Is it ok to be different? What to do if you have a different personality than others?
Is it ok to be different? Almost everyone with a unique personality or a special talent and skill faces this question at some point in their lives. In a society where everything unconventional, so to say, is frowned upon, it takes guts of steel to shine out and succeed when you are different. Let's look at some of the most famous, successful and respected people in the world, from all walks of life and find out if it is ok to be different from others.
1) Steve Jobs: From psychedelics to the master of innovation
Collecting coke bottles to earn money, scouting for free meals at a Hare Krishna temple, experimenting with LSD, travelling to a foreign land for spiritual freedom, returning with a bald head and converting religions is not what you would expect the top business leader of the world's biography to read. But that's Steve Jobs. The late apple founder was different, and how!
It is believed that Steve Jobs had a somewhat frustrating childhood. His aptitude and interests were ahead of that of his peers. In college, he dropped out and for a while, left technology for creativity and afterwards, spiritual enlightenment in India where he experimented with LSD.
As the years went by and amidst criticism of his management style, Steve Jobs invented products that would change our lives forever - Macbook, iPod, iPad and iPhone. In some ways, it would be fair to say that the late Steve Jobs paved a better and brighter future for humanity. Aren't we all glad that he did not succumb to the question, 'Is is ok to be different?'
2) Marissa Mayer: From fashion conscious computer geek to $70 million CEO
From a 2012 perspective, Marissa Mayer is not different from millions of other women in the world today. But what about more than a decade back? How many geeky, fashion conscious female Stanford graduates in artificial intelligence would you have known back in the late nineties? Mayer is different from others because back in her time, she was a pioneer of sorts.
Brainy, IT geek, computer engineer, fashionable, graduate in artificial intelligence and a meticulous, at times even difficult to please personality, was not your typical girl in the 90's. Mayer was different from rest and she stuck to her guns. She continued doing what she was good at and believed in herself – Which is just about everything you need to succeed as a person who is uniquely talented and different from others.
It is a widely reported fact that Mayer was Google's first female engineers. Over time, this engineer who has a penchant for wearing designer clothes, Oscar de la Renta in particular, took the tech world by storm. At 37, Mayer is CEO of Yahoo with a widely speculated salary package exceeding $70 million over the next 5 years, if she meets her growth targets. While that itself is something to boast about, she is also the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
3) Richard Branson: From dyslexia to knighthood
Owner of more than 400 countries, Richard Branson is usually pictured flying jets to private islands with a string of beautiful airhostesses accompanying him on his trips. Little does the world know that the man, now conferred with the title of Sir, suffers from dyslexia. He got poor grades in school and was unsuccessful in his childhood.
Being a late bloomer, it was only later in life that Sir Richard Branson found that his talent and ability to connect with others made him different from others. He used these skills and started selling records, a business which later turned into Virgin Records. In the years to come, this kid with a learning disability founded Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin Cargo, Virgin Mobile and a list of other successful ventures.
4) Kristen Stewart: From tomboy to sexiest woman in the world
It seems as if Kristen Stewart is out here to prove that being different from others is a blessing, rather than a curse. In a world where plunging necklines, wardrobe malfunctions, sky high heels, skirt slits running up to the hip and skimpy outfits are the norm, Kristen found it comfortable to walk the red carpets in her casual loose t-shirts, pair of worn out jeans and her favorite pair of Converse shoes.
The Twilight star did not bend her personality to imitate the attitude, personality and fashion trends to be successful. So far, it seems that there is no fake facade that she puts up while attending premiers, public events and stepping out in the midst of glaring flashbulbs.
She famously said "If a woman isn't happy and un-opinionated and long-haired and pretty, then she's weird and ugly. I just don't get it. I hate it when they say I'm ungrateful and I f*****g hate it when they say I don't give a shit, because nobody cares more than I do. I'm telling you I don't know anybody who does this that gives a shit more than I do." Sourced via Kristen Stewart quotes on IMDB
5) Michael Jackson: From an emotionally abused child to the King of Pop
Critics can say what they want, there is little doubt that MJ influenced multiple generations and won millions of hearts in possibly all the countries of the world that had access to a radio or TV during and after his time.
Nose job, child abuse, sexual harassment, drugs, Neverland, skin color, failed marriage, legal disputes, bankruptcy and a massive question mark on his death – Michael Jackson's life and death have been nothing short of extraordinary and controversial. There is little doubt that the moonwalking King of Pop lived a life that was way different than that of the average joe.
So what did MJ get for being different? He has possibly won every music award there was to win during his career. From Grammies to AMAs to Billboards, the Beat It singer has stomped a footprint never to be erased. For once, we are going to put controversies aside and think of how one of 10 siblings from a working class family made it big, by putting his talent to good use.
6) Thomas Edison: School dropout to inventor of the light bulb
In childhood, Thomas Edison was miles away from being the kid who would one day invent the light bulb. In fact, he went to school for only 3 months because his teachers believed that he was unable to think because his mind constantly wandered. Being pulled out of school, Edison was homeschooled by his mother.
However Edison's fate as an inventor and entrepreneur was carved out during his teenage years when he sold newspapers and veggies while learning qualitative analysis and chemistry. Eventually, this kid with a 'wandering mind' went on to print his own daily and later founded General Electric.
Homeschooled and shun for being different from others, Edison took upon himself to learn, earn and evolve into a person he wanted to be. Today, even more than 80 years after his death, this iconic inventor, founder and entrepreneur still has a strong presence in books, magazines, TV, popular culture and even Google Doodles.
7) Lady Gaga: From insecure and eccentric to the most influential person in the world
Eccentric, insecure, social outcast and different from everyone around her, are possibly the words and phrases that can be used to describe Lady Gaga pre and post stardom. Critics have always questioned if there was more substance to Lady Gaga other than provocative outfits, raunchy videos and a fashion sense never before seen. But if learning to play the piano at age 4 and performing at open mike nights by the age of 13 doesn't talk about talent, there is little else that will.
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta aka Lady Gaga has never been shy of displaying her eccentrics nor has she succumbed to criticism from the world over. The only thing she has done her entire life is to continue making music, the way she loves it. Even her videos are a world apart from other pop acts and her stage performances are at best, controversial and scandalous.
We are not discussing whether her antics are morally acceptable or not. We are looking beyond all that. We are looking at how despite being a social outcast in many ways, this girl has shone through by doing what she loved doing day after day. Lady Gaga's famous quotes "Don't you ever let a soul in the world tell you that you can't be exactly who you are" and "Some women choose to follow men, and some women choose to follow their dreams" show that this girl is hell bent on being happy in her own skin – just the way it should be. Quotes sourced via Lady Gaga quotes on IMDB
8) Mark Zuckerberg: From a geek to the world's youngest billionaire
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is different in many ways. To begin with, he was raised as a Jewish child, but is now reportedly an Atheist. In his childhood and teenage years, he spent his time studying and soaking in knowledge from all academic corners. It is believed that Mark knows how to read and write Ancient Greek, Latin, French and Hebrew, besides English of course. From reciting classic poetry to programming computer games, this whiz kid was a world apart from your regular teenager.
Mark's story of 'being different' does not simply end at being extremely intelligent. Recently after the much debated Facebook IPO, he married his girlfriend of nearly 10 years, Priscilla Chan, in his backyard. The marriage was shrouded in a cloud of secrecy and surprise to such an extent, that even most of the invitees did not know that they were going to attend a wedding. A low key affair is miles away from what you would expect from the average billionaire, don't you think?
So did this prodigy benefit from being different from others in his class and shunning social norm? If you count being the world's youngest billionaire a success, yes, Mark Zuckerberg shows us that it is ok to be different.
9) Justin Bieber: From a bedroom drummer to a millionaire pop star
There was nothing extraordinary about Justin Bieber's childhood other than himself. His mother was a single mom and made just about enough to keep them going. Justin was different from others as a kid because he was reserved and in some ways, is believed to have kept to himself. By 12, this child prodigy had taught himself to play drums, guitar, piano and the trumpet.
However it was not until his mother posted a video of him on YouTube that the world took notice. Justin's story is amazing and special because he and his mom, believed in his talents and went full throttle to doing whatever it takes to be successful. Initially, his critics slammed him with abusive comments on YouTube and online rants that would have put down the best of us.
Not the one to back down, Justin kept doing what he loved. In the end, there was only one winner – a millionaire teenager who followed his dream. Justin Bieber is a unique and talented individual who put aside the nasty things others had to say to him, and rose above the criticism to become successful and famous.
Things to remember if you are different from others
From business to entertainment to science - We have looked at successful individuals from many walks of life. But what have we learnt from these success stories? How can we look at positive sides of each individual's story and draw inspiration for our own lives? Let's think about the things and personality traits that are not visible on magazine covers. Let's do a quick recap on things that are beyond skin deep and lay bare some of the things you need to remember if you think you are different from others.
1) Don't think of yourself as inferior to others just because you have a different personality. If each and every one of us was the same, there would be no winners.
2) Let your talents, skills and abilities speak for themselves. Very few in this world are blessed with a special skill. Use yours to shine and succeed.
3) Just because you have had a turbulent past does not mean your life is ruined. Stop worrying about the past and look forward to a brighter and better tomorrow. Late bloomers often succeed and surpass their peers when they find focus in life.
4) Surround yourself with friends who are likeminded and are in complete acceptance of your personality as a unique individual. Stop hanging out with the people who put you down, and find company of those who cherish you and your unique personality. For instance, could you ever imagine Sheldon From the Big Bang Theory hanging out with Charlie from Two and a Half Men?
5) Remember that the world's most successful, famous and respected men and women are in some ways, different from the rest of us. It was their unique personality that got them where they are today.
6) Don't have expectations from others – They will mock you, they will put you down, they will make fun of you, they will talk behind your back and they will try every trick in the book to put you down and make you feel miserable. Don't give up, keep pushing and keep trying until the day you silence your critics with your success.