Be the Most Authentic Version of Yourself With the "3-Second Rule"

Kelsey Clark
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Christian Vierig/Getty Images

To me, a person whose inside matches their outside is authenticity personified. They live their life undeterred by the thoughts and opinions of others and maintain a personal integrity that is unmatched. But how can you tap into your uncensored, authentic self when surrounded by people, popular culture, and media who, for better or for worse, influence you? What’s more, how do you discover who your “authentic self” is in the first place?

“We’ve all been there, in those little moments of life where we stand on the razor’s edge of who we are and who we want to be,” writes Elaina Giolando, the mind behind Life Before 30. “A presenter asks for questions, but you don’t speak out, a stranger looks lost, but you don’t help, the music starts, but you don’t dance… And you don’t really live.”

Giolando, whose career is now dedicated to helping 20-somethings break convention and lead meaningful careers, has found the answer to this question in spontaneity—something she mandates through what she calls the “three-second rule.” “I know that if I don’t respond to my gut instincts within three seconds, my defensive ego will take over,” she writes. “The noise of my social conditioning will drown out the little voice that says ‘Go! Do it! Speak! Dance!’”

In other words, don’t overthink things and do what comes naturally to you; these gut instincts are reflective of who you are as a person. “Tap into that, and you can start to build a life of real meaning, in the big questions of career and purpose and love, and in the smaller questions of helping, expressing, and fully participating in this world.”

How do you connect to your innermost sense of self? Share your thoughts and ideas below!

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