Authenticity In Autobiographies: Bringing The "real You" Into Your Career And Relationships
Many who write about John Cleese's autobiography (John Cleese: So, Anyway... , 2014) point to his continuous career with which he is known to have influenced many other artists, comedy shows and writings. They highlight Cleese's landmarks achievements, stretched from his graduate studies to his radio writings, television shows and his famous series.
Yet, there is another interesting and important element to Cleese's autobiography which until now has slipped away from almost all of the above wirings. And that is, Cleese's authenticity and truthfulness which come across time and again throughout his autobiography. This self-portrayal is yet another point of interest to all of us who read his autobiography.
As we read it, we can appreciate Cleese's courage to be "who he really is" throughout his life. To appreciate him being authentic and true (to himself as well as to others); a person who doesn't hesitate to speak up his mind even when knowing that others won't like hearing what he has to say. Throughout the book Cleese impresses us as a person who is aware of himself; a person with outermost courage and ability to look inside, observe his unique talent and accept his shortcomings.
The ability to observe himself - as well as his environment - is a talent which enabled Cleese to write and create the wonderful characters depicted throughout his career, not the least in Monty Python and Fawlty Towers; to re-create himself as an artist time and again. Cleese's sense of humour - as is evidenced throughout the book - is a by-product of the person that he is; of the way he looks at life and at himself.
This being the case, Cleese's autobiography gives us an added value: By its truthful portray of Cleese as the authentic person that he is.
Being authentic is a rare phenomenon in today's world. Social media and social pressure push many of us to behave like others; to dress like others; to assimilate our environment's "codes of behavior". In so doing we often lose our own self; neglect our own creativity; shy away from being "different" and, in so doing, we are not true to "who we are".
Reading Cleese's autobiography is therefore a wonderful reminder to all of us: that you can be "who you are" - by trusting yourself; by doing what you feel you are meant to do; by surrounding yourself with people who are at your own level, and not hesitate to distance yourself from those who can't contribute neither to your happiness nor stimulate you in one way or another (intellectually, artistically, etc.) - a hesitation that keeps many of us from being true to ourselves and to others around us.
In writing honestly about himself, Cleese's autobiography "So, anyway... " gives a "bonus" to those among us who appreciate authenticity and truthfulness, who understand how these qualities are essential for our personal development and for our success with relationships, and who can be inspired by such a book to be true to ourselves...