Here is a quote that is often misattributed to Steve jobs, but it's actually from an Apple commercial that was entitled think different. It is a quote I often saw in eulogy of Steve jobs after his passing.
This quote has always resonated with me deeply, partly because I am a huge Steve Jobs fan but mostly because I've felt like a round peg trying to fit in a square hole my entire life. Truth be told Steve was a little bit of a psychopath, may not someone to necessarily emulate because he had his demons. He had vision though, far beyond normal people's capabilities and I truly believe he pushed the human race forward. There's probably been no other company in history that has had the technological impact on humanity as much as Apple. Good or bad I think we'll look back and realize that that they have changed the face of the earth. There is no way they would have done that without Jobs. When we're children, we all struggle with our uniqueness, with our gifts that we don't yet understand. These are the things, the quirks, that make us who we are. In our youth we look at those things as being bad, we feel that our uniqueness is a bad thing. There must be something wrong with me because, I like to read too much or I like this, or I like that, or I'm introverted or extroverted, or I talk too much or talk too little or whatever it is that makes you, undeniably you. Perhaps it's part of public education system that wants kids to conform to a certain mold because they have to make these test scores and meet these standards.
Maybe they really don't want different because different makes it harder. I understand you've got 25 or 30 kids in a classroom, all of them individuals, all so different. It's a challenge I know, not bashing our teachers, just the system they are in. We push this idea of conformity on kids that start to think that they aren't good enough. They have what we call imposter syndrome from an early age. They sit back and decide to try and fit in with the crowd. It manifests itself in the form of shoes or designer jeans; because if you look like everyone else you can hide the fact that you are a little weird, right?
I'm a little tweaked. I'm a science nerd, that really good at math. I always thought that is not cool because people told me it wasn't cool. In hindsight, you want to know who told me it wasn't cool? People who couldn't do math to save their lives, let that sink in for a minute.
Instead of embracing what makes us unique we try and conform, because that's what we've been told to do our entire lives. We spend the first 20 years of our life trying to fit in. With this in mind I want to share this idea with you. If you want to change the world (remember I'm crazy enough to think I can) you need to be who you needed, when you were younger. You know who I needed? I needed somebody to tell me that it's okay to be the nerd. It's okay to be the science kid. It's okay to be the math kid. It's okay to be smart. I know that there were times in my life, I acted like I didn't have the right answers because I didn't want to be that kid in class that knew everything. If I could go back and tell myself anything, it would start with start with the fact that it's okay to be a little bit of a rebel.
On some level, everyone and I mean every freakin' one is a round peg trying to go into a square hole. Everyone, the popular kids, the nerdy kids, the people who you think are perfect. They are all round pegs in square holes in their own mind. Our response to thinking that we are alone in our uniqueness is to conform to those who we think must not ever feel that way. Which is total BS. The things that I thought were embarrassing, made me who I am and pushed me directions that I would have never been without them.
It's okay to be the misfit. It's okay to be the round peg in a square hole, because use those gifts to push yourself forward. I hate this idea that we try to conform people into these little boxes of this. Americans do it politically, too, which drives me crazy because people assume you have to fit in a neat, tidy, little box of opinions. Hey, are you liberal or conservative? Right wing or left wing? No, I'm an American. I'm a person who believe in equality. I believe in that everybody has civil liberties and that all people regardless of our differences should be treated equally but I also am fiscally conservative. That right there, being socially liberal (for a lack of a better term, I can personally disagree with something but believe the government should have zero say in your life) and fiscally conservative makes me a misfit. I've honestly confused people, "So what do you mean, you don't like Trump? So you like Biden, right?" Nope, I don't like either of them, but I'd choose the one who wants government of the two. We try to pigeonhole people into thinking that opposing ideologies are clean cut and neat. That you must believe one or the other.
We're all a little bit of the crazy ones, but the world tries to break us of that. We spent 20 years being told to be a certain way. All that time we feel that if we personally don't feel that way, that we are wrong. This causes exceptional people sometimes to hold that back for so long that they forget about the fire inside them that made them different. That spark, will ignite again and it will push them forward. We spend are twenties trying to figure out who we really are inside. We overcome the feelings of being a misfit of being a round peg in a square hole. In our thirties we've figured it out, who we are, the beautiful the ugly, the good, and the bad and we embrace the shit out of it. I've wondered if this is the reason people hit their thirties and break out to achieve so much more than they did in their earlier years.
My advice to anyone out there, figure out who you are, figure out those weird idiosyncrasies that might drive other people a little bit crazy.
Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in square holes, the ones who see things differently. They're not fond of the rules. I was never fond of the rules. They have no respect for the status quo. I will push the bounds of what is normal, because I know that there is more, you can quote them, disagree with them glorify or vilify them. Unfortunately, the latter happens frequently. People who have visionary thoughts are vilified because they go against what you think is comfortable. They make you uncomfortable. Guess what? We're all uncomfortable. We're all uncomfortable because we've never been taught how to be comfortable with who we are. It's taken me 36 years to be comfortable with exactly who I am.
I don't take no for an answer. I'm a little bit stubborn, I'm loud and can be brash. I dive head first into things without thinking. Those traits that the world tried to break me of in my youth have started to take me places I could have only dreamed. I was different, but I didn't embrace it then because we aren't taught how.
You can't ignore people like us, because we change things. We push the human race forward. Elon Musk, Steve jobs. I'm not gonna throw bill Gates in there because I think he's, he's kind of shady dude. Look at these successful entrepreneurs and the things that they did, people thought they were bat shit crazy most of the time . While you may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones that do.
Figure out who you are, figure out what is important to you. Use your idiosyncrasies. Use the weird things about you. The things that most people think make you not normal. Nobody is normal. We all just try to hide it, some just do better at hiding it than others. Quit hiding it. Be who you are, change the world. Be that person you were destined to be, before the world told you to conform.