Why would someone want to be something they’re not? The first word that springs to mind is acceptance, well at least that was my strategy throughout a lot of my life growing up. Acceptance meant trying to be part of the cool crew at school, the popular social crowd at university, or the high flyers at work. Many find that it’s the easiest path to success and popularity.

It’s an effective strategy, you have an awesome time at school, get invited to all the hip parties, and when you’re constantly around the high flyers at work the bosses are more likely to think you’re a high flyer. But it all comes at a cost, and that cost is you.

What makes that cost so high is that you care more about being accepted than being true to yourself. It means being a banker when you want to be an artist, it means going to a party when you want to go to the opera, it means gossiping when you’d rather be talking about world affairs, or vice versa for each of those situations. Most of my life I was so focused on becoming a great corporate leader because that’s what I thought was acceptable to everyone else, and put my passion for writing, what made me happiest, to the side. It hurt.

There is however an alternative path in life, staying true and being yourself. The happiest people I meet are usually those who aren’t worried about being accepted because they are focused on becoming better, doing things they love and spending time with people they love. I believe that is the greatest path to personal or professional success.

There are some challenges. You have to make the decision to be yourself no matter what and do what makes you happy even if that means standing out from the crowd, being alone, or working a little harder. It’s a hard path to walk, but worth every step, because it brings meaning and purpose to your life, it being who you were born to be.

When you go into the world being true to yourself you’re already a winner, you’ve chosen being yourself regardless of all the benefits that come with being accepted. You’ve chosen to write your own story and not be a chapter in someone else’s, and that is something worth fighting for.