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Ollie’s speech in Year 4 for Robert Hardy Public Speaking Competition:

 

What if everyone in the world was exactly alike? What if everyone talked the same, acted the same, listened to the same music and watched the same TV programs? The world would be extremely dull!

In fact, we are all different from other people in our own ways. Thank goodness this is true. Differences are what make life interesting and fun!

It’s cool to be different because this allows you to be true to yourself.

 

We all have characteristics — physical, intellectual, emotional, etc — that make us different. Allowing ourselves to express these unique characteristics makes us feel good. Resisting our natural self does not.

I think the truth is that what makes you different, can become your superpower. You just need to learn how to harness that power. Instead of hiding your difference, you could learn how to use it. Your shyness, for example, might make you a better listener. Your awkward laugh might make you funny and appealing. Our quirks, when we master them, contain great power.

What makes you different makes you memorable. When you try to fit into somebody else’s mould, the results will be boring. People won’t remember the thing you did that everybody can do, but they will remember the thing you did that only you can do.

The world needs more realness. In a world where being the same as everyone else is the easiest option, being real is in high demand. Deep down everyone wants to be more real, but we are all afraid to be the first one. When you start living as your true self, differences and all, you give permission to those around you to do the same. We might not say it out loud, but everyone wants to see your honest self.

 

Every great creative breakthrough — artistic, musical, scientific, etc. — by definition is different, because it introduces a solution that requires a new way of thinking. Embracing your difference gives you a new perspective. Innovation does not happen when everyone thinks the same. Innovation happens when people challenge the status quo with different ideas.

 

Some people who try to hide their differences might do so out of fear of being lonely. But standing out will not make you lonely — far from it. By living honestly you will discover others who align with your difference. They will like you just the way you are. This will be your tribe.

When you stand up and live according to your purpose, you will find those who have stood up before you, and you will serve as inspiration for those who will stand up next.

 

Finally, in the words of Oscar Wilde:

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”