Throughout our lives there are defining moments that occur. Dependent upon the decisions we make at that point of time, our future path will be defined.
Every one of us is handed – on a daily basis – choices. We can choose to follow the crowd or we can choose to listen to our own inner voice.
When asked about the added benefits of living to be 100 years old, one centenarian smiled and said, ‘There’s very little peer pressure once you reach my age.’
But until we reach that point we will have to constantly guard ourselves, or at least shield ourselves, from the surrounding influence of peers and the ever increasing array of multiple forms of media that bombard our space, if we’re to discover our personal uniqueness.
So allow me to share three defining points in my own life that positioned me to not only be unique, but to be forever unique.
Steal The Lollies
Across the road from our primary school were a collection of shops. One in particular was a favourite for both my friends and I. It had lollies, and lots of them.
Now the lollies were clearly visible and accessible in open glass jars towards the front of the counter. And that’s what many of my friends did – access without paying.
The day came when I was dared a dare. I was dared by my peers to go across to the shop at lunchtime and steal a handful of lollies. On returning with the spoils I was to then share them with my friends.
So with great fear and trepidation I wandered across to the shop, and as I lingered in the shop it seemed like hours passed. I considered the possibility of grabbing and running.
For in the back of my mind there was a constant niggling of, ‘What will your friends think of you if you don’t do what they have done? They’ll call you a gutless wonder if you don’t do what they want.’
Simultaneously, my conscience continued to wage war with my heart and mind until I finally decided, ‘So be it. I don’t care what my friends say. Stealing is wrong, and I’m not going to do it.’
So away I walked empty handed and straight into the ridicule of my ‘so-called friends’, but the pain of that decision was short-lived, and nothing was ever said again about the day I decided to be unique amongst my peers.
Smoke The Cigarette
Once I arrived at secondary school I was surrounded by peers who took up the habit of smoking cigarettes.
The pressure was applied for me to conform.
But I had grown up watching many of my relatives indulge in the habit, and it disgusted me. In fact, as a teenager, I thought that you’d have to be a complete and utter idiot to smoke like they did. Strong words for a teenager. But that’s exactly how I felt.
Along the way I also witnessed first hand one of my relatives die a slow and agonizing death from emphysema.
So for me, this was an easy choice to once again stand against the crowd, to hold firm to my personal beliefs and to once again further define my uniqueness.
Get The Job
It was expected. All my friends did it. My parents did it. My grandparents did it. But coming into the company of an entrepreneur, when I was only 18 years of age, ruined me for a job – forever.
But as I watched on to see my peers get promotions in their jobs, wage rises, house mortgages and everything that screamed out ‘security’ – there I was – the battling entrepreneur – simply trying to survive, endeavoring to discover what I would do when I finally grew up, crashing and banging through a range of entrepreneurial disasters, living on the edge, putting my family at risk ( in the eyes of others) and yet being ever true to myself and to my personal pursuit of being unique, and not only that, of being forever unique.
I wanted to not only impact this generation, but through my creations – whether musical, spoken or written – I wanted to impact generations to come.
I wasn’t born to just get a job. I was born for a time such as this – born for significance, born to motivate, inspire and equip others to become all that they had been created to become.
And how was I to do this?
By discovering and unveiling my own uniqueness. To be unique – forever unique.