I have been a prude for just too long. I am not comfortable being one anymore. I want to be different, a pioneer in a field I am deeply interested in. I don’t want to be just another guy in yet another also-ran situation. It’s boring and uninspiring.
Michael Lazerow sums up my thoughts in his Why Weirdos Outperform Normals:
I like when they call me weird. Weird is good, I tell them. Normal is blah.
You don’t want to be blah. Blah is boring. Boring people are forgettable.
Yes, really! How boring is it to be normal.
Historically, successful contrarians were regarded as revolutionaries. Shakespeare’s sonnets, Wright brothers with their airplane, Steve Job with his Macbook and the list will go on. These people are memorable only because they are out-of-the-ordinary. No one remembers a Captain Oats1.
The point is, don’t be afraid to be different just because it is — You have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Remember 15 minutes of Fame? Fight for your chance at glory and you can turn the tide.
Kelly Clarkson’s People Like Us is an inspiring song on that note.
We come into this world unknown.
But know that we are not alone.
They try and knock us down.
But change is coming, it’s our time now.
People like us, we’ve gotta stick together.
Keep your head up, nothing lasts forever.
Here’s to the damned, to the lost and forgotten —
It’s hard to get high when you’re living on the bottom.
We are all misfits living in a world on fire.
But hold on for a second. Contrarianism is not for everyone. It isn’t — because of science; because of cognitive dissonance. Unless you feed people strong reasons to change their current views and beliefs, they won’t want to change them2.
Anyway, if you want heads to turn — turn towards you and not away — you have to learn the mantra: It is alright to be different. Just don’t be indifferent.
1: OK, some of you polar expedition fans might remember him.
2: Think of it as the Newton’s first law of motion but for people.