Misfit — A Journey Towards Discovery of the Self
For someone, who did schooling in six different schools, you would think would have many friends. Well, not in my case. I can easily count my school friends on the fingers of one hand.
I grew up alone between the ages of eleven. The games I used to play included me digging to find dinosaur fossils. The tool at hand was the skimmer I stole from the kitchen.
I hated the things that excited the kids of my age the most. Like lunch breaks and games periods. Because when the class is going on am not required to talk to anyone.
Teachers would try their best to make me talk to my classmates to no avail. I was clueless about what to talk about or maybe I feared talking or maybe no one listened.
After I grew up and returned to my hometown, I was suddenly in midst of many friends. It was a task to find excuses for choosing to not go out with them. I drew the curtains and pretend to be asleep.
My friends would be talking about the teams and players in IPL and I would be pondering on the title sponsor. I tried talking out loud about the business decisions of the brand but it didn’t work out. So I stayed quiet.
I remember my father asking me to be a normal kid and to have fun while standing in front of the house as we watched my friends play football. He was concerned about my inability to hang around with kids my age. I was okay with it. I just was not interested.
While I was in primary school, my best friend was the vice principal. I looked forward to talking to her and I was more comfortable around her than other kids. Every day after the classes would be over we would spend thirty minutes together talking in English.
I didn’t grow up playing video games or reading books that kids my age craved. Another reason for me to stay out of the childish conversations they had that didn’t pique my interest.
I hated going to birthday parties or any parties. I didn’t like the idea of me being surrounded by other people. If am walking on the road and I see someone I know coming towards me I would pretend to be on a call.
When my friends would go crazy about cars and bikes, what piqued my interest was the story of the company that made it. I loved watching business documentaries and reading biographies.
My father frequently asked me to go consult a psychiatrist. I sure was uncomfortable talking with kids my age. But I was comfortable talking to people double my age.
I made connections with entrepreneurs and worked alongside a few. For the first time in my life, I had something to talk about and there were people to listen to.
My dreams too caused people to think that am crazy. I wanted to touch the lives of over a hundred crore people through my healthcare startup. It was hard for them to think that an introvert like me could be hanging around with businessmen.
My father believed the whole startup thing was an imaginary story I mistook to be real. Sometimes, I had the doubt myself and I remember reading through the news article on my startup. I double checked my name and photo in there to ensure, it was real.
The contrast in my personality confused me. I didn’t fit anywhere, I was an extrovert to people double my age and was an introvert to kids my age. In my early 20s, I was clueless about myself. There was a phase in which I too doubted that I have psychological issues.
Even though I was a misfit all around my life, I slowly started to see myself as broken.
Then I heard Apple’s Think Different commercial.
“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes … the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. … You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. … They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
And it changed everything for me.
I owned the label, I was a misfit. I was different, I was unique.
As said by Emma Store — “What sets you apart can sometimes feel like a burden and it’s not. And a lot of the time, it’s what makes you great.”
I embraced everything that made me different. Those differences are what make me who I am. If you take away all those differences and imperfections, well then I will be no different. Sure, I would have more friends and I won’t be labeled a misfit. But then it’s not me.
“Embrace your uniqueness. Time is much too short to be living someone else’s life.” — Kobi Yamada
Years have passed, and I have come a long way from being told to consult a psychiatrist to being a psychology student.
A few months back I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality test. And found out that I am an INFJ (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging). It is one of the rarest personalities in the world — occurring to only 2% of the population.
You were born an original. Don’t die a copy. — John Mason