Recently I met the most wonderful little girl while speaking to some students at a school in Dallas. We talked about dreaming big and setting yourself apart. Though I love public speaking, the highlight of my day was meeting this student after my speech. Her name was Farrah and she was the most interesting girl in the world.
Though she was currently going to school in the United States, Farrah had previously lived in Jordan and Australia. Her dad is a master chef and traveled around the world catering to kings, queens, princes, and princesses. Moving can be tough, but I can only imagine the huge worldview that she’s gaining and she doesn’t even know it.
I know, because I’ve lived it. I was born in Dallas to Nigerian parents. We lived in the United States, but our household was as African as they come. From the foods to the discipline, I grew up differently from my friends. We even traveled to Nigeria every other year to spend Christmas and New Years in the village where my dad grew up. From a very young age I had the chance to see, experience, and live a completely different culture. And this experience opened up my eyes to the great big world that exists outside of our country.
Words cannot describe the benefit of opening up your eyes and learning about people who look, act, or think differently than you. Steve Jobs, for instance, made sure to surround himself with people who thought, talked, and walked differently than him, and it made his company that much better. In fact, for a while Apple’s motto was “Think different.”
Being different is a good thing and an attribute that should be embraced. Embrace other cultures, ethnicities, and races. You’ll be shocked by the outcome. If fear is what is keeping you from opening up, I implore you: be different.