Why different is cool

If you have an ambition for greatness, you may focus intensely on how to differentiate yourself from your peers or your competition. It is mathematically sound to believe the more narrow your focus, the increased chance of differentiation prosperity. Waiting for adulthood to recognize the significance here is dangerous. The ice is thinner and the clock is ticking. As we unfortunately learn, customizable time becomes more limited with age.

That’s why we should kickstart this train of thought much earlier in mental development. School administrators and teachers alike have a responsibility to engineer an educational culture that fosters differentiation. Because youth nature places conformist cool at the summit of social hierarchy and different at the base, the maniacal pianist who spends all of her time alone in practice rooms, or the football jock with a secret affinity for linguistics, likely believes their respective obsession is socially unacceptable.

They may ultimately choose not to pursue it long term out of fear.

Imagine trajectory outcomes if all students internalize different as cool. They’d become focused and informed adults at the least, and this system would likely produce more Elon Musks, more Charlie Parkers, more game changers.

If we better emphasize fostering this kind of environment early on, the mentality it creates may run on auto-pilot when it counts.