Legendary Hollywood director, Sam Wood, said the greatest headache he has with aspiring young actors is exactly this problem: to make them be themselves. They all want to be second-rate Lana Turners or third-rate Clark Gables. “The public has already had that flavor,” Sam Wood kept telling them; “now it wants something else.”
Before he started directing such pictures as Goodbye, Mr. Chips and For Whom the Bell Tolls, Sam Wood spent years in the real-estate business, developing sales personalities. He declared that the same principles apply in the business world as in the world of motion pictures. “You wont get anywhere playing the ape,” he said. “You can’t be a parrot. Experience has taught me that it is safest to drop, as quickly as possible, people who pretend to be what they aren’t.”
Paul Boynton, then employment director for a major oil company, interviewed more than sixty thousand job seekers; and he wrote a book entitled 6 Ways to Get a Job. He said, “The biggest mistake people make in applying for jobs is in not being themselves. Instead of taking their hair down and being completely frank, they often try to give you the answers they think you want.” But it doesn’t work, because nobody wants a phony. Nobody ever wants a counterfeit coin.
Keep this principle in mind as you seek out new opportunities and remember that other people will always see through a façade.
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Photo credit: Stuart Miles