In Ralph Waldo Emersons Self-Reliance, he states that being an individual comes from trusting yourself and being honest with the person you are inside. He describes how a person is and becomes an individual by explaining all the different parts that consist of an individual.
To be an individual you have to have trust in yourself. You need to accept the person that you truly are inside. Everyone is born possessing everything they need to become an individual; you just need to learn how to utilize the things you have. Without trust in yourself you cannot be an individual.
An individual must be a non-conformist. There is no one who can tell you what is wrong or right. What is right, are things that follow your own beliefs and values, and what is wrong are the things that are against them. If the rest of the world sees your actions as wrong, it shouldnt matter as long as what you do is true to yourself.
The actions you take should be the only things your concerned with, and not what other people think around you. Knowing this is the difference from being a great man and an inferior one because there will always be people who think they know what is best for you. It is easy to follow the trends of the world and it is just as easy to be an individual all by yourself. The difficult task to accomplish is to be an individual among the people of the world.
Ridicule and criticism from others should not affect you. Their ridiculing will come and go, but what you do and what you think will stay with you forever. They are not the ones that need to live with your decisions, so they shouldnt affect they way you make them.
Everyone expects people to be consistent. To be consistent is to be predictable, which is exactly what people want. To be different and unpredictable will give you greatness. Living your life in consistency is like not living at all. You should always say what you feel, even if that means you will sometimes contradict yourself or be misunderstood. There is nothing wrong with being misunderstood. Many of the greatest minds in history were misunderstood, such as Galileo. Being misunderstood will also add to your greatness.