by Khalid Al Ameri

Take a moment to think about the sheer diversity of the world, the different races, colors, cultures, languages and religions. The different things people do to make a living; the different ways people spend their time and how we all in our own unique way chose to share our lives with others.

There are seven billion unique individuals roaming around this planet we call “Earth”, some roam mindlessly, some with a clear sense of direction, and others caught somewhere in between doing what they can today and waiting for what happens tomorrow.

But with all the diversity in the world I cannot help but notice, and more so in the developed and rich 'developing' part, a lack of individualism and belief in the brand that is 'You'.

When I think about why someone would put more effort into trying to be something they are not, whether it is a personality, a career or a social activity, the first word that springs to mind is 'Acceptance'. For a lot of things in life acceptance is everything and can expand the course of a lifetime.

Acceptance means being part of the cool crew at school, the in-crowd at university or the high flyers at work, which many find to be the most convenient path to success and popularity.

In all honesty, you would not be wrong, you would have an awesome time at school, get invited to all the hip parties at university, and when constantly around the high flyers at work the bosses are more likely to paint you with the same brush.

But it all comes at a cost, a cost that a majority pay for every day of their lives, and that cost is 'You'. If for all that acceptance you are giving up on who you are as an individual, whether it is your beliefs, your personality or your values, you have essentially accepted that 'Acceptance' and success is worth more than what you stand for as an individual.

But what is the alternative to acceptance?

Let's put some thought into it. Have you ever heard the saying “You're a natural”, which is meant to indicate that someone was born with the natural ability to do something.

A lot of successful people in the world are 'Naturals'; they purely have a gift for doing a certain job or sport better than others. Additionally they take that natural gift, build on it everyday, master their craft, and eventually become leaders in their fields.

So where do we fit in? Well we all have a natural ability, a natural ability that is engrained into us the very day we are born, and that is the ability of being you. Let's think about it for a second, if a person is a natural at something and develops it, then she or he is ultimately living out the key formula for success as we previously mentioned. So if you take that formula into your life, be yourself, take the natural abilities you have been blessed with and build on them everyday, you are more likely to find success at your doorstep.

In my humble opinion there is no greater platform for personal and professional success than being who you are, and doing what you do best. Being you is something that requires no effort, no thought, it just flows, it's natural. In the words of purpose finder Jullien Gordon “The best career to have is when someone asks you what do you do? And your response is, I was just me all day.”

Of the seven billion people in the world today there is no one with the ability to be a better you than you, it is the ultimate advantage. You are already light years ahead of people in the field of you, and that is possibly the greatest skill to have.

Having said that with all the advantages you have of being you, there are some shortfalls, and that is making the difficult choice, enduring the possible hardships and facing the potential risks that come with being you. Even though being you is a natural ability, the world is a big place and nobody said the world accepting you was going to be easy.

But when you go into the world being true to yourself, you are already a winner because you are a person who has chosen themself over acceptance in all its riches and glory.

You have chosen to be part of the awesome story that is you and not part of someone else's, which is an achievement in itself and something you can be forever proud of.

In Apple's famous “Think Different” advert those two words spoke out louder than ever, showing the world a list of the people who have changed the world, forever inspiring the many who watch it. So if to “Think Different” is to be you, so be it, maybe it's your time to change the world. #BeYou

19 Responses

  1. Hannah

    I love this! I truly do. I believe that it is the key to succes, what all successful people (and even people who just lead happier & fulfilling lives) have grasped. To be yourself in this world pushing everyone to conform is the hardest thing to do and I think it’s just easier to give in sometimes. It’s also much harder to stick to your dreams when others are constantly trying to undermine you. The cliches are all easier said than done but as they say, the hardest things to do are always the most worthwhile. Thanks for a great & inspiring article :)

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Khalid Al Ameri

      Salam Hannah,

      Thank you so much for the wonderful feedback, couldn’t agree more with your point on ‘”it being easier to just give in”, in life there is a dip we all go through on the journey to our dreams or our natural calling in life, once we make it through this dip, or the tough times, everything just seems to make sense, it has to, as everyone at this point is in their natural element. On your point regarding the people who undermine are usually the same people who wish they had the courage to do as the people they undermine, all we can do is wish them the best and stay focused on becoming who are meant to be in this world.

      Once again thank you for the inspiring feedback and I wish you all the best sister.

      Fi iman Allah,

      Khalid

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  2. Umm Sulaim

    Nice article.

    I have never been a conformist (no surprise there). Even as a child, my principle was – and still is – if I bear the risk, I make the decision, i.e, if I do things other people’s way and it backfires, I still bear the risk, so why not do it my way.

    I am very contented being me.

    Umm Sulaim

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Khalid Al Ameri

      Salam Umm Sulaim,

      Thank you so much for the feedback sister.

      I love your approach, it makes so much sense, especially the part on “if the decision backfires”, I guess it is more of a multiplier effect of the bad feeling if you have given in to the way other people want you to be.

      Glad to hear you are being true to yourself and inshAllah always.

      fi iman Allah,

      Khalid

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  3. maryam

    Jazakallah Khair for the article.

    Can someone please quote a verse from the Quran that confirms that each one of us has a natural talent.

    That would be gr8 :)

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Khalid Al Ameri

      Salam Maryam,

      JazakAllah Khair for the feedback.

      I am glad to see brother Ahsan has given you some quotes :).

      All the best sister, fi iman Allah.

      Khalid

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
    • Khalid Al Ameri

      Salam Yasmin,

      JazakAllah Khayr for the comment sister, it means a lot and I am glad that it has given you a new way to think about the subject.

      I wish you all the best, fi iman Allah.

      Khalid

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  4. Ayman

    I think some Quranic verses or Hadith should be incorporated in this article, it would make it alot better,

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Khalid Al Ameri

      Salam Brother Ayman,

      JazakAllah Khair for the important feedback.

      I believe brother Ahsan has give some quotes, but will do my best to incorporate some of your feedback into my articles in the future.

      Fi iman Allah.

      Khalid

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  5. Carlos

    That is inspirational, Khalid. Thank you.

    It reminds me of what the great French composer, Maurice Ravel, told the great American composer, George Gershwin, when Gershwin asked to study with Ravel: “Why be a second-rate Ravel, when you are a first-rate Gershwin?”

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Khalid Al Ameri

      Dear Carlos,

      Thank you for the feedback brother, it means a lot.

      Much respect to you for the awesome quote, couldn’t agree with it more.

      All the best,

      Khalid

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  6. Ahsan Arshad

    Subhanallah! well written;
    many people particularly the young are looking for acceptance and act to be ‘others’ and as you say the cost is too great; of losing “you”.
    Pertinent Quranic Verses:
    Soorah Nisa (4:32): “And wish not for the things in which Allah has made some of you to excel others…”
    Soorah Nahl (16:71): “And Allah has preferred some of you to others in wealth and properties…”
    Hadith: “Look at those below you and not those above you. It is better for you, so that you do not deny Allah’s blessings on you.” (Bukhari vol. 8 page 328 hadith no. 497 and Muslim vol.3 page 1017 hadith no. 4496)
    Unique talents make one above another but ultimately it is a Blessing of Allah

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Khalid Al Ameri

      Salam Ahsam

      Thank you for the wonderful feedback and including some quotes as a few of the readers were asking for them, I owe you one :).

      Love your last sentence, it basically sums everything up in one life, JazakAllah Khair.

      All the best and Fi iman Allah.

      Khalid

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  7. Muslimah

    JazakaAllah for the article and although I too agree with your points the part that I find difficult is realizing what your natural talent is – till this day I feel confused about what my natural talents/strengths are.. If only I could figure those out first I’d be better able to gear my career path

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply

Leave a Reply