How To Be Different When Everyone Wants To Fit In

It’s hard to be different in a society that shuns those who don’t fit in. I mean, let’s be real here. Unless you’re David Bowie or Marilyn Manson, you might be met with less of a success mindset for being different. No one wants to be a poser, but it’s easy and surprisingly common for people to alter their personalities to get that dream job, romantic partner, or group of friends.

The truth is, we all have a deep desire to fit in. There’s even measurable data backing this need to belong ((ScienceDirect: The need to belong and its association with fully satisfying relationships: A tale of two measures)). Kind of tough to beat science, huh?

What if there was a better way to both be different and be successful? Turns out, there is! Ditch the poser identity and embrace a successful mindset.

1. Why Accepting Yourself Is So Tough

As it turns out, it’s exceptionally hard to be different when you don’t accept your differences. Who would’ve thought? That’s why the first thing you’ll need to do to be different is to accept yourself. You might have to play therapist for this one and ask yourself why you’re trying to fit in.

What has led you to the suppression of your inner uniqueness? Once you know the answer to this, you can accept the wonderful quirks within you that are just waiting to be shared with the world.

2. Stop Trying to Be Different

Here’s the thing: if you try to be different, you’re no better than that poser who was trying to fit in with the popular crowd.

What happens when you try to be different is that you work to fit into what you think is different without actually sticking to your personal interests. And, if it didn’t work in the cool kid’s club, what makes you think it’ll work for the hipster rebels or other, more unique groups?

If you want to actually be different, you’ll need to focus on your quirks. From an early age, we’re conditioned to dress, talk, and think in certain ways (thanks, education system!) To break that brainwashing and unleash the unique persona within, you’ll need to look within yourself—rather than at unconventional trends—to find your inspiration.

By now, you might be wondering what we mean by looking within. No, this isn’t some new age meditation tutorial, but if you’re into that, consider it your niche! What we mean is you need to experiment with your quirks by honestly challenging the status quo.

Don’t copy less popular trends, and don’t try to convince yourself of certain interests to stand out as doing so will just attract the wrong kind of attention. When you naturally focus on your uniqueness, you will feel more like yourself and therefore develop a success mindset that exudes confidence. Sounds good, right?

3. Why You Need to Embrace Your Hobbies

Now for the fun part—hobbies! Hobbies do wonders for one’s identity. They can help you further tap into your inner differences, making them extremely great for having good mental health and a successful mindset.

Here are some ways hobbies can benefit you:

You Gain Identity

It can be easy to lose oneself in the need to fit in, and some people even go so far as to take on different identities and interests just to feel like they belong. When you deny yourself of hobbies for the sake of fitting in, however, you also rob yourself of the opportunity for true self-expression. Taking on your true passions is far more rewarding in the long run.

You Can Find Like-Minded Peers

Hobbies are your opportunity to embrace what makes you different in a way that can actually help you find friends who happen to have the same interests as you.((Kettering Global: Why Hobbies Are Important)) Not only is it okay to be different, but there’s also a community of like-minded individuals somewhere out there just waiting to include you in common hobbies. Once you’ve found the group that is just as passionate about your hobbies as you are, you’ll find it’s invigorating to be different!

You Feel Success

There’s nothing like feeling like you’ve mastered a new skill in your hobby. Whether you’re learning how to play Dungeons and Dragons (no judging here!) or you’ve finally learned how to yodel, mastering an element of your hobby puts you in a success mindset that can lead to elevated moods and more confidence.

In a study on how activities can affect mood, researchers found that “participants who reported a higher number of Mastery activities for the week had higher mood ratings.”((Hindawi: Effect of Three Types of Activities on Improving Mood and Enjoyment in a Brief Online Depression Study)) That’s right: mastery of your hobbies can actually make you feel better!

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Stand Out

Simply put, it’s hard to suddenly receive attention if you’re used to fitting in. For better or for worse, when you choose to be different, you will draw attention to yourself. Don’t psych yourself out just yet, though. This can actually work in your favor, especially when it comes to a career success mindset!

Yes, you read that right. Standing out from prospective job hunters or even your peers at your current job might make all the difference between you keeping that boring, low-paying position versus rising to the top as a successful, “out there” kind of person.

5. Avoid Psychological Games

It’s no surprise that getting caught up in games is easy to do. From power plays in the workforce to gossiping in a social group, people have learned some pretty clever tricks on slyly fitting in and manipulating situations for their benefit. Look at what happened in ‘Mean Girls’ with Lindsay Lohan’s character, for example.

Though it might seem like a strategy that will bring a successful mindset to fruition, you sacrifice your identity just to fit in when you get caught up in psychological games.((Brightside: 10 Curious Psychological Games Our Mind Likes to Play With Us)) Not to mention, playing games can backfire over time as people start to catch onto what you’re doing. Doesn’t seem so successful after all, does it?

It’s best to be different by not participating in gossip, cheating, and fake behaviors if you want to rise to the top and preserve your self-respect and identity.

6. Dress Up (or Down)

Once you begin to verge away from the crowd, you’ll start to view yourself in an entirely new light, and that’s perfectly okay! So, why not change your style to better suit your personality?

We’re not saying to wear a giant hat that’s shaped like Texas—unless that’s your thing—but this is your chance to change up some of the accessories you’ve been wearing on a day-to-day basis that have contributed to you fitting in.

Consider wearing a watch, belt, shoes, hat, or an edgy piece of jewelry. Paint your nails, dye your hair that color you’ve always dreamt of, and toss out that standard business attire for something quirky and unique. You’re likely to feel more empowered when your outer appearance matches your inner personality.

7. Don’t Be a People-Pleaser

You’ve finally taken the plunge into the depths of your unique personality. We’re not through quite yet, though!

Just because you’ve embraced your inner differences and made the changes doesn’t mean you’re immune to the influences that got you to suppress yourself in the first place. Other people will talk about you and label you as different. You might even feel like an outcast in certain situations.

Don’t let what others think of you discourage your need to be different, however. Continue to embrace the qualities of yourself that set you apart to prevent yourself from going back to the need to fit in and please those around you.

Let Your Uniqueness Shine Through

Remember, you and your identity are important. In a perfect society, everyone fits into their own place in the social world based on the unique characteristics that define them.

When you allow yourself to be different, you set yourself up to find the right crowd for your personality, develop a successful growth mindset, and be appreciated for who you are. And who knows? You might even influence and encourage others to walk to the beat of their own drums while you’re at it!

More Tips on How to Be Different

  • Avoiding Mediocrity: Do You Dare to Be Different?
  • Every Great Legacy Begins With the Willingness to Be Different
  • Banking on Your Being Different: 7 Tips to Stay Away from Isolation
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