How many of us consider ourselves to be different? Refusing to be straitjacketed and showing the courage to break the shackles of a mundane plebeian life style? I presume majority of us would answer the above question in the negative. It is a tough ask to be different when you find the rest of the world traversing in the opposite direction. It requires lot of courage and self-belief to swim against the tide and do what you are passionate about. Most likely you will be branded as insane, capricious and preposterous. Well, history has proven it! Einstein, Copernicus, Leonardo Da Vinci - to name a few of the greatest thinkers of the world, were once shunned and ostracized for their obfuscated and complex doctrines and philosophies. Anything which slightly deviated from the "natural" was brandished as a mistake. But, time is a great leveler. These unique souls are now worshipped and adored world over. It takes time for us to accept any change. We are so comfortable with our own nonchalant life that any deviation will be construed as unharmonious. But we need to break free from the shell that we have cocooned ourselves in. Sometimes good things fall apart so that better things can fit in. We need to let go the things that we cling on to gain even better things. Being different is all about not hesitating to try out new things in life. Walt Disney has rightly said "All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them"

Why is it so difficult to be different? Because, we have been sculpted ever since our birth to lead normal lives and fit in to this world. The society we live in, our educational system, our values, culture and tradition has definitely contributed in making us better human beings....but at the cost of living a life with lot of inhibitions. I have a vague memory of what I studied in my school days, but I still remember the "DOs" and the "DONT's" taught by my bespectacled class teacher. Our vivid imagination was already infringed upon by these rights and wrongs. With our thought process maligned, we never had the courage to break free from the four walls of constrained thinking. I remember we once had a painting competition in school. All of us were supposed to draw a growling tiger. We all did, but the girl sitting next to me just drew a big solid rock. When the fuming teacher enquired about this "gross anomaly", the girl very innocently told him that her tiger is very shy and that is why it is hiding behind the rock. The already irate teacher then chastised and ridiculed her and tore off her "atrocious" (if I may use the same word that he used) drawing. As he walked away, I could sense the pain in her eyes. And I knew for certain that she will never ever have the urge to draw again. Her creativity was snubbed right before my eyes.

We find many such people (like the teacher) who systematically kill our dreams and force us to lead dispassionate lives. So next time when someone calls you unrealistic be bold enough to shoo them away to oblivion. Be different and not diffident.

Steve Jobs is still considered to be one of the greatest minds of the modern era. He has changed our lives in ways we can only dream of. His commencement address at Stanford University on 12th June, 2005 is considered to be one of the most powerful and inspirational speeches of all times. Here is a brief excerpt from the same ......

"When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like this ..... If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right. It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something."

It takes a lot to be different, but when we do we can really make a difference.

I once attended a creative writer's workshop when I was in college. In that the instructor gave us a list of 10 rules which needs to be followed to become a good writer. The 10th rule was to break all the above rules. Sometimes we need to break the rules what we have set for ourselves to let our creative musings flow. But even more important is the belief that we really can make a difference in this world. The sooner we realize it the better.

In the year 1969 Hunter "Patch" Adams revolutionized healthcare delivery by replacing greed and competition with generosity, compassion and interdependence. He was an unconventional physician who healed patients with equal doses of scatological humor and pathos. He strongly stood against the cold clinical professionalism that alienates patients from their care givers and ushered in emotional and spiritual relief through laughter and empathy. Though the whole medical fraternity booed and detested him, Patch Adams could bring smiles and relief to 1000s of chronically ill patients who have been till then clawing at the doors of misery. Thanks to him now we have an entire entourage of doctors who have resorted to the "patch" model of treatment. How a nondescript man went on to change the entire approach to medical care!! It shows that what we often construe as extraneous may turn out to be something big. So let us never curtail our imagination. Let it fly through the prism of our mind. Let us always give wings to our dreams.

Every day we have an opportunity to change ourselves, overcome our inhibitions and do something which we always wanted to do in life. Let it be anything as trivial as getting a new hair style or something which you pushed back into the deepest recess of the mind, fearing the onslaught of the society. Well, it is now time to let it out.

So next time when you catch your own reflection in the mirror, give it a smile because it is a fact that there is no one like you in this whole world. Believe in the mantra that "I am unique ...I am different" and go chase your dreams.

About Author / Additional Info: