Back when I was a fresh out of college with dreams as big as the summer sky, I got my first real taste of corporate culture.

It was my first job interview, and I was seated across from a balding middle-aged guy with a fancy tie who looked like he ate fresh graduates for breakfast. He leaned in, eyes gleaming with a weird mix of arrogance and pity, and he told me, “Kid, if you want to make it in this world, you’ve got to fit in. Blend with the crowd. Do what everyone else is doing.”

The audacity, right? Well, here’s the kicker. I didn’t heed his advice. No, sir. I knew right then and there, in that cold, impersonal office, that the ordinary path wasn’t for me. And, boy oh boy, was that the best damn advice I’ve ever received!

See, we live in a world that’s hell-bent on shaping you into what’s considered “normal”. It’s like a mold – designed by the same folks who designed our boring education system – that tries to squeeze every bit of individuality out of you.

When you break that mold, when you stick your middle finger up at convention, that’s when they slap you with the label “crazy”. But, let me let you in on a little secret, kiddo. Being called “crazy” is often just a sign that you’re unmanipulatable. It means you can’t be bent and twisted into someone else’s idea of what you should be.

It’s high time we realized that the path of the ordinary – the safe, the predictable, the mediocre – isn’t the only path to success. There’s power in authenticity. There’s strength in sticking to your guns, in being who you are unapologetically.

So, if they call you crazy, wear that label like a badge of honor. That’s right, strut your stuff and let the world know you’re here to play the game by your own rules. You’re not a puppet on a string, you’re the damn puppet master.

But remember, it’s not just about defying norms for the sake of it. It’s about challenging the status quo, questioning what’s considered “normal”, and pushing boundaries to create your own path to success.

And let’s get one thing straight, this isn’t some rebellious teenage phase you’ll grow out of. No, it’s a mindset. It’s a way of life. It’s about being a maverick, a game changer, and refusing to be manipulated by society’s expectations.

So, next time someone calls you crazy, just smile and say, “Damn right, I am.”

Mavericks and Game Changers

So, you’ve decided to embrace your inner maverick, to buck the trend and carve your own path. Bravo! You’re in good company. History is replete with individuals who were branded ‘crazy’ before they shook the world.

Consider Elon Musk. Did he get to where he is today by blending into the background, by playing it safe? Not on your life. From PayPal to Tesla, SpaceX to Neuralink, Musk has consistently gone against the grain, challenging established industries and turning them on their heads.

Or take Oprah Winfrey. Did she become a billionaire by fitting into a pre-constructed mold? Hell no! She was fired from her first television job for being ‘unfit for TV’, before going on to host the highest-rated television program of its kind in history. She turned her supposed weaknesses into her greatest strengths, building an empire on authenticity and fearlessness.

What’s common between these mavericks? They’re eccentric, authentic, and, most importantly, they refuse to be manipulated. They don’t dance to someone else’s tune, they make the music. They set the rhythm. They drive the beat.

But there’s a misconception we need to address. These individuals aren’t ‘crazy’ in the traditional sense. Sure, they might have unconventional ideas and methods, but they’re not out of touch with reality. They’re not disregarding norms just for the heck of it.

In fact, they’re hyper-aware of the norms and rules that govern their respective fields. It’s just that they choose not to be bound by them. They realize that these norms, these rules, are often just tools of manipulation – designed to keep you in line, to keep you playing the game the way the powers-that-be want it played.

So, when these individuals refuse to be manipulated, when they decide to chart their own course, they get branded as ‘crazy’.

But let’s compare two scenarios, shall we? In one, you have your conventional success story: the straight-A student who goes on to land a cushy job, toeing the line, climbing the corporate ladder.

In the other, you have the maverick: the dropout who starts his own business, who’s not afraid to take risks, who sets their own benchmarks and measures success on their own terms.

Which one sounds more exciting to you? More fulfilling? More impactful? If you chose the latter, congratulations! You’re starting to think like a maverick.

The Manipulation Game

Welcome to the arena, champ. This isn’t your everyday playground, but a place where power dynamics are at play. We’re diving deep into the world of business and society where manipulation is as common as morning coffee.

So, how does the game work? It’s pretty straightforward, really. Manipulation involves controlling someone or something to your advantage, often unfairly or unscrupulously. You’ve got folks pulling strings from behind the scenes, hoping to mold you into their version of “normal.” And when you refuse to play by their rules, they stick labels on you. “Rebel,” “misfit,” “crazy” – you name it.

Let’s address a major misconception here. Being unmanipulatable isn’t about being antisocial or disregarding other’s opinions. It’s about not letting anyone else’s influence unduly control your thoughts, decisions, and actions. It’s about valuing your voice and perspective. It’s about making conscious choices based on your understanding and beliefs, not because it’s the popular thing to do.

And these labels? They’re just scarecrows, used to instill fear and uncertainty. They are weapons of the manipulators, hoping to drag you back into their lair of conformity. But if you can see past these smoke screens, you realize they’re not threats, but badges of honor.

In business, being unmanipulatable has its perks. You become unpredictable, a wild card. And if you’ve ever played a game of poker, you know that wild cards can turn the tide. They bring a sense of excitement, unpredictability, and dynamism – qualities that are essential in the world of business.

As an unmanipulatable maverick, you can inspire innovation, disrupt industries, and drive change. You see, manipulation creates a culture of monotony and stagnation. On the other hand, an unmanipulatable individual fosters creativity, diversity, and growth.

So, don’t let the fear of labels keep you from taking the less trodden path. Being unmanipulatable is not a symptom of insanity, but a sign of individuality and strength.

Flipping the Chessboard

In the game of chess, every move counts, every piece is vital, and there’s a well-defined rulebook you’re supposed to adhere to. But what happens when you decide to toss that rulebook out the window and play by your own rules? You flip the damn chessboard!

When you’re unmanipulatable, you’re no longer a pawn on someone else’s chessboard. You’re a king or queen in your own right. You create your own game, your own rules, and shape your industry instead of letting it shape you.

It’s like throwing a wrench into a well-oiled machine. People don’t know how to react because they’re so used to the status quo. And it’s at this moment, when you refuse to be boxed in, when you refuse to be just another cog in the wheel, that you truly start to make an impact.

This isn’t just some theoretical idea either. There are countless real-life examples of individuals and companies that have done exactly this. Amazon didn’t become a global behemoth by playing by the rules of traditional retail. Netflix didn’t revolutionize the entertainment industry by sticking to the script. They dared to dream, dared to innovate, and dared to disrupt.

But here’s the thing: when you flip the chessboard, you’re likely to face resistance. You’ll be met with skepticism, doubt, and, yes, people will call you crazy. But as you begin to make waves, as your ideas start to change the landscape, that perception starts to shift. You’re not crazy anymore; you’re a genius!

This isn’t some miraculous transformation. It’s a shift in perception driven by success. Remember, society tends to view non-conformity as a risk, as an anomaly. But once non-conformity leads to success, it’s no longer seen as such; it’s seen as innovative, groundbreaking, even genius.

So, don’t let the fear of being labeled as “crazy” hold you back. Don’t let it deter you from flipping the chessboard and creating your unique path. In the world of business and life, it’s often those who dare to stand out, who dare to be different, who make the most significant impact.

Embrace Your Inner Maverick

If there’s one thing you need to take away from this piece, it’s that being your authentic, unmanipulatable self isn’t a liability – it’s your greatest strength. It’s what sets you apart in a world that often values uniformity over individuality.

When someone labels you as “crazy”, do you know how to respond? With a wide, unabashed grin. Because that label isn’t an insult; it’s a compliment. It means you’re challenging the status quo, pushing boundaries, and blazing your own trail. It means you’re doing something right.

Staying true to yourself, no matter what others say or think, can feel like a daunting task. We’re social creatures after all, hardwired to seek acceptance and avoid rejection. But remember, the greatest minds, the most successful individuals, the ones who’ve truly left their mark, have been those who dared to embrace their uniqueness, their “craziness”.

And so, it’s time for you to step into your power, to embrace your inner maverick. Yes, it may feel uncomfortable at first. Yes, you’ll face hurdles and resistance. But on the other side of that discomfort and fear lies the potential for remarkable success and fulfillment.

You see, there’s no magic formula for success, no one-size-fits-all approach. It’s not about conforming to some pre-established mold or meeting someone else’s expectations. It’s about carving your unique path, staying true to your values, and bringing your unique vision to life.

In the end, remember this: You’re only crazy until you’re successful, and then, well, you’re a damn genius. The ones who laughed, the ones who doubted, they’ll be left in awe of your success. And the ‘crazy’ label? It’ll be replaced with ‘innovator’, ‘game-changer’, ‘trailblazer’. Now, how awesome does that sound?

Remember, your journey isn’t about proving the naysayers wrong. It’s about proving yourself right. It’s about being authentically and unapologetically you, no matter what the world throws your way. So go ahead, embrace your inner maverick, and let’s show the world just how ‘crazy’ you can be.

About the Author: Geoffrey Byers
Geoffrey is one of the world's foremost Designers. He is also a Serial Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker, and Mad Scientist. Hypothesis-Driven experimentation is his love language.