The subtle art of being unconventional

Nyla Pirani
4 min readMar 14, 2019


Not to say I’m any Mark Manson (definitely recommend his books) but I do know a thing or two about being different.

I’ll give you a hint, you should always be the yellow duck

My story

When I was growing up I wanted to be the same as everyone else. I’m not going to try and hide it. I wanted to be the same. Because in my 8-year-old mind being different was bad. No, bad doesn’t describe it. It was horrible. Nope, that’s not right either. To be honest I don’t know what I could use to describe it other than it was very very bad.

If 3 people had a bear paw for a snack and I had a granola bar I wouldn’t show anyone my snack. If everyone’s favourite colour was blue and mine was red I would pretend mine was blue too even if I hated blue.

Long story short I hated being different. 8 years old me, 10 years old me, 12 years old me, and all the ones in between even 6 years old me.

Until I turned 13. I was applying for TKS (The Knowledge Society) and I was in my interview. The person interviewing me and the co-founder Nadeem Nathoo said something to me that blew my mind.

“An unconventional path leads to unconventional success”

This was crazy to me and that’s mainly because of something I didn’t tell you earlier. I wanted to be the same as everyone else but get a different outcome.

Looking back on that now, it was dumb. My whole life I thought I could do the same things as everyone else my entire life and have a completely different (and better) outcome. How crazy is that?!

Now I know I am not the only one who went through this. There’s no way. That’s why I’m writing this article (No it’s not to pretend I’m Mark Manson because ummm I WISH!). So why is being unconventional so important if you want unconventional success and how can you be unconventional? Well, I’m here to tell you that.

Importance of being unconventional

So why is this important? Why do we need to suddenly be unconventional? Well first, it’s important for those who want to have a different (and better) outcome than everyone else. Second, this isn’t sudden. It’s always been this way. But we just never really realized it (even though it’s common sense).

If you don’t care about being different then that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with being conventional. But if your one of those few people that do care about having an unconventional future it all starts with the path you take.

If you go through life eating bear paws instead of granola bars and lying about your favorite color then expect to win an election or be the next Elon Musk, your crazy.

However, taking a different path than everyone else and getting unique experiences is what’s going to get you to be the next Elon (maybe).

Like I said this is never something most of us actually internalized. Yes, it may be common sense but if you think about it, it’s not something some people would just realize (including me).

This isn’t some random thing that just came up. It’s been a thing for a while and people just need to internalize it. Another thing I’ve found is people are so used to being conventional they don’t know how to be unconventional. So how does that work? How can you be unconventional?

How to be unconventional

The definition of unconventional (from google) is “not based on or conforming to what is generally done or believed”. So based on this definition and what I explained to you it should be pretty clear.

Let me give you a hint if you still haven’t got it. To be unconventional is to act, dress, speak, or otherwise exist out of the bounds of cultural norms. So to be unconventional just means not doing the things everyone else is doing. It means doing things you want to that you have to. It means showing your granola bar and being proud of it. Or wearing red when everyone else wears blue.

In the end, just show who you are! Be you but also be different. Try new things, maybe fail a few times because oh well failing is just learning in a unique way, but overall just take risks and show who you are.

I know most articles have key takeaways at the end but I’m going to be unconventional and not put them. Well, no I lied. There is one thing you should take away from his article.

It’s okay to be different. In fact, if you want to have a different (and better) future than everyone else you should want to be different. Because it’s the only way you’re going to get that different from anyone else, amazing and unpredictable, future.

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