“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”~Maya Angelou
Many years ago, in my somewhat rebellious college years, I had a button that read, “Why be normal?” I loved it. I saw it as my antiestablishment statement. My push against authority. My declaration to be different.
I lost that button. I wish I still had it. Because although I no longer view life as a battle to be waged, and I no longer need to find ways to stand out (well, not always), I still believe, as Maya Angelou does, that “normal” can get in the way. It can get in the way of amazing.
Because when we strive to fit in, and to do things as everyone else does them, we run the risk of losing our unique perspective. And contribution. Each of us has distinct and extraordinary points of view, input, experience, strengths, and gifts to offer the world. When we try to be like everyone else, those can get lost.
If you’re always trying to be normal, you may not realize what you have to offer. If you’re always trying to be normal, you may miss the less-than-normal people surrounding you, who may have a great deal to offer you. If you’re always trying to be normal, you run the risk of not achieving what you could achieve – as an individual, for your organization, for your community and maybe even for the world. You run the risk of not being as amazing as you could be. As a leader. As a person.
Great works of art often come from those who dare to be – and see the world – differently. Great achievements in science, business – you name it – often come from those who dare to step outside the boundaries. Who dare to view things from an original angle. Who dare to challenge the status quo and question the way things are “always done.”
I no longer believe that one should strive to never be normal. But I will most likely always believe that right outside the realms of normalness – on the very edges and fringes – lies an amazing world. And the chance to be amazing.
How do you need to be less normal? How can you be more amazing?
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Not sure I agree with defining “normal” as somehow limiting or undesirable. What is normal for me may be something completely outrageous for you. I would say that you should not strive to be “average” or not to be adventurous or controversial, which, for me, implies trying to be like everyone else. Each of us is unique. I guess there are things that are considered “normal” which are desirable and things which are considered normal which limit us all. For me, the thought is well-taken, but the semantics are not.
Thank you Tom for your thoughts and clarity around semantics. I do agree with you. By not being normal I mean I wish we can all be our unique selves, and be happy being our unique selves. I appreciate your adding to this conversation.