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DateLine Sunday, 23 March 2008

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Dare to be different

Most of us like to follow the crowd. What happens when we do so is that we become part of the crowd and nobody will take any notice of us. If you want to follow the crowd, you decide to remain an ordinary person. If you wish to be someone special, extraordinary. Keep away from the crowd.

It is easy to follow the crowd because you do not need any intelligence to do so. You can see large crowds thronging to see their favourite politician actor or someone who has promised to liberate them from their real or imaginary suppression. Ambitious people do not follow the crowd because they are not easily satisfied with minor gains. If you are one of those people who want to get the maximum happiness in life, you have to think of new ways to climb the ladder of success.

In my student days, some of my colleagues actively worked for a certain political party with the sole aim of getting jobs. After pasting posters and collecting money in tills some of them managed to get minor positions in State departments and corporations. But those who did not follow the crowd completed their studies successfully and became prominent professionals in different fields of activities.

Those who follow the crowd believe in fate and astrology. They very often consult soothsayers and palmists in order to know what is in store for them. When such a person gets a menial job, he thinks that is his fate. Even if you try to tell them that they can come up in life, they get angry. On the other hand, these people never place a premium on education. For them, education is a problem; living is a problem and poverty is a problem. They never think that there is a way out of these pressing problems.

If you want to succeed in life, you have to be different from others. However, just thinking of doing something different will not take you anywhere. You have to start working for your goal today itself.

If you see a successful lawyer arguing a case, you will be tempted to become an Attorney-at-Law. However, you must satisfy yourself whether you have the aptitude to be a lawyer. Otherwise, you might have to give up your law studies halfway through.

Therefore, whenever you are attracted to a particular profession, you must assess your strengths and weaknesses. For instance, if you are a poor communicator or an extremely shy person, you are not fit to be a lawyer. Even if you become a lawyer by dint of hard work, you will be a briefless barrister.

No matter in what direction you are going, you have to be different from others. If you simply do what others are doing, without giving much thought to your ambition in life, you are bound to fail in your endeavours.

History tells us that all great men had been different from ordinary people. Prince Siddhartha gave up all his royal comforts and became the Buddha. J. Krishnamurti refused to be called a saviour of mankind and opted to be a free thinker. If they too had followed the crowd, humanity would have lost two of the greatest philosophers and teachers.

In order to be different from others, you must have loads of courage. Most young people fear that if they try to be different, others will laugh at them. These are baseless fears. When you try to do something different, some people will laugh at you. It is something to be expected.

Ordinary people laughed at Marconi, Edison and Ford when they enriched the world with their inventions. But they were least bothered about criticism and jeering. The world would have been poorer without their contributions.

Even as an actor you can be different from others. For example, Charlie Chaplin set a standard in the silent film era and nobody could beat him in his style of acting. Even after his death, many other actors tried to imitate him without success.Charles Dickens of "Great Expectations" fame veered away from writing unrealistic romances and wrote completely different novels.

For instance, "David copperfield" (1849) reflects a semi-autobiographical account of Dicken's rise from obscurity to fame. Unknown to many, he also had a passion for acting. Dicken's imaginary characters have become our personal friends. His world was always full of hope for the future.

Today we read Dickens with absorbing interest because he did not follow the crowd. Although we want to be different, we may have to have to facing problems that prevent us from doing so.

Take for instance, an ordinary clerk in a government department. Even if he wants to resign his job and do something different, his parents or wife and children will object to his decision.

They will remind him of his pension rights and status as a government servant. If he listens to their advice, he will remain a clerk for the rest of his adult life. If he has character, he will follow his chosen path and become a useful citizen. Being different does not mean that you should antagonise your parents, partners and friends. There is a way of doing things differently. If you do it in a steadfast manner, no amount of criticism will be able to stop you from going ahead with your plans.

There are thousands of people who are willing to do different things in diverse fields. However, they are afraid of doing so. They fear that they will become targets of criticism and discrimination. However, if your detractors come to know that you are a fearless person, they will keep away from your path.

When you succeed in life, it is quite natural for some people to turn against you. All successful people have had enemies. Only those who fail in life do not have enemies. Only those who fail in life do not have enemies.

Fear of doing something different is the main problem faced by young people. Psychologists say that this kind of fear is something which your psychic censors wish for you. For instance, if you are afraid of losing your friends, pension rights or social status, this means that your psychic censor wishes to lose them. It does this because it is that part of you which feels that you need to punish yourself. In other words, the psychic censor is the punitive, repressive agent of the mind.

Another problem in the path of personal progress is that we have been conditioned in our childhood that we cannot do certain things in life. For example, a child who aspires to become a doctor might be discouraged by his parents saying that he is not cut out to be a healer. Thus, such conditioning occurs in a person's childhood.

Those who believe in luck also fail to succeed in life. They must realise that we live in a world governed by natural laws. Compliance with them produces the happy results called "good luck". Violations of the same laws produces unhappy results called "bad luck".

Psychologists refer to one of these natural laws as the law of suggestion. If you strongly believe that you can achieve a certain target, your belief will lead you to do the kind of things that brings happiness and success. People very often forget these laws either through ignorance or negligence.

Finally, you have to stop groping for success and happiness in life. Those who want to be different from others always reach out for better things in life. They refuse to follow the crowd or go through life blind-folded. Every human being has an amazing power that can be harnessed to produce better results.

Make use of the vast storehouse of wisdom lying within you. Draw inspiration from the life stories of great men and women who lived in this world. Be ready to begin your journey along a new path traversed by a few or none at all.

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