“Everything Popular is Wrong” – Oscar Wilde
The popular path
When I was, like most teenagers, I was constantly concerned with what others thought of me. As a result, I obsessed about image: what I looked like, dressed like, how I spoke and the impressions I made. In many ways this strong self-awareness was useful to getting jobs, obtaining promotions and gaining acceptance of others.
But what value is others’ acceptance really?
Does it make your life longer? Is there more fulfillment in your life? Are you truly more successful?
I looked back at the many times I obsessed over image, suppressing my true passions and dreams in the process, stifling my creativity and purpose for the sake of others.
Who wants to be called weird?
As hard as I tried, I realized I couldn’t hide my weirdness. That weirdness was passion, personality and talent, each of which are unique attributes to every human.
Rather than do the exercise where I speak to my younger self, I have even better practical application. I have four children now…How do I want them to live their lives? Fearful of rejection? Hungry for approval? Holding back on their true dreams?
Of course not. For me, I decided to be the best example of going after it, not for success’ sake, but for the wellness of my children in following their own callings.
Big dreamers are weird
I’m not talking about staring at trees weird (that’s truly weird). I am referring to believing in big things:
– starting a church
– growing a real estate business
– spending a few years overseas
– developing new technology
– running for city counsel
– getting your pilots license
– building a race car in your garage
– helping transform lives of underprivileged youth in a city you love
I have a circle of weird friends that are doing a few of these things and I am inspired by their passion for their vision. In fact, in spite of our differences in interests, what we share in common is a deep desire to be a part of something great!
Network with other dreamers
It’s okay to be weird to outsiders. If you are a part of the right circle, you will find the encouragement and inspiration to go go after it. Often times real world interactions do not afford much opportunity to connect with visionaries and dreamers, so find connections online through Linkedin and Meetups. Join a mastermind. Go after that vision!
Rodney Robinson II