Don’t Waste Time Trying to be Something You’re Not

I heard Dave Matthews Band’s complex and powerful song Drunken Soldier the other day and was reminded yet again of the meaning we can find in great songs.

Dave bills this song as a letter from a father to his children, and like most parental advice, it can be widely applied and practiced.

The song plaintively begs “Don’t waste time trying to be something you’re not.”

This could be the best advice given to both children and businesses.

In order to successfully apply this wisdom, the first thing one must do is actually have some self-awareness. This in itself is vitally important and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Once one has that degree of self-awareness, or, in the case of a business, knowledge of its core values, then heeding Dave’s advice becomes so much easier.

Are you artistic and creative? Don’t try to shove yourself into a bland corporate job where you will never be happy. Are you a happy number-cruncher? Don’t attempt to choose a nebulous course of study, focus on the numbers.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try new experiences or keep an open mind. It simply means that you should be who you ARE and not who someone else thinks you OUGHT to be.

Similarly for businesses, if you are known for high touch and involved customer service in your DNA, don’t try to be an uncaring and uninvolved online company… it just won’t work and will be a waste of your time.

Again, this doesn’t mean you don’t always try to improve your clients’ experience with your company, it merely implies that you know who you are and what you do best, and you can feel good about that.

Take a few minutes to listen to this masterpiece of musicianship and advice:


About the author

I am a third generation printer, and a second generation owner of Curry Printing. Ink (pms 185!) must run through my veins! As a "working owner," I am at Curry every day, working in and on my business. The old adage is true...if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life!

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