"To be yourself in a world, that night and day is trying to make you everybody but yourself, is to fight the hardest battle you'll ever fight and never stop fighting."
— ee cummings

One thing is certain. In the history of this planet there has never been or will there ever be anyone else like you or me. Consider that for a moment — absolutely nobody. Being ourselves is the chance for each of us to use our uniqueness in the service of the world. Oscar Wilde's quip '… be yourself, everybody else is already taken' reminds us how obvious this suggestion seems to be and yet we know how strong the forces of conformity are that seek to silence us and have us embrace the status quo … whatever that is.

Many of us may think something should change but few actually do anything about it. There are lots of reasons why this might be. Standing up and drawing attention can have consequences. Conformity requires that you fit in … but if you don't, make sure you have the most important tool for handling the social pressures you'll face — a sense of who you are and what you stand for. The 'clobbering machine' as they describe it in New Zealand is very effective at making ideas, aspirations, dreams or controversial views that differ from mainstream thinking or behaviour, appear misguided, foolish, na´ve or subversive. Being yourself will inform you more clearly if this is true or not.

Being who and what you are has to be the most natural thing in the world. Suppressing this due to social pressures, fear or a lack of confidence has huge ripple effects for the world. Not only do we all lose the you that might have made an important contribution, been the difference in peoples lives, or reframed the debate on an important issue but in addition the world has one more individual who is 'underemployed' and shoring up (complicit by association) that part of the world that needs to change.

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