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Can't Help Standing Out? Be Prepared to Pay the Price

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

All startup companies are saying they want to hire employees who are ridiculously smart and insanely creative - the greatest minds they have ever seen. But do they really? Standing out from the crowd has its price, and it's not one that every person, genius as may be, would like to pay.

When we were young we were taught to chase our dreams, to be special, to celebrate our individualism. However, when we go out to the harsh world of employment, we learn that being unique and ambitious can bring us lots of suffering, which is usually caused by people who want us to play by their own rules.

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.” - Albert Einstein

Even in the world of entrepreneurship, where you would have expected people to celebrate individuals who think differently and use their magnificent imagination to elevate startup companies, a lot of entrepreneurs are not as idealists. Unfortunately, you will find that many of them, are just in it for the money, fame or power. Trying to shine next to them it's nearly impossible since they want to keep the shine to themselves, even if it's not in the best interest of their company.

It is unfortunate because, as Steve Jobs said in his famous "Think Different" speech, people who think different move this world forward, and isn't that what entrepreneurship is all about?

Steve Jobs - "Think Different" Campaign

Luckily, there are powerful people who do seem to think so. I once heard that a smart investor judges the potential of a startup by the level of resistance it causes in people: the stronger the opposition to the startup idea - the more likely it is for the startup to succeed and worth investing in.

You must admit that there is some logic in this line of thinking. After all, if you flip through the pages of history, you will find that every successful inventor, artist or entrepreneur had encountered great negative forces who said they will never make it. A few names that are worth mentioning in the high-tech industry are:

Brian Acton the Co-Founder of WhatsApp, who got turned down by both Twitter and Facebook before he took his chances on the startup route.

Elon Musk who was rejected by Netscape company, removed from his position as CEO of two of his own companies, Zip2 and PayPal, crushed three missiles in SpaceX and was almost on the verge of bankruptcy, put all of his life’s savings into Tesla to prevent it from shutting down and was living on personal loans from friends since October 2009.

And Whitney Wolfe the founder of Bumble, the feminist dating app, who co-founded Tinder, left it and sued her former bosses for sexual harassment.

All of these great entrepreneurs are now multi-millionaires, and it is all because they didn't listen to the negative voices telling them they don't have the right stuff to succeed.

"When you accept that failure is a good thing, it can actually be a huge propeller toward success." - Whitney Wolfe

All in all, it is not easy to be an ugly smartass ducky. You will be bullied, belittled, rejected and laughed at. But history tells us, that if you continue to believe in your path, stay strong and enthusiast, and always keep your eyes on the prize - you will have the last laugh.

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