“There are so many different walks of life, so many different personalities in the world. And no longer do you have to be a chameleon and try and adapt to that environment—you can truly be yourself.”
Hope Solo (Soccer Goalkeeper, 2X Olympic Gold Medalist)
“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”
Bruce Lee, (Actor and Founder of Jeet Kune Do)
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson (Author of Self-Reliance and Other Essays)
He would live forever.
You still know him to this day, more than 2,000 years later.
For good reason.
He pushed everything that was expected of him aside and made himself the most important figure of his age.
Just him and his troops against one of the greatest powers the world has ever seen.
And when the fighting was done, he concluded his work by saying ‘veni, vidi, vici’
I came, I saw, I conquered.
In this way, Julius Caesar became one of the most well-known historical figures of all time.
He accomplished more for himself than anyone thought possible.
His superiors expected him to just do his duty.
They expected him to conquer new territories for the state and then go back home for a victory parade.
There are thousands of people in Roman history who did that.
Gnaeus Manlius Vulso did it.
Do you recognize his name?
Of course you don’t.
I don’t either.
He, and thousands of others, did what they were told.
As a result, they became nobodies.
A footnote in the history books.
Julius Caesar thought differently.
Against his superiors, against his orders, against his fate of being a forgotten nobody.
He didn’t fear anyone’s opinion.
He knew what he was capable of.
He played to his strengths and emerged as one of the most memorable figures in all of human history.
Caesar led an army.
Conquered a nation.
Defeated his rivals.
Created an empire.
Was he hated because of this?
Does that matter?
Everyone who accomplishes something great ends up dealing with naysayers.
Leaders don’t listen to the opinions of others, especially not the opinions of negative people.
They listen to themselves.
This is what Caesar did.
Instead of being a meek follower, he forged his own path.
He stood out.
So can you.
But it’s hard.
Sometimes I get the urge to take a big risk or to speak up for myself and then I hesitate.
I start thinking about what might happen.
Then the pause takes over.
The void of doing nothing gets filled with doubt.
The only way to prevent this from happening to you is to get in the habit of standing out.
But first you have to break your habit of playing small.
Why You Need To Stop Playing Small
Fear will keep you from achieving what you want out of life.
Fear will keep you in a box.
A box like your 9 to 5 job, the cubical at your job, your car, your house, your mortgage payment, on and on.
Fear makes you stagnant.
The only way to break free is to name what you’re afraid of.
You need to name it and then do it.
Do the thing you fear and your fear dies.
A study published in the journal Psychological Science studied the treatment of people with arachnophobia, and found that people ended up showing fewer fear-related symptoms around a spider when they were able to be honest with themselves about the way they felt.
Those in the group who were told not to talk about the spider became more fearful and concerned.
Those who said they were scared that the spider might jump on them, or bite them, or crawl all over them, were able to stay calm and keep their fears in check.
If you’re not being honest with yourself and with the world about who you are and what you want, your fears will get the better of you.
If you can’t admit to yourself that you want to accomplish something big and significant, your fears of being insignificant will grow.
Your insecurity will grow.
Playing small is slowly killing you.
You’re not going anywhere in life by trying to get lost in the crowd.
You can’t put a dent in the universe by hiding.
Instead, you will be forgotten.
The only way to matter in life is to admit you care about mattering.
You must admit that you want to leave a legacy.
You want to stand out.
You were meant to stand out.
How To Be Larger Than Life And Full Of Purpose
Nowadays, people are afraid of standing out.
They don’t want to come off too strong.
Or too arrogant.
Or too egocentric.
Everyone is constantly worried about their image.
Just do your job.
Smile and nod.
Don’t rock the boat.
This is what we are trained to do.
You’ve been trained to do what everyone else is doing.
You’ve been trained to chase the same small-minded goals as everyone else.
If you keep this up, no one will ever remember you.
If someone does remember you, they’ll simply say, “oh yeah, he was a pretty nice guy.”
That’ll be it.
You’ll be a big fat nothing to them.
You’ll have made zero impact on their lives.
You’ll have made zero impact on your life as well.
The only way to avoid this fate is to step up and be confident.
Stop pretending you’re like the weak minded and co-dependent people around you.
Stop being invisible.
Look—you won’t get anywhere in life by letting people walk all over you.
You won’t get anywhere by just shutting up and doing what you’re told.
If you want to be noticed, if you want to matter, you need to speak up for yourself.
You need to admit that you want to have an impact on the world and then start taking action to make a difference.
Here are three strategies to become larger than life by stepping up, standing out, and living life on your own terms…
1. See fitting in as a disease.
Stop pretending to be interested in all the same things that interest the people around you.
The same movies.
The same music.
The same hobbies.
The same sports teams.
This is no way to live.
You’re more than just a boring, agreeable pushover.
You have your own interests, your own gifts.
You have something that sets you apart.
The problem is you’re afraid to stand out.
You’re not sure if you can withstand the ridicule that comes with it.
Standing out puts you in a dangerous, unfamiliar place.
It opens you up to criticism.
It opens you up to people who will try to drag you back down.
Have the guts to stand out anyway.
Own up to what sets you apart from everyone else, and do it openly.
Stop hiding your gifts.
Stop apologizing for them.
Too often you hear someone dismiss their strengths, their personal project, or even their life’s work with contempt.
When someone asks about it, they’ll say, “oh, I know it sucks” or “oh, I know it’s not that special.”
This is how fools talk.
Downplaying yourself just to fit in and just to keep others comfortable will ruin you.
It will eat away at your talent and your motivation until nothing is left.
Fitting in is like a disease.
The more you try to fit in, the more the disease spreads.
Over time, playing small will infect all your pursuits, all your relationships, and all your thoughts until everything in your life is small and meaningless.
2. Refuse to let anyone hijack your emotions.
If you’re different, others will notice.
They’ll notice that you’re not afraid to stand apart from them.
As a result, they’ll start to fight you.
They’ll find subtle ways to distract you and bring you down.
They’ll play the victim.
They’ll engage in psychological warfare.
They’ll work relentlessly to convince you that your uniqueness is actually a weakness.
It will be like you’re back in high school, where anything that falls outside of the norm is weird, unfamiliar and needs to get insulted and picked on.
Don’t accept this.
These people are toxic and not worth your time.
Stand firm and defend who you are and what you stand for.
You’re not arrogant—you’re better.
Who cares if some adult toddlers stomp their feet and demand that you stay the same?
Let them stomp.
Let them cry their eyes out.
They’re all heading down the same path.
A path to nowhere.
Don’t let them drag you with them and don’t let them hijack your emotions either.
While small-minded people will insult and ostracize you, others will look up to you.
They will admire your courage and your charisma.
They will celebrate you for standing out.
3. Quit trying to save mediocre people.
Most people are comfortable with routine.
They never find the courage to change anything.
They’re too afraid that having dinner an hour later or getting up earlier to work on a personal project will make their lives spin out of control.
These people fear the slightest change or challenge.
Let them live their mediocre lives.
It’s not your job to save them.
Besides, actions speak louder than words.
Flip your life upside-down and start making bold moves first.
It’s easy in life to feel like it’s your job to fix everyone else.
It’s easy to feel significant by telling other people they’re insignificant.
Look—some people actually want to be insignificant.
They don’t want to matter.
They just want to whine about their problems and play it safe.
Stay focused on your mission.
You’ll inspire more people by running your own race than you will by screaming at everyone else for not running.
Stop getting distracted by the naysayers and the average people around you.
Stop trying to fix others.
Name what you’re afraid of so you can put it behind you.
Admit that you want to leave your mark on this world and then take action to do so.
By choosing to stand out, you’ll make a name for yourself.
Slowly but surely, your actions will speak for themselves and your reputation will grow.
You’ll be known as one of the few doers in life rather than just another talker.
You’ll leave a legacy as someone who chose to be larger than life, not just another invisible bystander.
Quit trying to fit in. Quit pretending to be like everyone else. Instead, start standing out. People will fight you every step of the way, but it will be worth it. In the end, you’ll get the respect you deserve for having the courage to be yourself. By choosing to matter in life, you will matter and you will be remembered for it.
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