If you want to live it forward and become a great leader, you have to dare to be different. The reason? Most worthwhile goals require you to swim upstream. And let’s face it, swimming upstream is more challenging than floating downstream. That’s why the word “dare” fits so well with “different.” It takes guts to live it forward. But not just guts. Effort. Push. Drive.

The way to change the world, or at least your world, is to dare to be different.  When you dare to be different, you step out of the mold, and you make space for your creative twists.  When you dare to be different, sometimes you stand alone.  But alone is where your unique creative contribution can thrive. It’s what leaders, great artists, and inspiring minds, do.  They take us beyond the edges of conformity to pave brave new frontiers.

I’m going to be honest with you. This is real talk. Have you ever noticed how miserable people seem to be? How often do people whine and complain about their lives? For some strange reason, we tend to forget this. We think that if we spend time changing our hair color or buying the latest fashions and gadgets, we will somehow change who we are. We try to change the way we talk, trying to say just the right thing to sound cool, hip, or whatever the latest term is. We work hard to change our body because we must look like everyone else.
We want to be like everyone else.

It seems like it’s the norm to feel like nothing is ever enough. The reason is simple. It all comes down to following the crowd. Most people are prisoners to the opinions of others. People are too scared to be themselves. Think about it. No matter how many attempts you make to become like everyone else, your fingerprints will always be different. You can change many of the accessories on the outside, but you are still an original you. Would you eat an almond butter sandwich for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – every day? Would you watch the same movie on your date night – every date night? Would you spend each evening with the same routine, day after day? Wouldn’t it get boring? Where is the excitement? The Usual gets boring.

Our society is based on conformity. You’re taught by your surrounding environment to not draw attention to yourself and that you should play nice by the rules. The fact is: you can’t be different and not draw attention to yourself at the same time. Thus people take the easy way out and behave like everyone else simply because they don’t want to be judged and made fun of, which eventually leads them to suppress their true personalities.

Put a group of people together and you will find that, if willing, there can be a great opportunity to gain. Because we are all different, we have different thought patterns and different opinions. When we share ourselves with others, we can learn ways to think outside the box, problem-solve, and even see the world in a new light. Working with others through differences, we can combat things such as hate and fear. We can overcome, hopefully conquering (and spreading) tolerance and acceptance. Separately, we grow together.

It is hard to swim against the current and pursue something that is extraordinary. You will hit barriers, trying to prevent you from following your dreams, but this is the price that you have to pay in order to be different, to not be like everyone else. The best part is that once you have proved them wrong, got over the hurdles and found your own INDIVIDUAL path you will live a much happier life than the ones that tried to bring you down in the first place. The truth is: No one is the same. Everyone is different and you should embrace your differentness, without being scared of judgement created in our society.