On Being Different

As soon as you can say what you think and not what some other person has thought for you, you are on the way to being a remarkable man.’
— James M. Barrie

‘The creative person is both more primitive and more cultivated, more destructive, a lot madder and a lot saner than the average person.’
— Frank Barron

‘Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.’
— Cecil Beaton

‘My experience is that inventors come in all sizes, all nationalities, all ages. The only thing I’m sure of is that inventors are always stubborn.’
— Robert W. Dilts

‘Diversity is a great force towards creativity.’
— Michael Eisner

‘Every man of genius sees the world at a different angle from his fellows.’
— Havelock Ellis

‘Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.’
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverge in a wood, and I
Took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.’
— Robert Frost

‘The intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous. The sensible man, almost nothing.’
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

‘There are one-storey intellects, two-storey intellects and three storey intellects with skylights. All fact-collectors who have no aim beyond their facts are one-storey men. Two-storey men compare, reason, generalize, using the labour of the fact-collectors as their own. Three storey men idealize, imagine, predict–their best illumination comes from the above through the skylight.’
— Oliver Wendell Holmes

‘The strongest man in the world is he who stands alone.’
— Henrik Ibsen

‘People think of the inventor as a screwball, but no one ever asks the inventor what he thinks of other people.’
— Charles F. Kettering

‘Many people fear nothing more terribly than to take a position which stands out sharply and clearly from the prevailing opinion. The tendency of most is to adopt a view that is so ambiguous that it will include everything and so popular that it will include everybody. Not a few men who cherish lofty and noble ideas hide them under a bushel for fear of being called different.’
— Martin Luther King

‘Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.’
— Martin Luther King

‘Common sense means living in the world as it is today; but creative people are people who don’t want the world as it is today but want to make another world.’
— Abraham Maslow

‘I used to think that anyone doing anything weird was weird. I suddenly realized that anyone weird wasn’t weird at all and that it was the people saying they were weird that were weird.’
— Paul McCartney

‘If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.’
— George S. Patton

‘Everything great in the world is done by neurotics; they alone founded our religions and created our masterpieces.’
— Marcel Proust

‘Perhaps the only thing that saves science from invalid conventional wisdom that becomes effectively permanent is the presence of mavericks in every generation – people who keep challenging convention and thinking up new ideas for the sheer hell of it or from an innate contrariness.’
— D. M. Raup

‘The reasonable man adapts himself to the world as it is; the unreasonable man tries to change the world to what he wants it to be. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.’
— George Bernard Shaw

‘We forfeit three-fourths of ourselves in order to be like other people.’
— Arthur Schopenhauer

‘The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them.’
— Mark Twain

‘If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.’
— Henry David Thoreau

‘It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious.’
— Alfred North Whitehead

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