When we lose the right to be different, we lose the privilege to be free. Charles Hughes
In differentiation, not in uniformity, lies the path of progress. – Louis D. Brandeis
The hardest struggle of all is to be something different from what the average man is. Charles Schwab.
If we want to be accepted or fit in, being different is not something we desire. If we have physical defects, are tall or short, skinny or overweight; we think of our differences in negative terms and wish we were like everyone else. Our self-esteem and self-concept is influenced by feelings of being undesirably different or inadequate.
The “flip side” to this is that being different can be a good thing! We are unique and “one of a kind” in a myriad of ways. Our personality, intelligence, beliefs, goals, dreams and desires are things that differentiate us in less noticeable ways. Let us suppose the question: To Be Different Or Not To Be Different? If you want to be like others, then being different is undesirable. On the contrary, if you want to distinguish yourself, or differentiate yourself, then being different is mostly a good thing.
Being “average” means we are mostly indistinguishable from others. It implies there is a small percentage that is “more” than we are and a small percentage that is “less” than we are depending upon what is being considered. The majority or the average are statistically in the middle. There are not very many above or below (better or worse) than those considered to be normal or the average.
Those that excel are accomplished; rising above average and purposely and knowingly differentiate themselves from others. They march to different drummers. In the work place, those differentiating themselves in desirable ways tend to get promoted; those that do so in undesirable ways usually get fired or demoted. In the field of sports, those stand outing in positive ways are the stars; those that do not are closer to average and spend time on the bench. In sales, those distinguishing themselves in “good ways” are successful, those that do not seek other careers. There are endless comparisons to make.
If we are not satisfied with being “average”, we have to “differentiate” ourselves from our peer groups in good, positive, noticeable, and desirable ways. We have to move from the “average” to the “above average”. When it comes to successful living, personal growth and development, then being average is mostly undesirable. The average; the norm; the non-different are complacent and well-entrenched in their comfort zones. We will not find that “difference” we are looking for until we venture out and leave the “average” behind. Dare to be different.
Challenge: In order to differentiate yourself, make yourself different. This means continuously enlarging your comfort zone. Its means stepping forward; becoming more productive, creative and noticeably unique. Commit to differentiating yourself in good and positive ways. Create a new image and commit to making some necessary changes. Become a work in progress and every day make incremental progress toward becoming a better you.
Wisdom: Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary. Cecil Beaton
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, Proverbs 3:5
To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge, and happiness. Ecclesiastes 2:26
God did not make us to fail or to live in fear and desperation. We are made in his image and have some of Him in us. We have what it takes to live successfully and triumphantly. If we try to do it totally on our own we will never get there. We may have some success and may be able to differentiate ourselves in some desirable ways. The truth is until we let go and let God equip us with his love, strength and goodness; we will always fall short.
Prayer: Help me to become that which You designed and created me to be. Help me to be wonderfully different.