If someone asks me the oldest example of "Thinking Differently" leading to success, I would say its Lord Buddha. Probably no example can surpass the impact his different thinking actually had on the world map.
Had this person not decided to take a different course in life, an entire religion which has influenced billions of people over several hundred years, would not have taken birth. He left his royal lineage to understand what the mystery of life was all about.
Can we ever gauge the quantum of value He created?