I dug the idea that I was being perceived as the black sheep of my family, but for me, it was like, I was a rebel, and that to me was most important.
I’ll say it: I’m still a teenager. Even a child sometimes. That’s what my wife and family tell me. And they are right.
This is the kind of things that “proper” grown-ups shouldn’t say. I don’t care and I will say it again: I am still a teenager, a 40-year old one. At least in my mind.
Since I was twelve years old, I have always cultivated a rebel mindset. I love being quirky and different.
I used to play Dungeons and Dragons. I listen to underground music and watch indie films. Through marginality I have made some friends, but also enemies.
About 10 years ago, I fell in line. Society taught me being marginal wasn’t that brilliant. Since then, I have toned down my “rebellious” mind.
But recently, I took Sally Hogshead’s test on How to fascinate. I came out as “The Provocateur” (check out the different styles here if you want to get more details about what that means). In short, it means people see me as someone who challenges the status quo and come up with surprising ideas.
It caused me to reflect and projected me back to 20 years ago (it was at the peak of my marginality then). And it came as a shock that I had completely put to sleep this part of my personality. The shock and the insight caused me to make a decision: I decided to let my rebellious mind come out again.
Not everyone will relate to my story. But it is a given that we are all rebellious during our teenage years. And we can enjoy cultivating this quality. By doing and saying what we feel strongly about, we can create a more enriched life for ourselves.
We can take control of our path and do what we feel passionate about. Without being afraid of the public’s opinion. This is hugely valuable.
Here is how you can do it.
1. Seek out your rebel mindset
We all have crazy dreams and activities that are seen as “odd” or maybe even childish. And certain personality traits that can be unusual or not politically correct. What are yours?
What did you use to do that was frowned upon? Did you have specific dreams that time and “responsibilities” have been trampled upon? What are your quirky personality traits?
Go back in time and explore those memories. Seek out the rebel mindset. Don’t be shy.
List all the activities, dreams and personality traits that you have buried over time. Write them down in two columns (“activities/dreams” and “personality traits”) and keep them handy for step 3. In the meantime, we need to further strengthen the teenage mindset.
2. Cultivate your difference
When you were 14 and had some unorthodox ideas, you were told that you would grow out of them. And this is exactly what has happened.
Now, however, it’s different. You have acquired more wisdom (somehow). You know better than anyone else what you should and should not do.
So don’t let others tell you how you should behave, what is acceptable and what not. It is mostly a reflection of their views, not yours. Stay respectful, but stand your ground.
Affirm your personality. Cultivate your differences. Stand out from the crowd by re-awakening the rebel in you.
Society and teachers have told you to just fit in, to blend into the crowd and not cause ripples. This is fine if you want to be a follower. What I’m telling you here is to stand out proud and be a leader of your life.
You won’t please everyone for sure, but this is not what being a rebel is about anyway. Affirm what you believe in and pursue your dreams. That way you will create close relationships with people akin to you.
People who disagree with you can go and find other friends anyway.
3. If it’s silly, get rid of it
Now that we have revived your rebel mindset, it is time for a caveat. And for some list curing.
Some activities, dreams and ideas will just be plain silly or might not inspire you anymore. There is not much sense pursuing those activities. So just drop them from your list.
Personally, I had a few t-shirts and posters in my room that were designed to shock people. But they were of bad taste. One t-shirt featured a zombie girl and the text above said “Dead girls don’t say no”. There is a picture of it here.
Bad taste, I know. I don’t dream of wearing this T-shirt today. My wife doesn’t know about this, don’t tell her…
In short, cure your list and get rid of those silly activities.
4. Find the key that locked away your dreams
With the rest of the list, take time to find out why you have locked away some of your dreams. Dreams and activities that would excite you to pursue today. Or parts of your personality that you would like to come out.
Is it because you are now married with children and believe you can’t pursue dreams or be the “real” you again? Or is it because you know better? Whatever the reasons, make sure you find them for each of your dreams.
5. Wake up
You now have your shortlist. Your are clear on the reasons that have caused you to shut away part of your personality and dreams. It is time to re-awaken them.
Pick one trait from your personality list and one activity/dream. Then, decide to let your trait come out and start practicing. Mine is being a provocateur.
In parallel, start exploring your dream. Make a plan: put the necessary activities or steps to pursue your dream in your agenda. Do it now.
Try things out, don’t be scared. You might find out one particular dream or personality trait that is definitely not “you”. In which case, just drop it. No harm done (really).
Once your trait and dream are part of your life, move to your next items on the list.
Have fun, enjoy re-connecting to the real you from your teenage years. Be opinionated. You might be surprised where it can lead you.
6. Be a teenager
We should not be scared. Cultivating a teenager mindset means pursuing what we believe in without fear.
I made it my mission to teach how to design a lifestyle of freedom, passion and growth. The first step of the process is to accept the possibility of pursuing our dreams.
Then, we have to stand up to them. If you have been a teenager once, you have it in you.
Are you ready to wake up?
What are your stories from your teenage years? Have you re-awaken your dreams and personality? Please share your stories below.