual practise of putting it into action, not so much! That's kinda the same when it comes to 'You do You'. Knight says "I wrote 'You do You' for people like me, who just want to do their own thing and stop caring about how their desires, motivations, opinions, and decisions are being questioned, dissected, and judged by others." (p.15)
She goes on to talk about how there is a 'social contract', a spoken or unspoken set of social rules and expectations that we are inherently expected to follow, but that in the process of 'doing you' you may find out that it doesn't suit your wants, needs and desires to do so.
The fifteen 'rules' in the social contract are as follows:
1. Don't be selfish
2. Do your best
3. Don't be difficult
4. Do be a team player
5. Don't quit your day job
6. You will change your mind
7. You won't get anywhere with that attitude
8. You will regret that
9. You won't get a good job if you don't go to college
10 You will never live that down
11. You should always put family first
12. You shouldn't act so crazy
13. You should smile more often
14 You shouldn't eat that
15. You should check your ego at the door
Knight spends the better part of the book taking an in-depth look at each of these social contracts and dissecting why they may or may not be true of your life or circumstances. For this reason, I feel like 'You do You' is better organised and would appeal to more people than "The life-changing magic", not to mention the fact that it has SIGNIFICANTLY less swearing, so it's not relying on shock value to get a point across. While not all of the social contracts listed above may apply to your life, once reading the book as a whole you could easily flick back to sections that are applicable to get your head around how you could re-design that area of your life or thinking.
When it comes down to it, this book is all about perception. While these social contracts clearly do exist, it is our perception that we are required to believe in and follow them. Once we change that perception and stop seeking permission from others, then we can feel free enough to be our true selves.
This is where it's easier said than done.
Clearly everyone KNOWS these are ideas perpetuated by society to foster conformity. I'm sure most people also KNOW that we have a choice whether we prescribe to them or not. I'm sure we also KNOW we have the power in ourselves to stop doing and believing what everyone else is and start doing and thinking things that benefit ourselves.
But what I'd like to know is, HOW do we actually do that?
Let's say you want to change your life and you know exactly what you have to do in order to do it. But what if you are so worried about losing your job, family, friends, money ect and that fear immobilises you and so instead you just maintain the status quo...how exactly do you stop caring about the opinions of others in order to live life the way you want?
HOW EXACTLY DO YOU NOT GIVE A F****?
Sarah Knight just makes it seem so simple, you just decide to not give a f*** and then you actively not give a f*** and there you go! And I'm sure that's fine for the free-spirited or ballsy people in the universe...but what about the shy people? the perfectionists? the downtrodden or the fearful? What do they do, how do they 'do you'?
I think what those sort of people (read: people like me) need is a prequel edition where she talks about how to have the self-confidence to make all the life-altering changes she discusses in her previous books, cos I'm certainly not there yet.