I have never been a fan of “normal.” Even as a little kid I was drawn to things that were different. I wanted a bicycle that stood out from the crowd – not more expensive or even better – just different. I built my first car from the ground up so I could have something that would stand out. I moved on to college options that were different, completing bachelors and masters degrees with no debt.
Here’s a quotation that helped shape my choices:
“If you want to be successful in life, simply watch what most people would do in a given situation, and then do the total opposite—nine times out of ten, you’ll receive greater rewards.” Earl Nightingale
Remember that what is most popular is seldom the best. If you are going to be excellent or enjoy excellence in anything you are going to have to put aside conformity. There is a tendency to think whatever people are doing in significant numbers must be right. Is McDonald’s the “best” food? Does Walmart have the “best” clothes? Is the most popular politician ever likely to be the “best” choice for being in power?
Remember the scene in Seinfeld when George decided to do the opposite? Since everything is his life turned out wrong he simply decided to do the opposite of everything he would normally do. Pretty funny scenario – but probably a lot of truth in that for some of us.
Today I still drive classic cars that have great lines and character. My office is in a remodeled old barn on our property. And my work as an author, speaker and coach makes it difficult for people to determine if I’m working or playing. Being different has allowed me to “see” things others don’t see and to go down paths of opportunity that few people get to enjoy.
Do you do the things you do because they are what everyone else is doing or have you carefully chosen your beliefs and daily actions because they are the best for you and your personal journey into a life of purpose and meaning? If you’re doing what’s really best for you chances are you’re going against the grain of common thinking. Are you?
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