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One of the paradoxes of life is that being "normal" or 
"reasonable" often means settling for ordinary results, 
while success requires that we be different and sometimes, 

uncomfortable. By definition, high achievers are not 
"average" people!

All of us have been pressured to conform at one time or 
another. We've been told to "sit still" in school, to "stop 
interrupting" or "not make a scene." We've been criticized 
for dressing, speaking, acting or being "different." The 
not-so-subtle pressures to accept conventional norms are 
powerful. "To get along, you have to go along."

Well. Madame Currie, Florence Nightingale, Helen Keller, 
Amelia Earhart, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Oprah Winfrey are not 
admired because they were "average" people! Thomas 
Jefferson, Thomas Edison, Charles Lindbergh, Franklin 
Roosevelt and Bill Gates were not "conventional" people. 
Abraham Lincoln is widely regarded as the greatest American 
president, yet the thing he was most known for among his 
friends was his obnoxious refusal to quit running for 
office, even after he lost thirty-two elections! That is 
definitely NOT normal!

One of the things that has made America great is their love of 
individuality. Americans have always had a healthy respect for their 
"mad inventors." The Wright brothers thought they could fly! 
Henry Ford thought he could put a car in every garage. Ben 
Franklin flew a kite in a thunderstorm (didn't his mother 
tell him to come in out of the rain?). Mary Kay thought she 
could make a living selling make-up, while Mrs. Field tried 
to support her family selling cookies! That's just crazy!

Now, we need to tell the truth here. A lot of crazy ideas 
really are. . .crazy. We've all had brilliant ideas in the 
middle of the night, only to find in the clear light of day 
they weren't worth pursuing. I've made many fortunes while 
taking my shower, only to find them going down the drain 
when I tried to tell my partners about them. Just because an 
idea is weird doesn't mean it's wonderful.

But many great ideas (and the fortunes) have been lost 
because the genius who thought it up was shy. Or lacked 
courage. Or was intimidated by someone's comment that, "You 
can't do that!" 

All great ideas are crazy before they become brilliant. 
Alexander Bell thought he could talk over copper wires, and 
even worse, Marconi thought he could send messages through 
thin air! When David Sarnoff wanted to launch the first 
radio network (now NBC), one investor ridiculed him by 
asking, "Who would pay to send a message to no one in 
particular?" Jules Verne thought people might one day travel 
under the ocean or, even more ridiculous, fly in outer 
space. How crazy was that!?

If you can read this, you are a genius. You have thousands 
of wonderful, creative, brilliant ideas--most of which 
you've never pursued. And that's a shame.

Success is not achieved by being "ordinary." Rather, success 
is the predictable result of following your own path and 
trusting your own instincts, whether or not your neighbors 

One of my heroes, Henry Thoreau, recommended "march to beat 
of your own drummer." 

Franklin Roosevelt was in a wheelchair, and who ever heard 
of a cripple running for President? Barbra Streisand wasn't 
"pretty enough" to be a star, and Elvis was so provocative 
he was banned in communities across the country. Bill Gates 
dropped out of Harvard to "write code." Steve Jobs was not 
an easy guy to be around. And who would have thought a bi-
racial kid from Indonesia could become President?

To achieve your unique version of success, follow your 
heart. Yes, you'll want to learn from others. Yes, you'll 
want to obey the law and applicable regulations, but aside 
from those things, you become great by being exactly and 
uniquely yourself. 

This is a call for more eccentrics, more individuals, more 
creative, unrepentant adventurers. Go where your heart and 
your instincts lead you. Instead of following the "normal" 
highway, blaze a new path and leave a trail for others to 
Written By Walcott Braide

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