What Sets You Apart Is What Sets You Above

Being different is your greatest asset. Here’s why

Mike Goldberg
5 min readDec 19, 2021


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 learned soon enough the only way to survive is to walk, dress and talk like everyone else. We dared 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 themselves. 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 to pass the time.

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.

But the thing that set me apart would become the thing that set me above.

Because when things turn, oh, how they turn.



Mike Goldberg

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