I often overhear guys giving one another advice, much of it pretty silly like “maxing out is the only way to get strong.” “Don’t worry about saving money; you are young, spend, spend, spend!” “Wait three days to call him, it will make him want you more.” And lastly, “Make sure you are seen at this event, it’s the only place to be.”

These gems are all great: You can get injured, go broke, become very lonely, and mostly miss out on the best things in life rather quickly by listening to cliches of counsel. But I’d argue that there are no words of so-called wisdom more universally overused, or useless, to a gay man than “be yourself.”

Now, I am not discrediting the warm and fuzzy feelings we have when mom or our BFF tells us to “just be yourself” before a job interview or a date, but it’s time that we all stepped up our game and rather than just settling for who we are, grow into who we can become. So let’s become more aggressive in our fitness, careers, and personal lives and live by a new mantra: “Be better.”

So what defines being better? Look around at the people you admire and aspire to be like. Most likely they are individuals who have a plan in life, and define themselves by achieving goals they set along the way. The most successful people are those who are intrinsically motivated, and enjoy extrinsic perks – but they don’t let it drive them to their destination. So, time to make some adjustments.

Start with the end in mind. Know where you want to go, and then make the adjustments necessary to end there. Are you wandering aimlessly amidst the sea of gym-goers, spending frivolously, and following a crowd? Stop! Stop allowing the influence of others to define you. You know who you are already, and you also know your shortcomings, so work toward fixing them.

So are you ready to be better? Because the time is now.

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