” Why fit in when you were born to stand out” – Dr. Seuss
The thing about humans is, we all like to feel that we belong somewhere. So we sort ourselves into groups, then sub-groups and we then sub-group the sub-groups. Okay you get my drift. But of course this just means that we end up only identifying with the immediate people around us.
But alas! The internet has changed everything. Thanks to the spectrum of different social tools such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to name a few, we can now connect with people without any geographical constraints. Free as white doves to explore all types of groups or even create our own unique flock.
If only it was that simple though!
No doubt we have an innate desire to fit in and feel accepted, but sometimes this can manifest itself in many and at times destructive ways. Ever wondered why on social media, everyone’s lives seem to be a bowl of glistening ripe cherries? Life is not any less chaotic or unpredictable than it was in the pre-hashtag era. But the difference now is, for once we have control over what we share, what we choose to reveal about ourselves, and most importantly how others see us. I admit, being different is scary enough in the normal world but in the increasingly connected digital world, the fear is even greater.
So how do you stand out whilst being true to who you are?
The first step is to work on yourself offline. Turn off your phone (yes I know it sounds painful) and grab a notepad. Write and reflect on what makes you who you are. What are your values? What makes you come alive? What issues really make your blood boil? These are tough questions, but they will help you search within and come closer to discovering the essence of your being.
The second step is to stop trying to be like everyone else. And just to make sure that fully sinks in, I’ll repeat it once more. STOP TRYING TO BE LIKE EVERYONE ELSE. You’re doing yourself a HUGE disservice every time you with hold your thoughts because you don’t want to disagree with everyone else. Every time you nod along and bite your tongue knowing you’ll only regret your silence later on. Every time you discard an idea because others may think it’s stupid. This type of shrinking will only result in making you unhappy and completely uninspired in life.
And the last step is to ask yourself, who are you when no one is watching? Maybe you’re that girl who practices her Nobel Prize speech in front of the mirror, or the guy who tries to perfect his brush strokes, producing art work that would probably put Monet to shame.
The world needs your talent, your creativity and ideas. Standing out means stepping out of the shadow, and being true is the act of standing firm. Especially when every cell in your body is screaming at you to take cover.
The world is ready. Are you?