Modernist identity theory says that it is virtuous to be authentic to your essence. Acting inauthentically is a cardinal sin. For example, if a guy asks how to get girls, most of the time he’ll be told “just be yourself”.
If left to our own devices, most of the decisions we make are satisficing: choosing to do things that are good enough. You wear whatever’s clean, you watch whatever’s on, you do stuff because your friends are doing it, etc. (If your habitual actions happen to be Stuff White People Like, then you’re automatically authentic.)
But under modernism, this unplanned, unexamined life is supposed to be better than a life that’s engineered, a life of artifice. I beg to differ: people should be allowed to invent their identities, to “fake it till you make it”. The test is how well they pull it off, how consistent is their identity? And, of course, acting a particular way for personal gain is not cool, while acting a particular way because it’s enjoyable is cool.
Let’s call this act of constructing, projecting and maintaining an identity “personal branding“. I think that rather than construct an identity out of thin air, you should look at where you’re successful in life and what aspects you’re happy about. Distil a brand essence out of those. Then build on your strengths and nudge the rest of your life into alignment with your brand.