How I Turned my Biggest Weakness into my Greatest Strength

The thing that sets you apart is the thing that sets you above

Mike Goldberg

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Photo by Keenan Constance on Unsplash

I didn’t ask for this.

At one point I would have given just about anything to throw away whatever set me apart. I didn’t want it. It was a curse — an albatross hung around my neck for not being like everyone else.

You could say my early teen years were difficult.

In junior high and high school, we all learn soon enough that the only way to survive is to walk, dress and talk like everyone else. We dare not deviate, because the price of being different is being alone.

Only, I never got that memo, and I didn’t have the faculties to understand how to be like everyone else. And I paid the price.

What’s it like being alone in Middle School? Let me tell you.

I remember I had to find ways to pass the time during lunch. Lunch! That’s the best time of the day, and an opportunity to socialize with your friends — if you had any.

Since I didn’t, my goal was to stay off the radar of the little assholes who demonstrated allegiance to the group by shunning the other, lest they be cast as the mutant. So my goal was to try to be less of a target. I’d eat my lunch privately, and then I’d go for a walk. I calculated if I walked towards the PE locker room and circled it 3 times, I could kill off enough time until the bell rung to return to class.

Don’t give people what they already have — they don’t need that. If you want to be valuable, give them what they don’t have. Give them what they can’t get anywhere else.

Believe it or not, I don’t hold any bitterness. I actually understand. And I don’t really fault people for doing what they did, because in that space, them’s the rules, kid. I didn’t write them.

I learned something incredibly valuable during that time. Being an unwitting outsider was an unwanted gift. I didn’t see it at the time because I was too focused on wishing I could live and feel and be like everyone else.

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Mike Goldberg

3x Top Writer | Traveler | Real estate investor | Storyteller | Occasional columnist | I talk about personal growth and seizing opportunities.