Somewhere in the midst of the many intricacies and contradictions of life, the lines of what is real and not so real seem to get lost in translation. As each of us experienced adolescence and eventually adulthood, we found out quickly that everyone would not like us.

No matter how much you may have tried to appease people’s feelings or act a certain way, everyone still did not like you. Everyone not liking you is a fact of life. In fact, it is better if everyone does not cozy up to you.

I have found in my short few years that the key to success and happiness lies in being who God made you to be. It pays to be who you were designed and destined to be.

So much in our world is predicated on fitting a certain stereotype or fitting into a certain category, but here’s a friendly reminder: We were not made to fit into categories and stereotypes. Each of us individually represents a different category and altogether has something astronomically great to contribute to this great world we live in.

Being yourself and allowing the great qualities you were blessed with to shine through will take you further in life than trying to be a mirror image of someone else. We were not made to be clones but rather originals.

There is nothing more boring than seeing the same movie over and over again, no matter how good it may be. The same applies to us as individuals.

The more you try and act like someone else, the quicker you will be dismissed as an old broken record. Instead, aim to be the best version of yourself. No one can beat a person at being them. As individuals, we are the only ones who can truly maximize the talents and gifts given to us by God.

As this great year progresses, let’s maximize our potential; let’s aim to be the best versions of ourselves. There’s a reward in individuality. I know in today’s society it may not appear to be that way, but try it and see.

I want each person who reads this to reap the rewards of freedom from people and the sheer joy of being who they were created to be. Let’s make it happen. Let’s be who we are destined to be and the best possible version we can be.

Contact Jasper Knighten at jasperknighten@yahoo.com.