We all have a part of us that just does not seem to fit in with the rest of society. For some of us this part of our personality is big, for others it is comparatively small. Whatever the case, there is great value in that personal component that is a bit different than the rest of humanity.
It is this individuality that enables us to see the world from a different perspective than everyone else. It is this uniqueness that can serve as a seed corn of creativity. Lamentably, during a developmentally critical time, uniqueness is not often valued. As children, it is unfortunate that being different often serves as a prescription for being made fun of.
Insecurity breeds a need to cling to the status quo, to fit in, to conform. With children, who are in the process of trying to figure out who they are, often the kid who is most different is the one who gets made fun of with the greatest frequency and intensity. Not only is this type of inhumane treatment abominable on its face, it also serves to damper the spirit of those daring to be different.
Human beings who have dared to be different have often turned out to be highly creative souls who were behind some of society’s greatest innovations and inventions. To be human is to be different. We are not robots. We are not insects.
I am not suggesting being different for the sake of difference. I do not laud being a nonconformist simply for the sake of standing out from the crowd, to do so lacks substance. However, I do believe deeply in that part of us that makes us unique, that part of us that bestows upon us our individual identity, as distinct as our fingerprints or DNA.
Groups of people, immersed and enmeshed in gossip, often seem to enjoy pointing out that someone is weird. Imagine folks at a party, drinking, smoking and carrying on. And then there is one individual who does not smoke and does not drink. Do you figure his fellow partygoers will hold him up as an example to aspire to or in their time alone together remark on how weird he is?
Note to self: Embrace your inner weirdo. Note to others: Be who you truly are. Note to all: Individuality plays a key role in creativity. Remember, people often reject what is different out of their own insecurities. Progress comes from testing and embracing innovation. Innovation comes from looking at things differently.
Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
*Authors note: You might see this column pop up online in a newspaper, under the name Both Sides. I am publishing this column here first at CYInterview.com. For a bunch of years, I have been writing newspaper columns. Since my columns have received a good response on CYInterview, I thought I would share it with you. Hope you enjoy.
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