Mandy Kloppers

How being different can lead to success

Think about Michael Jackson – he was definitely different and ever-so successful. His eccentricity fuelled his success. Psychologists would say that his bran was wired differently to the average person. Michael Jackson never seemed to really grow up and maintained a childlike quality his whole life. He was very different in this way but it is also partly the reason that he was so successful. If he’d thought like everyone else, his talented brain would have never produced the creativity he managed to share with the world. Possessing a brain that is wired differently can often be a huge asset when it comes to being creative and entrepreneurial.

Mediocrity can lead to mediocre results. The sad thing is that I have met many clients with incredible talents but they haven’t believed in themselves and have therefore never used their unique talents.

Being different and/or eccentric is something to be prized and it is something that we often overlook. Society favours the average joe who goes to work and pays his taxes and follows the rules like a nice little obedient citizen. Being different can be the trigger for bullying and being ostracized. The differences that might make young people feel alienated are often the ones that win them admiration and respect in adulthood. Often, the difference that causes quirky people grief in school eventually leads to something wonderful. And when you keep nurturing that quality, it might just continue to give you an advantage.

If you try to be like everyone else, you will be unlikely to stand out. They key to being successful is to highlight your differences and use these to offer something unique back. Another thing to refrain from doing is comparing yourself to others.

In school, children and teens prize sameness because their still-maturing brains haven’t fully developed the ability to navigate complex social relationships. Kids believe that their circle is stronger if their friends are similar. Plus, the process of figuring out how we fit into the world makes us understandably insecure—and one way to deflect insecurity is to point out others’ differences to shift attention from our own.

As an adult it’s importance to honour your difference and nurture that talent – be different and be proud. Difference is the quality that sets you apart on first dates and job interviews, that signals your singularity to potential friends. Embracing your quirkiness helps you become the best version of you and share that you-ness with the world. It’s just a matter of figuring out your particular thing and not hiding it.

Mandy X


Photo by Alex Mihai C on Unsplash