Would the real me please tweet?

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Are you living your real life or are you busy creating a virtual life that you think is more interesting?

There is one AWEFUL part of reading an amazing book…finishing.  I am grieving the loss of the time spent with the vividly crafted characters of Robert Fulghum‘s massive (over 1000 pages) “Third Wish” two volume set.  We’ve spent a lot of time together over the past couple of weeks, as I became a witness to their epic adventures.  I must admit that I miss them. 

As an avid reader, I’ve been blessed with getting acquainting to many eclectic characters.  Some of the real breathing variety have even wandered into my real life from time to time.  I tend to prefer peculiar characters.  I guess it’s true that  birds of a feather do flock together.

Have you ever developed a literary crush on a fictional character, only to be shattered by turning  the last page?  Perhaps they are so different from you that you wish you could star in their life for a while.  Maybe they are so similar that they could perhaps make a better lead in your life.  What would “X” do in this situation you wonder?

Reading allows me to temporarily, vicariously, take a break from my own peculiarly ordinary life and walk in someone else’s shoes for a while.  It’s a refreshing break, but it is not real. My own shoes still need a little polish.

Virtually You

I dabble in social media.  Twitter fascinates me. One-way cave speak in 140 characters or less.  Followers and the Followed. Real and fictional characters in a semi-real/virtual world.  I get a kick out of reading Twitter profiles.  The world is full of gurus, divas, goddesses, experts and highly caffeinated narcissists.  Who knew?   Have we blurred the line between fact and fiction? 

In the virtual world, you can be anyone you want to be. You can carefully craft your image and develop a character that may be unrecognizable if you met him/her for a birthday party.  All is well as  long as we remember to be who we really are and do not become disappointed that we aren’t really our virtual self.

My sense is that some people are losing their true identity in an effort to keep up a virtual self. Deep down we know the difference between our true life and a fabricated life.  Fun is fun but real is real. Are you disappointed  even a little when you aren’t as cool as your profile proclaims? Some people even go so far as to use a stranger’s picture to represent themselves online.   You can lie to others, but you can’t lie to yourself and be sane.

Lord of Your Keyboard

Virtual character development and self-help are easy.  You just choose to leave out the stuff you don’t like about you and add in whatever you want.  All it takes to be god in a virtual world is a keypad and some time.  And on the first day, you typed let there be characters and there appears a whole world of your creation on your screen.  And you can say to yourself, it is good.  Our ego’s run wild.  False idol worship has a history of not ending well.

Expressing one’s creativity is AWESOME!  I try my best to do so at every opportunity.  What I caution is that there is a danger that we  can become so lost in our virtual character development, that we worship our own created image and fail to look in the mirror instead of into the computer screen.   We lose sight of who we really are.  The person who needs a hair cut, to lose a few pounds, has odd mannerisms and is prone to make mistakes.  The person your family and friends put up with and love anyway.

There is No Edit Button for Real Change

It’s harder to actually change for the better the person you really are into the person you feel called to be.  It takes hard work.  It takes failures.  It takes faith.  It’s much messier.  But it is real.

I hope you will reacquaint yourself with who you really are.  Maybe go out on a date with yourself.  My guess is that you are a peculiarly terrific creation as is, warts and all. You are  loved by your true creator, who does not make mistakes.  I remember Mr. Rogers saying on TV that whenever you meet someone remember that the person is just like you…one-of-a kind.  For a semi-fictional character, Mr. Rodgers had it right.

In the real world you can’t be airbrushed, edited, photoshopped or avatared.  You can be a lot  more of who you are!  You just have to choose to invest our time doing what we need to do to improve our strengths and minimize the influence of our weaknesses.  It leads to a real life that is really fired up! It will probably mean  spending less time typing.  You’ll end up a character none the less, although this one can really be hugged.  Also, meet your real friends for a real chat over a cup of coffee, the kind where you can smell each other’s coffee breath.  Don’t just “like” or “poke” them.

Keep it real! Oh,  if you happen to see the real me running around, would you please have him tweet me? 🙂

I hope you become a character of peculiar character! You’ve got the lead role in this one-time production of a terrific show called, “THIS IS YOUR LIFE!”

About Andrew W Dix, MS, BCC
Author, Board Certified Executive Business Coach, Trainer, Reiss Motivation Profile Master and Private Pilot. Expertise in motivational intelligence, leadership development, strengths, management, coaching, and change management. Available for keynote addresses.

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