“Creation is a better means of self-expression than possession; it is through creating, not possessing, that life is revealed.” These wise words belong to Vida Dutton Scudder, an American writer and educator who also worked as a welfare activist. Her commitment to her uniqueness almost cost her everything. In the early 1900s, in a then-controversial move for a professor, she publicly supported striking textile workers in Massachusetts. She even spoke on their behalf at a strike meeting. Immediately, many called for her resignation as an educator but she held her ground. She also famously supported socialism and pacifism. At a time when it wasn’t politically correct or socially acceptable to have such strong and unpopular opinions, Scudder expressed her uniqueness through her work. And it’s that work that she’s most remembered for.
It’s hard to imagine Ms. Scudder looking back on her life with regret. She stayed true to herself and her beliefs, and she pushed forward without a care in the world. That is the beauty of expressing your uniqueness through your work. There’s no part of you that’s restricted from your personal truth. And that very personal truth is what enables you to make a mark on the world. No one remembers the person who tried so hard to look, sound, and work like everyone else.
When you break the chains that hold you back from being uniquely you, it isn’t just you that reaps the benefits. The people around you get to cash in, too. Whether you’re an artist, a teacher, or a banker, everyone you encounter stands to gain something from your individuality. As you unleash your uniqueness, you see how people are positively affected. They gain more knowledge. Their eyes are opened to a new way of doing things. New solutions are uncovered. Being uniquely you in your work unlocks a world of possibilities that would otherwise be off limits.
No Regrets-Solidify Your Legacy
What does it mean to lead a fulfilling life? For most of us, it means looking back on our lives with no regrets and living the way we want to. When it comes to work, the definition doesn’t change. Being in touch with our unique selves and working the way we know best is how we can experience happiness. The happiest people are the ones who do it their way and don’t look back. Tim Ferriss is the author of the bestselling book, The 4-Hour Workweek. In being true to himself, he created a new outlook on work that most people initially thought was crazy. He was rejected 25 times before successfully publishing it. And now, that book is the capstone of his achievements and his mark on the world. Because he embraced his unique outlook on work and stayed true to it, it eventually paid off.
Expressing our uniqueness through our work is ultimately fulfilling because our uniqueness is what helps us pave our path. Whether we impact one life or millions, we can’t do it without being true to ourselves. When we bring our perspective, skill, and individual talent to a job or project, we leave our mark. We create something that no one else can, be it an idea or a work of art. We don’t hold back. We work free of restriction and inject our passion into everything we do. That’s how we ensure our legacies and enjoy our lives. It’s the ones who conform and suppress their uniqueness who are worse off. Being unique may not immediately pay off, but it always works out eventually.