I value originality and creativity as some of the most important character traits in people. The essence of these qualities is to be unique, to contribute something authentic and novel to the social landscape. It may seem that the best way to accomplish this is to actively reject conformity, to acknowledge how others act and express the opposite in yourself; but rather than producing uniqueness, non-conformity instead makes you a slave to your peers by arbitrarily binding you to the opposite of their decisions. Non-conformity doesn’t require any sort of value judgment, it simply masks blind obedience in the sensation of rebellion. So how can we develop ourselves to create something truly special? By carefully selecting and adopting the traits and habits we admire most in the individuals around us. Everyone will have a slightly different affinity for certain people and practices and so by recognizing and integrating these elements into the self, we are guaranteed to become a powerful person.
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is an active television show covering the greatest discoveries in science, modeled after the 1980 original series hosted by Carl Sagan entitled Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. The modern sequel has reaffirmed my admiration for its host, Neil Degrasse Tyson, as a personal hero. Tyson is a champion of science and a model intellectual – he is insatiably curious, bright but humble, and a bit of a renaissance man with his taste for literature competing with a love for science. His passion is contagious, Tyson exhibits a powerful ability to make any topic fascinating and to remain a a lifelong student – qualities that I hope to emulate as a professor. By studying his example, I hope to emulate his best qualities in my own life.
Taylor Marie is another hero of mine for her astounding openness. She embraces vulnerability by sharing the highest ecstasies and the darkest moments of her life with the public. Vulnerability is the language of connection, and her example empowers me to forge deeper connections with the people in my life and improve my writing by showing that it’s not only okay, but imperative, to express yourself boundlessly.
Search for your unique combination of heroes and allow them to fill your soul with a veritable cocktail of consciousness. You already possess the qualities that define you as unique, but developing a personal team of inspirational figures – whether parents, friends, celebrities – constructs the foundation for you to become your ideal self and share your gift with the world.