While I was in college, one of my friends conducted an experiment in class. It was a simple experiment, where he was observing the reactions he got by breaking a social norm. In order to do this, he had to deliberately do something out of the ordinary. He decided to place himself in front of every classroom he was in that day and remain standing the entire class. While everyone else was seated around him, he just stood, innocently and unashamedly. You should have seen how people responded, it was great. The pointing, giggling, and confused looks were priceless. One girl sitting next to me whispered to her friend, “Maybe he broke his tailbone.” I, knowing what he was doing, enjoyed the whole act. At one point, he started talking on his cell phone, right there in front of the class, while the teacher was lecturing. He paced back and forth, mumbling to whoever was on the other end (if anyone), then nonchalantly hung up and went back to his spot to continue standing.

While observing his experiment, I realized something: in my class, he was the center of attention. People were watching him and talking about him. He got people to think. He was noticed. He had an effect on those around him.

There are many of us who want to be noticed. We want to have an effect on those around us. We feel like we have something important to say and we want to be heard. We want our music to inspire people. We want our artwork to amaze people. We want our message to change people. So, how do you get the attention you need to do this? How do you get noticed? It’s simple: be different, original, and even weird. Do something that no one else is doing. People are known and remembered, not because they were like everyone else, but because they did something worth remembering. They did something new, unique, and abnormal. Nobody will notice you if you’re doing the exact same thing as everyone around you, you’ll just be another person in the crowd.

Pablo Picasso isn’t remembered because he painted, he’s remembered because his paintings were different from everyone else’s. Mozart didn’t get attention just because he was a composer, he received attention because his compositions were unlike anything anyone had ever heard. Michael Jordan isn’t remembered because he played basketball, he’s remembered because he did things no one else did on the court. There are thousands of composers, artists, and athletes you’ve never heard of but the ones you do remember all had one thing in common: they were different from their peers. They were unusual and exceptional.

You have the ability to do something no one else could ever do, because no one else is you. No one ever has been. No one ever will be. You’re only given one chance, only one life, so do something with it. Don’t be afraid of failure, just be you. Many times when your being yourself, people appreciate it and they like what your doing–even if it stinks by normal standards. If you don’t believe me, check out a painting by Jackson Pollock and keep in mind he’s considered to be an influential American painter and a major figure in an artistic movement. (As a side note, I love Pollock’s work.)

When I look back through history and think about people who stand out, no one stands out more than Jesus. He was the first of his kind. No one had ever said the things He said. No one ever did the things He did. No one ever acted, loved, or lived the way He did. Everything about Him was so unexpected, so backwards. You can’t name anyone that has left a more lasting, profound impression on humanity.

Stop being so shy and worrying what people think about you. Don’t let something so small, keep you from something so big. Don’t spend your time trying to be someone else and trying to make other people happy. Don’t spend your whole life being something other than you.

Exist.

You know someone is being themselves when you can look at something they did or said, and know immediately that it was them without any doubt. Its like picking up a Dr. Seuss book. You can pick up a book you’ve never heard of, read one line or see one picture and know that its Dr. Seuss. His books are among the weirdest. The green eggs, the Whos, the Diffendoofers, the floob-boober-bab-boober-bubs; what in the world was this guy smoking? Whatever it was, the Seuss obviously got the good stuff. And what about this whole “Dr.” thing. If I need surgery, there’s no way I’m going to get it from this Seuss dude. He’ll probably be using wumbus and wockets, instead of scalpels and forceps. By the end of the surgery you’ll be looking like Cindy Lou Who’s cousin. Truthfully, I doubt that he’s an actual licensed medical practitioner.

But when it comes to him being an author, there’s no denying that he is famous because of his unique imagination. There’s no doubt that his books became popular because they are so unique. If he wrote children’s books like everyone else, I wouldn’t be writing about him right now.

If you feel like you’re not accomplishing anything, if you feel like you’re going unnoticed, if you feel like you‘re not making a difference, you don’t need Dr. Seuss to give a diagnosis. The cure is simple: be different, be original, and be weird. Be yourself. You’ll find that it’s a great feeling.

Dr. Seuss rhymed a bit of wisdom for us when he said, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” Don’t disregard those words just because he might have been strung out on hallucinogens when he wrote them.He’s telling us to be ourselves, and we can trust him–he’s a doctor…

Or is he…?

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