I ask you to indulge me for a second and read this story.
In 1990, a kid who all his life was labelled as “different,” got into Boston University by the skin of his teeth. He spent the first two years of his college career hanging on by a thread, on academic probation all four semesters. By the time he got into his Junior year, he’d discovered writing and journalism, and graduated with a somewhat-not-terrible 2.8 GPA.
He had a few professors tell him that being “different” wouldn’t be helpful to him as he entered “the real world,” but he never seemed to change. One professor actually shook his head at this kid at graduation, no doubt amazed that he’d been able to walk the stage and get a diploma.
That kid took his “different” outlook on life, and applied it the best ways he knew how. He quickly realized he wasn’t cut out for a “traditional” career, and got fired from his first few jobs for “not fitting in.” Throw in ADHD and the inability to know when to shut the hell up, and this kid was pretty much the poster child for the society of social misfits.
In late October of 1998, with nothing else to lose, he started out on his own, first with a PR firm, then after selling that, as a consultant. Eventually, he founded Help A Reporter Out, and the rest, as they say, is history.
At 4pm today, that “different” kid is again going to walk a stage at Boston University, this time to receive a “Distinguished Alumni” award from the same school where he struggled to not flunk out, 24 years ago.
So I say this to you: DIFFERENT IS GOOD. Being different gets you REMEMBERED, not simply recalled. Being different is the best wish I could have for you, for your children, and for your life. Being different will get you everything you could ever want. Maybe not right away, but in time, without question. And if you know someone who thinks a little different, doesn’t fit in the same circles as everyone else, or who, as my mom always said “walks to the beat of a different drummer”, and who might be struggling with it, take a second and tell them that they’re doing the right thing, and more importantly, tell them to embrace their different ways of being – Because it’s only when we’re different, and not like everyone else, that we can achieve the greatness locked away within all of us.
This is a pretty awesome day for me. 24 years ago, I can tell you with 100% certainty that I never, ever thought I’d be about to get any kind of award for being me. Quite the opposite, 24 years ago today, I had my doubts as to whether I’d even see 2014.
Embrace who you are. Love yourself, and never, ever let anyone tell you that you’re less than anyone else, simply because you might be different.
Thanks for listening, my friends.
Love, light, blue skies, and long surfs,
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