This article brings together 84 quotes to help you embrace your uniqueness and turn what makes you different, whatever it may be, into a strength from a personal as well as from a professional point of view.
Your particularities, your defects and qualities contribute to making you stand out and offer value to the world. The 84 quotes in this article are there to show you this. They invite you to:
- Boost your originality, your atypical side and make it an advantage, an incomparable strength.
- Stop conforming and question the status quo to create diversity and value, to innovate and make the world a better place.
- Dare to be yourself and create a life that looks like you, unique and authentic.
Finally, quotes from extraordinary personalities to remind you how much embracing your uniqueness can shift things on a personal level as well as on a collective human scale.
You know how important it is to me to be an “intelligent rebel”, so I know how much these quotes to embrace your uniqueness should resonate with you…
1. Fully embrace your uniqueness and originality
The quotes in this first part show you that embracing your uniqueness means having the courage to tell the world about your original viewpoint. This is not only the sure pathway to an aligned life, it is also an act that offers unique value to others and to the systems in place, applicable to any field – medicine, human rights, art, politics, science, etc.).
Embracing your uniqueness also means taking a chance – express your atypical and/or rebellious ideas and embody them deeply and sincerely. To do this, you need to be brave enough to face the judgement of others and overcome your fear of failure. This requires you to step outside your comfort zone and show other people who you are, even if it means you will be criticised. You will never get everyone on board, but even if your ideas are somewhat misunderstood, at least you will not live with the regret that you did not try.
Finally, these quotes will help you become aware that what makes you fragile, or what you consider to be your weakness can turn out to be your biggest strength. When recognised and accepted, something that is considered to be a defect or a handicap, a weakness, can become a source of creativity and an advantage, guiding and driving your projects. Instead of seeking to erase these parts of yourself to look like everyone else, these quotes encourage you to fully integrate them to your life.
Originality: genuine added value for others and for systems to embrace your uniqueness
- “If a handful of people hadn’t been cajoled into taking original action, America might not exist, the civil rights movement could still be a dream, the Sistine Chapel might be bare, we might still believe the sun revolves around the earth, and the personal computer might never have been popularized.” Adam Grant
- “The hallmark of originality is rejecting the default and exploring whether a better option exists.” Adam Grant
- “Are you different? Good, because that is where your humanity lies. Your difference is a gift of life. Your only mission is to watch over your singularity. That is what will save the world from greyness.” Fabrice Midal
- Ultimately, the people who choose to champion originality are the ones who propel us forward. After spending years studying them and interacting with them, I am struck that their inner experiences are not any different from our own. They feel the same fear, the same doubt, as the rest of us. What sets them apart is that they take action anyway. They know in their hearts that failing would yield less regret than failing to try.” Adam Grant
- “You have to know what sparks the light in you so that you, in your own way, can illuminate the world.” Oprah Winfrey
Expressing your atypical side and innovative ideas, sometimes against the generally held views, involves overcoming your fear of failure or judgement to embrace your uniqueness.
- “There are so few originals in life because people are afraid to “speak up and stand out.” Mellody Hobson
- “We find surface ways of appearing original—donning a bow tie, wearing bright red shoes—without taking the risk of actually being original. When it comes to the powerful ideas in our heads and the core values in our hearts, we censor ourselves.” Adam Grant
- “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.” Steve Jobs
- “The more you value achievement, the more you come to dread failure. Instead of aiming for unique accomplishments, the intense desire to succeed leads us to strive for guaranteed success.” Adam Grant
- “The problem is not that we distance ourselves from the norm, that we do not match a fictitious average. The problem is that we feel guilty. The norm has become madness…” Fabrice Midal
- “To become original, you have to try something new, which means accepting some measure of risk. Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. […] I learned that great creators don’t necessarily have the deepest expertise but rather seek out the broadest perspectives.” Adam Grant
- “If we want people to accept our original ideas, we need to speak up about them, then rinse and repeat.” Adam Grant
Embrace your uniqueness: What you think is a weakness can be turned into a strength, an advantage
- “What is your visible shortcoming that can actually become your greatest strength?” Malcolm Gladwell
- “Even from stones placed in one’s path, one can build something beautiful.” Johan Wolfgang von Goethe
- “What the public criticizes in you, cultivate. It is you.” Jean Cocteau
- “It is better to be a Big Fish in a Little Pond than a Little Fish in a Big Pond, where the apparent disadvantage of being an outsider in a marginal world turns out not to be a disadvantage at all.” Malcom Gladwell
2. Embrace your uniqueness: Stop conforming and question the status quo
The quotes in this second part will help you to embrace your originality by inviting you to let go of thinking inside the box, the norm: first because normality does not exist; it is an illusion (we are all different). Second, because leaving the beaten paths is one of the best ways to stand out, boost your creativity and improve the world: diversity is a source of progress, of richness for humanity. So, dare to question the status of things and the system in place in order to innovate! Don’t be afraid to allow your specificities to stand out and be different, stand out from the crowd, create value.
Embrace your uniqueness: Understand that there is no such thing as “normal”
- “Normality is an illusion. What is normal for a spider is chaotic for a fly.” A line spoken by Morticia Addams in the film “The Addams Family” directed by Barry Sonnenfeld
- “The norm […] creates a lot of suffering. Everyone feels abnormal for one reason or another, and effectively, everyone is, because normality is a fiction.” Fabrice Midal
- “Normality is the pretext ordinary people hide behind to attack extraordinary people. Anonymous
- “Somewhere, somehow, we all feel abnormal.” Anonymous
- “I dream of a day when the norm will simply be the richness of all our singularities.” Marielle Barbe
- “Your son is… different, Mrs Gump”, said Mr. Hancock. -”We are all different”, replied Mrs. Gump.” Line take from the film Forrest Gump directed by Robert Zemeckis
- “Remember always that you have not only the right to be an individual; you have an obligation to be one.” Eleanor Roosevelt
- “We are all, each in our own way, “normal others””. Fabrice Midal
Think out of the box
- “Think different.” Steve Jobs
- “How do you know? It’s a question we need to ask more often, both of ourselves and of others.” Adam Grant
- “Instead of thinking outside the box, get rid of the box.” Deepak Chopra
- “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
- I took the one less travelled by,
- And that has made all the difference.” Robert Frost
- “The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before.” Albert Einstein
- “Leave the roads, take the trails.” Pythagoras
- “Everyone is born with an instinct of success, and ability to make it, but only the ones who think out of the box succeed.” Unarine Ramaru
- “If everyone has to think outside the box, maybe it is the box that needs fixing.” Malcolm Gladwell
- “First places are not interesting. What I’m interested in are the places apart.” Jean Cocteau
Question the order of things to improve the world
- “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them; disagree with them; glorify or vilify them. Because they change things. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” Jack Kerouac
- “The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones.” John Maynard Keynes
- “Every human group draws its wealth from communication, help and solidarity that has a common goal: each person thrives and there is respect for differences.” Françoise Dolto
- “A large part of our attitude toward things is conditioned by opinions and emotions which we unconsciously absorb as children from our environment. In other words, it is tradition—besides inherited aptitudes and qualities—which makes us what we are. “
- “I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking.” Albert Einstein
- “Remove yourself from this tyranny [of the norm], weigh anchor and allow yourself to invent your life. Remain human in a world made inhuman by the norm, where all the rough edges have to be smooth, where everything outside the line must be cut away. And we all end up feeling bizarre.” Fabrice Midal
- “The reward for conformity is that everyone likes you but yourself.” Rita Mae Brown
- “Being original doesn’t require being first. It just means being different and better.” Adam Grant
3. Be yourself to create a unique and exceptional life, on your terms
The quotes in this third part reveal that embracing your uniqueness is a key step towards personal and professional fulfilment. By identifying what characterises you, the little something that others don’t have and by liberating this originality, you will find your path and your place in this world.
You will understand that your singularity is interesting to create your personal brand. You will stand out in an artistic setting, in your leadership, your career or from your competitors if you are an entrepreneur. Simply being yourself is also the key to a unique and exceptional life.
You are sure to have authentic relationships (if you are loved for what you truly are). It is a deciding factor in your well-being (you flourish without pretence or play) and leads to a life that is in sync with your deepest aspirations. These quotes will encourage you to engage in original projects, places where no-one expects you. Do what you are passionate about, despite contradictory opinions. What you do is not necessarily revolutionary, just do it your way, without following the expected standards of society and those around you. This will cloak you in charisma and inspire many others!
Our singularity shows us our path in life and our place
- “Embracing your uniqueness means building your life like a work of art.” Alexandre Jollien
- “In order to live the life you love and love the life you live, you have to be willing to step on the other side of normal.” Lisa Nichols
- “We are uniquely ourselves when we feel good and in alignment with ourselves, in all circumstances. Of course, this does not stop us from adapting to every situation. Let’s continue to go to weddings, to dress your best, but be sure that you dress your best and not somebody else’s.” Alexandre Pachulski
- “I was real good at music and real bad at everything.” Bruce Springsteen
- “It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from. The ability to triumph begins with you – always.” Oprah Winfrey
- “What makes you unique makes you successful.” William Arruda
- “A personal brand is the powerful, clear, positive idea that comes to mind when people think of you.” Peter Montoya
- “If you are always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.” Maya Angelou
- “I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now?” John Lennon
- “To have creative ideas, you have to have a life experience different to others.” Steve Jobs
- “Normality is a paved road: it is comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow.” Vincent van Gogh
- “Genius starts where normality ends.” Susanna Mittermaier
- “If you keep trying to fit the mould, you will turn into a pie!” Bernard Werber
- “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” Albert Einstein
- “By taking the time to know yourself, […] by exploring your many facets, you will become “unique” in your own eyes and “unique in the world”. Marielle Barbe
Be yourself to create a special life, unique in its own way,
- “Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” Kurt Cobain
- “There is only one success – to be able to spend your life in your own way.” Christophe Morley
- “Finding our path, daring to take it, with the perspective of being happy, being ourselves, often asks us to face into the winds that are blowing across our destiny. And therefore to show courage, tenacity and patience. Our ability to thrive depends greatly on our ability to accept what makes us different, independently from how others look at us, without which the risk of missing out on our own life and taking another person’s path is enormous.” Alexandre Pachulski
- “Setting out to discover what makes us unique, singular, is not only recognising an aptitude or way of operating that is different. It is first about confirming our tastes, our desires, our aspirations, that are not always those of the people around us or ones that are held in high regard by society.” Alexandre Pachulski
- “And if I’m not normal, it’s because I don’t want to be, because there are too many normal people. Let’s leave them to get along among themselves.” Georges Brassens
- “What really counts is being in agreement with ourselves, and therefore correctly identifying how we operate and learning to accept it.” Alexandre Pachulski
- “If you try to please certain people by being someone you’re not, you won’t succeed for very long and you won’t be happy. You must first accept what you are, do what you like and do it well. Then you may just be lucky enough to have fans.” Kimi Räikkönen
- “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.” Oscar Wilde
- “We can’t become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” Oprah Winfrey
4. Quotes from famous personalities who shifted the lines with their different vision
In this final part, I have brought together quotes from personalities who accepted their singularity, their avant-garde ideas, poorly regarded personality traits, deviant orientation or over-the-top originality.
In this list, in no particular order, are words from famous individuals: profiles considered to be atypical, visionaries, non-conformists, rebels, “don’t fit any mould” people, people with mental or physical disabilities, an emotional particularity, innovators, ideologists. They are artists, entrepreneurs, scientists, philosophers… people who followed their dreams to the end. They broke the rules. And they made their weakness a strength, or at least something that did not work against them or their idea of happiness. These people were able to play and develop their creativity to get across innovative, extravagant, unusual ideas. By demonstrating originality, they contribute or contributed to making the world a better place.
Quotes from activists with ideas that often drew criticism or resistance, but who persevered anyway.
Pierre Rabhi, a pioneer in eco-farming, founder of the Colibris movement
“The utopias of today are the solutions of tomorrow.”
Greta Thunberg, climate activist, diagnosed with Asperger’s
“Please save your praise, we don’t want it. Don’t invite us here to tell us how inspiring we are without doing anything about it. It doesn’t lead to anything.”
“I’ve learned you are never too small to make a difference.” »
“We know that we cannot save the world by playing by the rules because the laws have to be changed.” »
Simone de Beauvoir, feminist activist
“I accept the great adventure of being me.”
“I was made for another planet altogether. And I mistook the way.”
Malala Yousafzai, activist for women’s rights, Nobel peace prize recipient
I had two options. One was to remain silent and wait to be killed. And the second was to speak up and then be killed.”
Maya Angelou, activist for human rights and equality
“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”
Quotes from innovators who revolutionised the market with original ideas but are definitely not to everybody’s taste
Elon Musk, founder and CEO, among others, of Tesla and Space X
“If the rules are such that you can’t make progress, then you have to fight the rules.”
Brian Chesky, founder of Airbnb
“If we tried to think of a good idea, we wouldn’t have been able to think of a good idea. You just have to find the solution to a problem in your own life.”
Travis Kalanick, co-founder of Uber
“Stand by your principles and be comfortable with confrontation. So few people are, so when the people with the red tape come, it becomes a negotiation.”
Steve Jobs, founder and CEO, among others, of Apple Inc., inventor of the iPhone, the Macintosh and the iPad
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”
Edwin Land, founder of Polaroid, inventor of the instant photo and polarising filters
“No person could possibly be original in one area unless he were possessed of the emotional and social stability that comes from fixed attitudes in all areas other than the one in which he is being original.”
Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone
“Never walk on the travelled path because it only leads where others have been.”
Embrace your uniqueness: Inspiring quotes from personalities who found strength in their difference, their handicap
Pascale Casanova, a blind athlete, member of the French paralympic alpine skiing team
“My heart was torn for a long time between difference and normality. Two paths were open to me, the more difficult one appeared to me most worthy of interest. After taking it, making my disability a permanent challenge, I finally chose to embrace my difference. Whether I like it or not, I and it are as one. It has forged my personality, my way of being, my life, so I might as well accept it as being enriching, a strength, and finding, case by case, solutions to overcome each difficulty, looking with confidence towards the future.”
Fabien Marsaud, known as Grand Corps Malade, slammer, poet, singer-songwriter, director, former tetraplegic
“The five senses of disabled people are affected, but a sixth sense frees them; well beyond strength of will, stronger than anything, without restriction, this 6th sense that appears is simply the desire to live.”
Michèle Mathy, alias Mimie Mathy, comedian, actor, living with achondroplasia
“We are all different. I have always considered that being short in stature is not a handicap, but just a characteristic, a particularity to be managed. It is another way of living with a difference. My difference is not a handicap.”
Greta Thunberg, teenage climate activist, diagnosed with Asperger’s
“I have Asperger’s and that means I’m sometimes a bit different form the norm. And – given the right circumstances – being different is a superpower.” “When haters go after your looks and differences, it means they have nowhere left to go. And then you know you’re winning!” “I have Asperger’s syndrome so, for me, most things are black or white. I look at the people in power and wonder how they have made things so complicated. And I hear people saying that climate change is an existential threat, yet I watch as people carry on like nothing is happening.”
Alexandre Jollien, philosopher, writer, living with athetosis since birth
“Very quickly I intuitively felt that running away from a handicap was isolating. It is there, you have to accept it like a fifth limb, put up with it. To do this, knowledge of one’s weaknesses seems to me to be primordial.”
Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist, cosmologist, writer, professor, confined to a wheelchair by ALS
‘My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21. Everything since then has been a bonus. My disabilities have not been a significant handicap in my field, which is theoretical. Indeed, they have helped me in a way by shielding me from lecturing and administrative work that I would otherwise have been involved in.”
What about you, do you know any quotes that inspire you to fully embrace your uniqueness? Feel free to share them in the comments!