There is a saying in Japanese – 出る釘は打たれる (deru kugi wa utareru) – which means that the nail that sticks out gets hammered down.

Being Chinese American, I was raised with the similar mentality. This paradigm, quite sadly, means reprimand for both poor performance and good performance. The goal is to maintain the status quo; to maintain conformity.

nail that sticks out gets hammered down

Fortunately, I was a square peg in this circular hole, which might have explained my social oddities as an adolescent. See teachers? I wasn’t acting out …

My point is this — be that nail and embrace your uniqueness. In a creative industry where every other person is a photographer, cinematographer, planner, etc., standing out is the only thing you got left.

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.
— Oscar Wilde (pinnable image)

For example, think about the Olympics. There were many that have earned the gold medal; there were many names forgotten. However, McKayla Maroney left an indelible impression (smirk) with the media during the 2012 London games.

The 16-year-old took home an Olympic gold medal in the team competition and silver in vault, but it was an image of her with a less-than-enthused face on the medal stand in London that stuck with the audience the most.

“The whole world pretty much got obsessed with it,” [Maroney] continued. “Every single day I get asked by people to do ‘the face,’ so I’m bringing it along with me now for the rest of my life.”
USA Today

Now, even Barack Obama jokes with Maroney with the “not impressed” face. Maroney is and will continue being the one nail that stuck out.

barack obama mckayla maroney are not impressed(photo by Pete Souza, The White House)

Enjoy being yourself,

Lawrence Chan

P.S. Received some kind words about my SEO e-book that I wish you all can have similar success by Jessica Laney Petty.

testimonial jessica laney petty

P.S. Speaking of Chinese, yesterday I ate at this awesome Chinese dumpling house in San Francisco. It’s called Kingdom of Dumpling. I like the name. They’re known for their soup dumpling (xiao long bao in Chinese).

Try them if you ever get the chance. Soup bursts from inside!

xiao long bao