Let me share with you story of two friends-
One of them is near perfect in the eyes of his parents, neighbors, and society. He went to college, got the degrees. Finally got a decent job and settled down, just the way the whole world tell you to do.
Another one has a little different story. He also went to college but didn’t like the system there. Being a curious learner always, he later established an online education programme, where a like-minded community of people shares their knowledge and experience with people to become better learners. Later it became a successful platform for learning.
Now let me ask you a simple question. If given a chance, whom do you want to meet between two? or whose story touched you most?
I am sure for most of the people will remember the story of the second friend. But why is it so?
This is not a very uncommon story. Look at your surroundings, you admire mostly those people whose life has some unique elements. If someone is doing what almost everyone is asked to do, there is nothing new in that. Obviously, nobody is interested in that story. Moreover, if you become just like everybody else, you can never experience the world your own way, which means you will see and hear what others will make you see and hear, you will have beliefs what others will make you believe. You will have nothing of your own.
But why bringing that unique set of the elements is so difficult?
There is a particular type of brain cells in our brain which are called ‘mirror neurons‘. These brain cells activate when we see someone doing something. Have you ever thought, how you learned to walk, to speak in your childhood? It’s these ‘mirror neurons‘ are responsible for imitating when we see or hear something. So when you cry while watching a sad scene or smile back to some stranger when they smile at you it’s because of these neurons. To know more on this watch this Ted Talk.
We always try to imitate each other subconsciously. Without even realizing it. Now you can understand why it’s difficult to bring something new of our own.
But is it worth to fight for that uniqueness, cause when you become different than others, the world around you will not be ready to accept you. They will criticize you. However, people will remember only those who are somehow different than them. Former Indian President ‘ A. P. J. Abdul Kalam once said
” every youth wants to be unique, that is, YOU! But the world all around you is doing its best, day and night, to make you just everybody else. Being like everybody else is convenient at first glance, but not satisfying in the long vision.”
Is there any way to become unique? To stand for yourself. From ages, people repeatedly said us the best way to bring your uniqueness by knowing yourself. Now you are thinking ‘ What! I don’t know myself’ what are they saying. But believe me, whatever little experience I have while meeting different people, most people have no idea what they truly want, how they want to see their life. Most often they try to imitate someone, sometimes subconsciously.
So, how to know yourself? What I have learned over the years is-
- Write down your feeling, thoughts on a paper More than 60000 thoughts arise in our mind in a day. Some are important some are useless. We don’t even remember what we thought yesterday and that’s obvious. When you write down your important thoughts on a paper, It gives you a better insight of your own nature. By writing down you can track your feelings and ponder over them for your betterment. No doubt all the great people from ancient times always kept a journal with them to write down everything. I know it’s not easy to start for someone who never done that but I promise you will amaze when you get to know about your own thoughts consciously. Flannery O’Connor, an American Novelist once said-
” I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say”
2. Spend some time alone with yourself every day This might surprise you. What I mean by spending time with yourself? You speak the whole day with different people. The whole world is trying to get your attention somehow. With the rise of Social-Media, the war of attention has increased. But do you give attention to yourself? Do you self-introspect? When you sit alone, no one is there to install their beliefs in you, no one is there to make you biased. You get a chance to think by yourself, not by others prejudice. Moreover, you get a chance to to hear your own voice more clearly. As, Oprah Winfrey said-
” Alone time is when I distance myself from the voices of the world so I can hear my own”
3. Expand your world If ‘mirror neurons’ are helping us to mimic others activities, why not take advantage of that. Why learn and mimic only a few people, expand your world a little more, meet with different people, read different books to know what other people around the world thinks. Experience different cultures. The more you explore, the more you have options to learn from different people. When your world is too small, your beliefs would be limited. When you stretch out your world, your options, believes everything will increase. You will learn to think in various ways and one way is not for all. As John Powell said-
” A person can grow only as much as his horizon allows”
4. Learn to fail What you need to do if you have to become unique. You need to try different things whatever interests you, you need to explore more. So failure obviously would be the part of the process. However, we have been taught from childhood that failure is for losers. In fact, failure is essential for growth, for something new. The important thing to remember is we need to fail fast, which means we should not waste our time pondering over the last failure and move on as fast as possible. If you want don’t want to be like everybody else you have to be ready to fail and learn from that. In the words of Winston Churchill-
” Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm”
5. Have faith in your own uniqueness What will happen if one of your friend in a group starts behaving differently, all your friends will start doubting him, criticizing him even maybe disliking him. Same will happen if you want to stand by yourself, when you don’t want to become what everyone around you is telling you to do or when you try to do something different from rest of the people in your community or group. It’s your own clarity and faith upon yourself which will protect you during these tough times. The essential thing for most unique people in the world is their confidence and belief in their uniqueness. So how important is your self-belief, as swami Vivekananda said-
” You cannot believe in God, until you believe in yourself ”
Uniqueness is not about to show others how better or worse someone is compared to others. It is not about competition. It’s something which gives you an identity among more than 7 billion people in the world. It makes you realize your existence on the earth which results in a deeper satisfaction inside. So however hard the world is trying to make you just everybody else, don’t lose to them. Become your own self.
Have a joyful week. Until next time. – Joy♥