It’s safe to say that I did not always choose to go along with the popular opinion growing up, and I still don’t now. I speak from experience when I say that becoming unpopular can be the best choice you ever make. This article is meant to be about you, and how making the unpopular decision can lead to your greatest fulfillment in life. In order to land this point, please allow me to set the context and speak briefly about myself.
I want you to place yourself in my shoes as I tell this story. Picture yourself going through the adversity if you can. Chances are, you may have already experienced something similar in your own life. This is truly how becoming unpopular can be the best choice you ever make.
Growing Up Bullied
Growing up, I had faced many fights with other kids on the school ground and had to deal with bullying on a regular basis. You may not think that was the case but, that makes a good point. You never know what someone has been through in their own life and why they are the way they are. I remember the fights in the parking lots, getting knocked off of my bike into bushes on the way home from school and even the verbal abuse and rumors other people thought were fun to spread around the schools.
I wanted nothing more to fit in with the “popular crowd” but, I didn’t realize at the time my heart and purpose was not the same as theirs. I didn’t know at the time that “purpose” was even a thing to consider in life but, it makes a lot more sense now. Learning about differences and how you handle adversity is an important lesson growing up as a child. I plan to make it a point to explain this to my own children as they mature.
How To Start Adulting
As adults, some people never truly grow up and get out of the “high school phase”. When you work your professional career or job, you may quickly realize there a few ways to get ahead. You can choose promotion or you can “join in with the crowd”. Cliques are just as relevant in adult life as they were in early childhood and high school years. The problem is most people don’t acknowledge this or the impact it can have on your life over time.
I chose a career in firefighting because deep down I wanted to support people. It was also the closest thing I could choose next to being a super hero and fulfilling the deep male ego that life experience lead me to believe at the time. The men and women who serve are amazing individuals and put their lives on the line day in and day out. It is a team effort and all work together to make sure that task at hand is accomplished.
Unfortunately, cliques and bullying still exist even in a team environment. Although my personal experience with this has shifted, I still acknowledge that it exists even on a professional level. Many times it can be disregarded as “ball busting” but, it still leaves a mark on some people.
Make Your Own Decisions
Experience has shown me that I tend to align myself with the unpopular vote sometimes and arguably even some unpopular people. It’s not that these people are bad people or unethical. To put it simply, some are considered to be nerds, socially awkward or maybe they’re just shy. In my opinion some are socially awkward and shy but, they have a heart and a desire to be their best and get better.
I can’t help but pour my heart out to these types people because I know what it feels like to be unaccepted at times in my own life. If you want to be better, you will need the support of others and someone to look up to. You don’t need to be thrown to the side because you didn’t fit in right away.
To be very clear, I’m not questioning the integrity of any professional workforce or the quality of their work. Most professionals are purposeful and work hard in all aspects of their respective field. However, some of the individual personalities and “cliques” that form outside of work on a personal level can be somewhat rude and undesirable. This happens in any profession and on any level of the work force or leadership. In my own opinion it’s a sign of immaturity that some may not be aware. I can admit I have fallen into the category myself. That is how I know it exists and why I personally choose to be different and strive to create a solution.
Developing Leadership Qualities
Experience has shown me that a good leader can set his or her personal beliefs aside and focus on the integrity of the person and the quality of their work. Depending on who you talk to about this, opinions will most definitely vary. The point is, you should be looking at your heart, your intentions as a person and what your ultimate goal or outcome is? Sometimes becoming unpopular can be the best choice you ever make because it sets you apart from the crowd and on a path to greatness rather than mediocrity.
It’s easy to join in with the popular vote to “feel” accepted but, ask yourself, “Does it really feel good and is it what your heart truly desires?” If the answer is no, it’s time to not “fit in”. You don’t have to make any obvious gestures or say anything that would put you in jeopardy, rather make the decision in your heart to choose what you know is right.
It’s ok to stick up for the unpopular co-worker, it’s ok to choose an ethical hobby and purse it with passion, it’s ok to say no to conformity and create your own circumstances if you don’t like your current circumstances. It’s not ok to kill your own consciousness and go against everything you believe and feel just for the sake of being popular and fitting in.
Step Into Your Power
In truth, when you let go of trying to please everyone else and live for the person that God created you to be, you will discover that is the most popular vote you could ever make for yourself, your family and any person you ever come into contact with because they are getting the “real you”. The real you is more potent, more powerful, more loving and more supportive than the “popular vote” could ever be! When you choose to follow your heart, it’s without question you are now living your true life the way it was intended to be. Blessings will follow you everywhere you go the rest of your life because you allowed a path for them to flow through.
You will still face adversity, criticism and endure some hardships in life. That is guaranteed indefinitely but, you will now have the tools at your disposal to overcome and support others who may not have the knowledge or power to do it alone. You are now truly the most “popular person”. You would have never known there was such a need for a strength and compassion like yours until you answered the call.
In closing, I encourage you to learn how becoming unpopular can be the best decision you ever make. It isn’t some loud and boastful announcement to the world, it’s a silent and inner knowing about the choices you make in your life. You lead through your actions, you speak your words more carefully and you avoid partnering with those who judge and tear people down. Instead you build people up and create a following of like-minded people who believe you have their best interests in mind.