TOEFL Independent Writing
Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? In order to succeed, you should be more like others than be different from everyone else.
Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
How can some people have the necessity to be like others while others have the courage to be different from everyone else in order to be successful? In real life, it is difficult to strike a balance between these two motives that conflict each other. In terms of opportunities of success, it is better to stand out and be different because people can only make a difference by being different.
In order to succeed, conformity to the mainstream in society could be a good strategy for some people. They are inclined to be more like others rather than to be different from everyone else, mainly for fear of running the risks of being socially rejected or excluded or even being doomed to failure. As clever as humans are, they have a fundamental need to belong and they rely on social crowds for survival, which means that they are afraid of not being accepted in society. That is probably why when they are not socially accepted, they make a great effort to conform and regain approval to preserve their chances for success. So, if they want to be successful as someone else, they need to be more like others, just to avoid paying the painful social costs that might result in failures. Apparently, they tend to refrain from trying to be different from everyone else or contrary to what is expected of them; so much so, ‘most people become other people’, whether they will be successful or not.
Despite a social need for mimicry, it can be argued that people’s best hope for the greatest success lies in being different from others, for good reasons. There are other people, who like who they are, and who possess self-confidence and self-esteem, do not feel the need to be like others in order to succeed. One important reason is that wanting to be someone else is a waste of the persons they are, probably leading to nowhere. Indeed, those who follow the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd while those who have the courage to be different from everyone else will stand out from the mainstream and be clearly seen. For this reason, being different is a good thing because it means that they are brave enough to be themselves, and it also means that they are not afraid of being different but on the contrary they are afraid of being the same as others. As history can tell, typically all success stories are associated with people who make a difference by being different from everyone else.
When it comes to having the courage of achieving huge successes, there are more advantages to be different from others than to be the same as others. Between the two categories of people, the one does not have the other in mind. The bottom line is that some people may hate others for being different and not living by society’s standards; but deep down, they wish they had the courage to do the same, who know?