Don’t Be Afraid to Stand Out

“Each of us has the power to stand out.” – Justin Ferguson

By: Justin Ferguson

At a point in time we stopped being individuals in favour of fitting in or maybe it has always been that way dating back to the first existence of humankind.  However, none of us are born that way, we did not wake up and say I want to be the same as everybody else, we morphed into that.  Through societal rearing we were conditioned to believe this.  We were conditioned to believe that we must fit in, that we cannot stand out.

Yes, it is easy to say that this just isn’t true, that constantly we are told to stand out, that of course we are each individuals, which at face value would be accurate.  However, for one to say this, is simply not good enough or perhaps it is but not for me.

People must be encouraged to not be afraid to stand out, to feel free to sit however they choose, to wear what they want, to look how they want, to be an individual!  It is not for each of us to decide, to judge a person on how they want to live, it is for us to only care about how we get along with that person.  It remains our choice on how we view somebody else, the same as it is their choice how they want to present themselves but what it is not, it is not our choice to judge them.  And, yes that could open a discussion on what is the definition of judgement but that is for a different post.

As children or in adulthood, people do things because they feel as though that is what others want, which they believe will lead to them being liked or promoted or whatever.  However, this completely robs the world of that individual’s input, it robs people of actually knowing the true you.  If we continue to shape people to fit in, we are robbing ourselves of possibly the next brilliant mind.  Yes, some overcome and rise above but should we not be encouraging everybody to think for themselves?

Society has a role to play, it needs to teach right and wrong and give people the tools they need to survive physically and mentally but it does not have the role of standing in judgement when an individual wants to express themselves in a non-crimonious way.

By encouraging people from an early age to believe it is ok to not be part of the popular group, to not care how others view them, to stand out, we will shape society to be more accepting and we will build better leaders, who advance our reality beyond what is known today.

All of that is not to say that there are not people who already stand out, leaders who stand out, that take risks, and accept the consequences, there certainly are but for everyone of those people, there are many who don’t overcome the pressure society puts on them to fit in.

If each of us encourages people to not live in fear of judgement, to not be afraid of standing out, our world will exist in aSmarterWay.  It is simple to achieve, all we have to change are our own perceptions and not care how others view things.  By being a leader, others will follow.

As Dr. Seuss said: “Why fit in, when you were born to stand out?”

Justin Ferguson is the Principal of Cosmos Strategies, the Founder of, an avid marathoner, a supporter of charities, including: Wake Up Narcolepsy and Sick Kids Hospital, and a believer that anything is possible.