Pretend you’re in high school. Or don’t, if it will traumatize you. But seriously, if you can, put yourself back there. Remember what that feels like? Yeah, so do I.
All right, so let’s say there’s a fashion statement burning wild through the school. I’m sure you can think of some doozies. All the cool kids are doing it, and because they’re cool, it somehow looks good on them. And they’re not the only ones. There’s a couple of other kids who are able to pull off the look, the statement, the trend. They make it work, maybe even better than the cool kids. They get compliments, attention. Status is upped.
You think, “Man, I better get some of that.”
So you spend your time, your money—hard-earned, either way—and go for it. Problem is, you can’t make it work. You try your hardest, but let’s face it, polka dots, pink hair, and ostrich feathers don’t look good on just anyone. And even though you know you’re fabulous in sparkles and sunshine, that’s not in fashion, and you think you’ll get laughed at—or worse, ignored—if you go that route. So you don’t. You parade around in the latest craze because everyone else is doing it, and it seems to be paying off for them, right?
Except, you still don’t get the compliments that you crave, and you’re not any more popular, and the guys don’t look at you like you’re hot (well, the ones who already like you do, but you’re not paying attention to them yet), and so you feel rather stupid, and a bit like a failure, and then you see pictures of yourself years later and you’re like, “What the hell was I thinking?”
Well, you were thinking that following everyone else would get you somewhere. You were probably also thinking that not standing out—not taking the risk of sparkles and sunshine—would make you more acceptable to the others. That they’d let you into the cool crowd.
But they don’t. And when, months later, sparkles and sunshine are suddenly in, you realize that if you had just been yourself, you’d already be ahead of the curve, and everyone would have been following you.
Or not. But at least you would be true to who you are, what you love, and what fits you best. You would be the leader of you. And in the long run, that’s a much more satisfying way to live. It’s also more lucrative. You know what you’re best at, and if it’s sparkles and sunshine, it won’t be long before everyone else recognizes that—and wants some of what you’ve got.
So sparkle! Don’t hide the light!
Or, as my dad likes to say, “It’s better to be the head of a chicken, than the tail of a horse.”