We live in a world of masquerades. With no one showing their true selves, it’s easy to think that the advice you receive is based on experience, when most often it’s not. The truth is–most people would rather tell people what to do rather than follow their own advice.

My message to the world is to practice what you preach. The reason it’s of vital to do so isn’t just because it makes you more authentic, it’s because you can’t change the world if you can’t change yourself.

You need to be willing to look in the mirror and learn from your reflection.

At one point in my life, I was very talented at giving advice to everyone but myself. No matter how great I listened and responded to others, my own suffering remained humming in the background unacknowledged.

It wasn’t until I made the decision to start following my own advice that my life transformed into what it is today. I urge all of you to stop pointing the finger at others, start taking accountability for your actions, and start practicing what you preach.

Here are seven benefits of following your own advice. Practicing what you preach:

1. Increases your authenticity and makes you a better leader.

Think back to your adolescence. How much did it bother you when authority figures told you to do something that they haven’t done or wouldn’t do themselves? It was infuriating, and it made you want to rebel against their recommendations.

Following your own advice gives you instant credibility that makes people open up rather than shut down. Being authentic is much more approachable than hiding behind a veil of authority.

2. Provides you with lived experience to back up your knowledge.

While the old montage of starting out as a janitor and working your way up the company hierarchy doesn’t hold water in todays economy, there’s value in learning from experience.

Learning from life rather than textbooks gives you greater depth of wisdom rather than theoretical knowledge, making you more adaptable and resilient to the ever-changing environment.

3. Gives you genuine self-confidence that cannot be purchased.wolf-of-wall-street-tv

Aligning your actions with your principles increases your sense of confidence. Knowing who you are and embracing those values in all aspects of your life grounds you and builds a foundation that cannot be shaken.

Genuine self-confidence can only be discovered by learning who you really are–and your true self is only uncovered through lived experience. No amount of money can give you the type of real confidence that you can earn yourself by following your own advice.

4. Teaches you how difficult self-development really is.

So many people in the world love the idea of self-improvement, but don’t really want to do it. The truth is–it’s so much easier to read a popular self-help book than go sit across from a psychologist. It takes courage to be vulnerable in front of another person, even if that person’s job is to help you implement and sustain positive changes that book knowledge alone cannot possibly match. The road to self-development is a life-long drive should you choose to venture out of your comfort zone.

5. Gives you an appreciation for the people who never stop growing.

Knowing how difficult it is to continue examining unhealthy or uncomfortable aspects of yourself gives you a profound respect for the people that continue making positive changes. It makes you realize how many people aren’t challenging themselves to grow, and how complacency increases with comfort.

6. Improves your ability to empathize with other people’s suffering.

The more you discover about yourself, the better your ability to understand others. You can use that tool to selfishly point the finger at other people and avoid looking inwards, or you can allow your insights to increase your ability to understand what it must be like to live under different circumstances.

Appreciate your privilege, and recognize how difficult it is for people who don’t have the same benefits.

7. Creates positive habits that will continue enriching your life for years to come.

Following your own advice lays the foundation of success. Practicing what you preach gives you the power to continue taking responsibility for your actions for the rest of your life, and it gives you the skills you need to make the most out of the time you have.

Stop settling for an average life and start doing whatever it takes to discover the happiness that’s available to you in each moment. There’s no reason to live behind a mask that gives you permission to tell others how to grow without confronting those same challenges yourself.

Learn from your own reflection, and start being the change you want to see in the world.