Updated: May 12
People who really make change happen – who shake things up, who redefine what is possible and expected, who touch lives and leave a mark – often have a difficult time fitting in, and more often than not, they leave to start something on their own.
This is what outliers do. They do their own thing, their own way.
Whatever everyone else does or is doing doesn’t work for outliers, and because of this, they stand out for all the wrong reasons, specifically for not fitting in.
I’m an Outlier. I always have been. ‘Unconventional’ is the word one might use if they were trying to describe me and wanted to be kind.
Even now, I still don’t fit into my professional world very well. I’m forever an outlier. If you were to ask my wife what kind of employee I would be, she would laugh in your face.
Well guess what? Not fitting in is almost a requirement for doing something great. Because if you fit in, it means you like everything the way it is, or worse, you don’t but you are keeping quiet about it. Or even worse, you don’t like it but you’re willing to get paid for it anyway. You are participating in a system that you dislike, and you are faking your acceptance of it for everyone else.
Outliers don’t do that. We are compelled to say something or do something.
The difference between the complainers who only say something and the doers that start something is that doers are resilient, and doers are comfortable being wrong.
Complainers never get off the sofa or the soapbox. They have all kinds of comments and opinions but absolutely zero execution.
Being an Outlier isn’t enough.
You also have to be comfortable being wrong and being willing to defend and stand by your idea. Everyone will tell you that your idea makes no sense. They will doubt you, they will think you are wrong.
The temptation to quit will be great. What if they fight you on it? What if they fight you every step of the way? What if you have to think about it or prove it or find some answers you don’t have?
When all of that happens (and it will happen), you can dismiss the whole idea with a thought – forget it, it’s not a good idea. Or forget it, it’s too hard.
Successful entrepreneurs and creators don’t do that. They don’t say forget it.
If they are really committed, then they are used to being unpopular and wrong. They are comfortable with it.
They will stick to it, find the answers and win everyone over.