Be Different: Using Your Quirks as Fuel for Success

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I think one of the biggest problems I’ve ever had in my life was wanting to be like every other successful person I ever saw. 

This problem probably originated from what was once a healthy dose of desire for a good and secure future, that somewhere along the way, became twisted and warped by the selfish attitude the world can mold in to you. After a few years, I found myself attracted to dong only the things that I observed were successful to others, even if they didn’t mean a lot to me - and even if they were morally ambiguous in the action.

In this way, I was chasing, fast… Running towards a goal that wasn’t mine and running towards a future that other people were shaping, rather than me - my vision, purpose, goals, dreams. My younger creative days were marked by wanting to be like someone else, rather than to be like me - David - unique, quirky, and skilled in my own way.

This is, thankfully, something that I have begun to break free from in my life. How does someone else have the perfect path? Just because someone IS successful does NOT mean that their path and their strategy is successful for me, too. But it’s so easy to fall in to the trap, seeing a successful creative or entrepreneur take off. How they act, what they do, even the things they do - they’re all outward markers of how they became successful.

The problem? These things - the personality, the mannerism, the tactics and strategies - are simply what worked uniquely for THEM. These things worked not because the tactics work indefinitely… No, the only reason they worked is because these people have developed a self-awareness that allows them to take advice, tactics, and strategies for success and apply them in a unique way to their own life.

Why don’t more people do this? Why don’t more people choose to do their own thing and be different than everyone else?

Because it’s scary as hell, and the opportunity for rejection quadruples the moment you put yourself and your personality and your mind on the front line, instead of someone else’s. It’s a lot safer to follow than it is to lead, and it’s too easy to fall in to that trap when all you want to do is grow and build and find success.

Success only comes in one version: yours. 

Success is arbitrary - it’s definition is not reliant on wealth, possession, or even happiness. Success, as much as it is defined as those things by our culture, can only be defined in one way - by ourselves… and no two versions are exactly the same. If success is ours to define, then it’s not so hard to choose to be different any more, because those differences are exactly what lead us to our success. Those quirky things that make us “us” are exactly the things we should capitalize on.

The problem is that we’re often embarrassed by our differences to the world, when in reality, we should be embracing them - they give us a key insight in to exactly the kind of person we are, and exactly the avenues we should be pursuing as we build our lives.

What are your quirks? What makes you different?

I’m goofy, fun, loud, perfectionist, extraverted. I have weird ways of compartmentalizing my life. I’m really, really structured to the point where my friends don’t understand why I only have 45 minutes to hang out on Thursday at 5pm. I’m obsessed with details but also with building communities where details wash away. I’m extremely nice in public.

These are all things that make me me, and they are things that help me navigate the world and build who I am and what I do - they become, instead of things to be embarrassed by, tools - for me to use to grow and learn and achieve and succeed.

In your career, in your business, in your creative field - what makes YOU different? What are all the things everyone else is doing that you absolutely won’t do the same way? For me, I love people - so online, I see a lot of opportunity to utilize my desire to build community by responding to each comment and message I receive, as best as I possibly can. It’s not always easy, but it always pay off. It’s become key to my success and the success of those around me.

Open up and figure out what makes you unique - and also, where you’re trying to be too much like someone else in your field. It’s okay to learn from people, but we all have to take up our own journey on the road to our definition of success. Otherwise, we’ll just be living in someone else’s dream.

I’d rather live in mine.

David Talley
May 17, 2017
Follow me on Instagram @_davidtalley.
Follow Sydney (responsible for the "Be Different" text @sydneymichuda.

I'm on a mission to show that the light will always pierce through the darkness.