Well, if I get to pass anything on to the world it would definitely be my belief in individuality.
You see, when I was a really little kid I was pretty wild and crazy, climbing walls and running around. I’d tear off my socks and disappear. One day my poor mom, who was tired of buying me new socks all the time, took me to the store and asked me to pick a color. Without hesitation I picked my favorite color, orange.
When we got home we dyed every single sock I had orange and suddenly people started returning my socks when I tore them off. My mom was happy and I’ve worn orange socks ever since. My parents and friends loved it because when I was in a big group of kids they could always scan the feet and find me.
In kindergarten I had to bring 100 of something for a project. I decided to bring in orange socks so we stapled 50 pairs of bright orange socks on a board. Some kids thought it was cool and others thought it was stupid and, by association, I was stupid.
What I learned was that if people didn’t like my orange socks, then they really didn’t need to be my friends. My orange socks became my symbol or trademark, so much a part of my identity that when I started my company, I named it Orange Socks Unlimited to remind myself there are no limits to how far I can go.
In a strange way I believe my orange socks have kept me from doing drugs and being a delinquent like a lot of high school kids. My socks helped me realize I don’t need to follow the crowd and smoke or steal to prove how cool I am. All I need to do is tell them that’s just not how I roll. And, believe it or not, when you stand up for yourself that earns a lot of respect from people.
I just love that feeling I get when I doubt myself and my friends remind me that I am Henry Miller, a strong powerful person and that I shouldn’t let anything get in my way. And there will always be some kids or people down the line who will not understand you or your way of thinking.
Don’t let them make you feel inferior. Tell them you don’t care what they think. They’re not worth your time. Instead, surround yourself with positive people who make you feel good about yourself and encourage you to do your best.
In short, you SHOULD do what you love even if it is unpopular with the “cool kids”. And you SHOULDN’T be what others always want you to be. Stay true to yourself. I feel like if you live by this you can rise and shine as your own personal masterpiece and not just a be piece of clay molded by others’ expectations.
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