Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a fantastic writer from Nigeria who oozes a confidence and a superb “Girl power!” aura about her. Her works reflect this and, because she is so cool, you can’t help but nod you head and go, “Yes! You are right! You are so right!” to everything she says.
Here’s the latest example of this: she recently gave a speech at the 2015 Girls Write Now awards where she gave some great advice to young women of the world. But, here’s the thing: while young women are who this is “targeted” for, I feel like this is a takeaway for all minorities—and for all who have trouble with confidence.
I think that what our society teaches young girls, and I think it’s also something that’s quite difficult for even older women and self-professed feminists to shrug off, is that idea that likability is an essential part of you, of the space you occupy in the world, that you’re supposed to twist yourself into shapes to make yourself likable, that you’re supposed to hold back sometimes, pull back, don’t quite say, don’t be too pushy, because you have to be likable.
And I say that’s bullshit.
It is bullshit! Be you—and don’t let anything or anyone stand in your way. Don’t be a pushover: be that bossy, annoying, aggravating whoever to get where you want to go. Have I gotten where I want to be? Fuck no! Why? Because I’m not as bossy and annoying and as aggravating as I should be. I am eternally shy and have been trying to break that for my entire life. Don’t be concerned with being likable: be concerned with winning, with succeeding.
You can listen to Chimamanda’s entire speech below. It’s quick and quite great.