This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!
In act 1, scene 3 of Hamlet, Laertes takes leave of his father, Polonius with these words. They have, since, echoed through time adopting altered meaning with the change of the seasons of our society.
As with so much of the verbiage of Shakespeare, there is great poignancy in this iteration. It is a universal truth that any man must be true first to himself, without the coercion of some intellectual, I read this line at it’s face value. I believe it to stand up to scrutiny as written and as read. A man who fails to know who he is, what he stands for, what he believes, is of no use as a mentor, as a teacher, perhaps as a friend.
If you wish to change the world, look within yourself first. It is there that you will find the vessel of your charge. It is there that you will find the first hurdles to any endeavor. It is the first house to put in order before learning, before great effort, before battle. The decisions made within will surely manifest in the implementation of such effort and a failure to assess or to prepare within oneself will surely result in failure.
Long ago I applied for a position as a project manager. It was a position that I was professionally unprepared for. Perhaps my mouth had overloaded my behind. I was scared. I called my closest ally, my mentor, my father. I explained my position to him and I asked for his advice. This is what he told me:
“Do you know what a project manager dresses like?”
yes, I responded
”Then you dress tomorrow like a project manager.”
“Do you know what a project manager says when he speaks?”
“Then you talk like a project manager.”
“If you get up every morning and you speak like a project manager and you dress like a project manager and you act like a project manager, soon you will look back and see that you are a project manager.”
As was always true, my father was right. The challenge was not in the office nor the field. The challenge was within me. If I prepared and if I believed, then I could be what I needed to be to fulfill my commitment.
Always, the challenge is within us. We are all capable of any endeavor for which we find the absolute commitment. The first step in setting out on our challenge is the introspective evaluation of oneself and the willful intentional adaptation of oneself to face the task at hand.
Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.