“It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are.”
No one is normal.
Normal is just a theory, an idea. It does not exist.
So why do we work so hard to “fit in?”
We fear being seen as different or unusual. We don’t want to experience scorn or derision. The problem is that the scorn and derision that we fear is also driven by… fear. It’s a nasty and destructive cycle.
A lot of people talk about how they value of being different, but their actions betray their core beliefs. We have all experienced seasons, sometimes lifetimes, of people trying to force us to “fit in.”
It is not easy being different. Some environments and groups always see deviation from their expectations as dangerous and wrong, so they move against you hard.
But it’s more dangerous to stay ordinary.
That’s what management guru Tom Peters says. “The White Collar revolution will wipe out indistinct workers and reward the daylights out of those with True Distinction.” He is saying that the only wise move is to embrace what is distinct about you. Highlight those things about you that are singular, different, extraordinary and unique.
“I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”
Do you believe this?
We are going to explore deeper in the next post, but for today, I want to talk about what makes you different from most people.
And I want to start with some fun stuff.
Here is part of my list:
- I am 5′ 5″. I refer to it as being aggressively short. I accentuate this feature with my love of Chuck Taylors.
- I am an enormous music geek, more than anyone else I know. I have owned over 10,000 different titles in all media for the past 36 years.
- I was born on an Air Force Base, while my dad was on active duty. Bergstrom AFB , in Austin Texas.
- My college buddy Rex Hackler and I started the trend of two-man bands – guitar and drums, like the White Stripes and the Black Keys. I was the drummer who couldn’t play drums. We called ourselves the Rex Pistols.
- I can take you to the exact geographical point in the road where I knew I would marry my wife. It’s a sweet story, and too long to go into here.
- I’ve only been good at two of my many jobs. Being a pastor and being a bartender. Draw your own conclusions. (I looked for statistics on the number of American who serve as pastors. Or serve as bartenders. Found no useful information. But the number of us who have done both is miniscule.)
- I read more than 50 books a year. Most people aren’t even close to this number. The national average is four. 27% don’t read even one book.
- I was the Norseman King my senior year in high school. I won the crown when the late actor Dudley Moore selected my Senior photo out of all the men in my class as the “most photogenic.” (I could not make this up.)
- I cannot sleep if the sheets are not straightened out. I have caused my wife Jody untold frustration with this idiosyncrasy over our 20 year marriage.
- I have two daughters. As a result, I am quite skilled at putting in ponytails.
What about you? What makes you rare and distinctive? Don’t be shy, shout it out in the comments and share with us.