I’ve never had any understanding of peer pressure. All my life, I’ve heard teenage behavior attributed to peer pressure, but it never made any sense to me.
There has never been a time in my life — even for a moment, as far as I can recall — when I wanted to be “cool” in order for people to like me (or for any other reason). I wanted to be liked. I wanted to be loved. I wanted to be understood and admired. I wanted people to love my work.
But at times when I didn’t get the admiration or understanding I craved, I never wanted to adopt someone else’s mannerisms or look or attitude. I simply wanted to persuade people to follow me instead.
I was listening to an interview today with a co-founder of a major software company, and he was talking about why he went through a period during his teens when he got into trouble a lot — with his parents, with religious figures, with school authorities and even the police. He said he was hanging out with a teen who was a bad influence — because that guy was “cool.”
And it suddenly hit me that I was born without that gene. I never wanted to be like those people. I never wanted to be anybody other than myself.