Tag: Side Hustle

The Curse Of Being Different

by Joe Barnes


Inspiration Rebellion


Date: May 9, 2024

The Curse Of Being Different

Since the age of 11, I’ve felt different. 

When I went to secondary school, I found it impossible to fit in. 

This feeling intensified as I became a teenager. 

Some of my classmates were smoking, drinking and doing drugs.

I wasn’t even curious about trying. However, according to the unwritten rules of being a teenager, the kids who did partake in these activities were “cool”, the top of the social hierarchy (and they got the girls). 

It was the same situation when I got to university. However, instead of just a small percentage of the year group partaking in these activities, it was the majority. 

But I hadn’t changed. 

I couldn’t see the appeal of going out four, five or six nights a week and getting drunk to the point where I felt ill the next day. 

I loved having energy, waking up and feeling like I could be productive all day long.

But apparently, that wasn’t cool.  Instead, the way to form bonds with other people was through becoming intoxicated to the point where you couldn’t remember what you said or did the night before. 

Upon entering the world of work, I couldn’t have felt more different. 

Why did everyone accept careers where they had to work 40, 50, 60 or even 70 hours a week at jobs they didn’t enjoy? 

Why would they sacrifice their health and vitality to make money for a company that would replace them in an instant if it improved the bottom line?

It seemed soul destroying yet nobody questioned whether there were any alternatives.

Of course, I was wrong for thinking this way. Working yourself into the ground, and doing anything your boss asked, was the way to acquire wealth, status and security.  

As I got older, and the issue of settling down and getting married became more relevant, I once again found myself in the minority. 

I wondered why it was necessary. If you love someone, and give them your word, then why do you need to sign a legally binding agreement with the government?

Around 42% of marriages end in divorce. Why face the relatively high possibility of financial ruin and emotional devastation just because everybody else is too scared to question a possibly outdated institution? 

I soon discovered that thinking this way made me a twisted cynic. Nobody gets bored spending every single day with the same person for 40 plus years and getting married is the only way for your life to be complete.  

By 2020, I didn’t need any more evidence of how different I was. However, the Covid pandemic was there to remind me that I’d drifted even further from the majority. 

I watched what seemed to be the entire world give in to fear and lose all ability to question authority.

I failed to understand why a virus, which although more deadly than flu wasn’t in the same ballpark as Ebola, could cause an entire world to shut down. 

But apparently, I was a covidiot. Because I didn’t blindly accept what the media and authorities were saying, I was naïve and potentially dangerous.  


The alien

Why highlight all the experiences that have made me feel so different?

I wanted to give you an accurate impression of how disconnected I’ve felt for the majority of my life.

Sometimes I look at the world and can’t believe I’m a part of this reality. Society’s customs, values and preferences seem warped and, as a result, I feel like an alien moving through a strange land.

Have you ever felt this way?

Perhaps you don’t agree with me on every single one of the issues listed above. It’s not important that you do. However, if you’ve also felt the curse of being different then I’ve got a message for you.

Being different made me feel incredibly isolated.

I’d need a calculator to compute the number of Saturday night’s I’ve spent alone, trying to find some way to entertain myself so I didn’t slip into depression.

This, in itself, was pretty soul destroying. However, during that time, I made a fatal error of judgement with even deeper ramifications.


The façade

Most people don’t conform because they enjoy the behaviour or activity that society requires them to perform.  

Nobody actually likes working 40 to 60 hours a week in a job they find, in parts, stressful and boring.

Ask any smoker or drinker if they enjoyed their first cigarette or pint and they’ll probably tell you it was disgusting.

Why, then, do they do things that go against their nature?

Most people are followers (about 80% of the population according to my new book The Rebel Code). Their primary needs are security and acceptance. They’ll seek to meet these at the expense of freedom, integrity, meaning and even happiness. When it comes to personal motivation, they live their lives moving away from what they fear (the kind of isolation I experienced) rather than being motivated towards what they want.

This leads them to play a role – the hardworking office employee, the diligent husband, the obedient citizen, the sociable drinker – in order to fit in.

Of course, deep down, they don’t enjoy this role. However, they’ll never let on because they fear they’re the only ones who feel this way and would be isolated and rejected if they expressed their concerns.


Inferiority complex

Why am I explaining this?

It took me a long time to gain the above understanding.

For all of my 20s and a part of my 30s, I had an inferiority complex.

I believed there was something wrong with me for being different. I felt inferior to the masses of people who seemed to have no trouble conforming to society’s standards for working, socialising and thinking.

This was a huge mistake. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

However, because I believed that the majority was right and I was wrong, I didn’t trust myself or my ideas. I didn’t pursue my dreams with enough conviction because part of me thought I was crazy for having them.

This is a terrible way to live and a trap I want you to avoid.

You MUST understand there’s nothing wrong with you for being different.

In fact, if you value these differences and live your life according to them, you’re already braver, and potentially greater, than the people who don’t enjoy conforming but do so because they fear rejection and isolation.   

It took me a long time to learn this liberating lesson (too long). However, now I see things clearly.

Why would I ever feel inferior to people who live their lives being driven by fear and are afraid of being true to themselves?

There’s no reason to.


Your superpower

Feeling different can be a curse or it can be a blessing.

If you allow your differences to create bitterness or make you feel inferior, then you could spend your entire life feeling disconnected and misunderstood.

However, if you realise that being different is actually a superpower, it can be your ticket to greatness.

Think of all the time you’ll have to pursue your dreams by not wasting your life socialising in ways which you find unenjoyable.  

Think of the confidence you’ll develop by believing in yourself despite being in a minority of one.

Think of all the insights and knowledge you’ll gain by having a unique perspective and not being afraid to explore where it leads.

At times, being different can be isolating, heart breaking and intimidating. However, if you’re brave enough to accept who you are, and value yourself regardless of being in the minority, it can be one of the best things in the world.

Recently, I’ve watched as more and more people reject the “getting wasted” culture, placing greater importance on their health. The same could be said about the “work yourself to death” culture with greater numbers becoming content creators, entrepreneurs, side hustlers and working on their own terms. And, with the pandemic over, people are even beginning to question whether the strict lockdowns were necessary and if everyone being forced to take an experimental vaccine was wise.

The opinions and positions I took, that once made me weird, are becoming more and more accepted.  

This has taught me a lesson. I was right to stay true to myself. My only mistake was not doing it with greater conviction.

I’m different. And that’s ok.

You’re different. And that’s ok.



If you want to discover a passion you can make a living from and overcome the fears that are holding you back, check out my free course 30 Days to Escape The SystemClick here to get the course right now! (You’ll find the tips on developing belief and self-confidence fascinating!) 


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