Let’s start with some facts. You were born because of that 1 sperm amongst 400 trillion others who win the race to hit the egg first. So were your parents, so were your grandparents, so were your great grandparents, so were your great^great(leading to infinity) parents.
You guys, even if you want to, you can’t pretend to not be unique. You are. There is no question about it. I mean, it’s more likely that you’d be struck by lightning than there being someone else like you.
The challenges you faced, the situations you grew up in, the skills you possess, the features you imbibed, the circumstances you are surrounded with, the difficulties that are staring at you, the information you fed, the experiences you felt—if you take the whole package, then you are nowhere nearly the same as anyone else.
We all are radically unique in our own beautiful way, but still, more often than not, we are pestered by silly complexes and count ourselves short every now and then. Let’s change that, shall we?
Unique is neither better nor worse
People live in either or. They either think they are far superior to others just because they are unique or they think they don’t even deserve to breathe the same air as others because they have totally trashed their own worth.
The truth of the matter is that you are neither better than someone nor worse. You are better than someone in some of the things and worse than someone in some of the things. And this reality isn’t gonna change anytime soon, which is absolutely fine.
When you focus on the things you are worse at, you will act all irritated and grumbled and you’d curse your fate and destiny. Consequently, when you focus on the things that you are better at, you’d naturally feel better and would thank your destiny and fate.
Real intelligence isn’t about drooling on either side of it but instead looking at both sides, accepting it, becoming neutral with it, and forgetting about it altogether.
You are you. Nobody can beat you at being you. And neither can you beat anyone in being someone you are not. So, why even bother?
Don’t copy others
There’s a famous quote that I am about to paraphrase, “Live your life today as most people won’t so that you can live the rest of your life as most people can’t.”
Think about it. Everything that happens in this world is because of a cause. If the cause is the same, the results are gonna be the same.
So, if you are only doing what the rest of the world is doing, you are only gonna get what the rest of the world is gonna get. It’s no rocket science but still, so many people would keep on acting the way others are acting even after realizing this truth.
Don’t insult yourself by botching down what you were supposed to do by following someone else’s lead all the time. Have the balls to carve your own way and leave a trail for the world to follow.
This is of course, only for those who wanna live a life unlike how everyone’s living currently. Now, I am not saying what’s right or wrong, or what you should be doing. I am simply illuminating the fact that to do something different, something different needs to be done.
Smart Work is about Being Unique
Smart work is all about achieving maximum results with minimum effort. And in order to be able to pull it off, you have to be yourself.
What do you think takes more energy? When you try to copy others or when you are simply being yourself?
You don’t have to try to be yourself. And if you have to try, you are not being yourself.
So essentially, smart work is about being yourself as you are gonna reserve much more energy being you. You’d probably fail really badly when you undermine yourself and imitate others.
You are gonna burn off much more energy, time, and possibly money, and still won’t get the same results imitating others as you’d have got just by improving yourself.
I understand totally well that during desperate times, we think that the only way out is to just mimic someone else who already figured it out, and it might even seem to work like a charm from time to time. But in the long term, trust me, if you keep going down this rabbit hole, you are gonna lose that special light in you, that made you, you.
Being Unique doesn’t mean being a Fool
Now, a very interesting thing to take note of is that, just because you are being preached to be unique and not to copy others, it doesn’t mean you stop learning from others.
Someone who has already walked down your path or a similar path as yours can teach you a lot of things about the potential booby traps to look out for and can guide you to find the treasure sooner.
The problem arises when people choose an extreme.
They either go full denial mode wherein under the guise of being unique and special they stop listening to anyone and anything and just march right ahead into a pitfall.
Or they totally lose their individuality and become totally dependent on others for every damn decision of their life.
Both the paths are completely stupid and naive to walk upon.
I am a firm believer in the philosophy “Listen to everyone, follow no one.” When it says ‘listen’, it doesn’t just mean you listen from one ear and spew it out from another. It means patiently and actively listening to others without letting your own biases and beliefs interfere and then deciding for yourself whether you should act on it or not.
If you are traveling in a forest, all by yourself, then it’s probably not a bad idea to ask a guide who thoroughly knows the ins and outs of the forest for the right direction. You know, you might save your narcissistic ass from being eaten alive by a famished lion.
Learn from the Mistakes of others
You might have heard of the phrase “A fool doesn’t learn from his mistakes, a smart person learns from his mistakes, and a wise person learns from the mistakes of others.”
So, you see, part of being yourself also implies working upon yourself to keep on improving. And the right way to improve yourself involves learning from the mistakes of other people. You are gonna save a ton of time and energy to do the same task faster and better if you are open to learning from others.
You see, there’s a very subtle line between being unique and learning from others and losing your individualism and just imitating others.
If you have skills A,B,C and someone else has skills D,E,F, then being unique and learning would imply improving and modifying the skills you currently possess by acutely observing others and finding holes to fill in your current system.
On the other hand, imitating others would be when you straightaway drop your A,B,C and start copying D,E,F just because it looks cooler and more hip.
Celebrate the Uniqueness
One of the many signs of a wise and smart person is his ability to entertain multiple thoughts at the same time without necessarily acting on any of them.
When you accept that you are unique and that you have some distinct qualities in you, you also start observing and appreciating the unique and distinctive nature of others without necessarily counting yourself short.
The more wide array of data sets you are capable of accommodating, the more humble and accepting and wise you become. You simply have a bigger basket of information to act upon.
People who frown upon the distinctiveness of others often are like the frogs of the well. They just have no idea how insanely humongous the ocean is. Such people are gonna live a very compacted life who’d always be quick to judge.
Not the ideal traits to live a happy and peaceful life.
Without uniqueness, Life will be boring
Think about it, what would the world look like if we all were the exact same? That’s right, it wouldn’t be anywhere nearly as exciting and enthralling as it is today.
We need all kinds of people with all kinds of special and different abilities to run the world smoothly.
The positives need the negatives, the optimists need the pessimists, the rich need the poor, the pretty need the not so pretty, the employer needs the employee. You get the idea right?
How boring your life will get if everyone you meet is the exact replica of you? There would be no surprises, no thrills, no fun banter, no unexpected moments that make us go WTF. Thank God that’s not the case.
Another interesting thing that caught my attention is that people who are insecure and keep on second-guessing themselves all the damn time are more likely to overlook the unique qualities of others as every time they look at someone’s distinctive feature, it’s gonna remind them of how incomplete they are or how much they are lacking themselves. So, they’d rather stay ignorant.
What does it mean to be unique?
Many people are kinda confused about this. When I or anyone else talk about things like “You are unique” and shit, most people misinterpret it as having one special skill that can make them overpower the entire world.
And people who don’t believe in this notion that “everyone is unique” counter this argument by saying that if everyone is unique why they are not so special or rich or successful.
Well, the thing is that you are not gonna have that one special skill or a couple of skills that will make you special. What’s actually gonna make you unique is the entire package you are.
Consider a matrix, wherein on one axis you list all the possible qualities one can possess in this life, and on the other axis you list all of the 8B people of the world. And if you were to tick mark the qualities a person possesses, you would come to the conclusion that no two people on this planet would have the same set of qualities.
And that’s what makes all of us different and unique. There isn’t one single skill that you can possess that alone will make you unique.
There are a ton of designers. But being a designer who understands the market well, is technology savvy, is a marketing whiz, can see where the future is going, understand what the user wants, and knows how to inspire ordinary people to achieve extraordinary feats, then all of that combined is what makes Steve Jobs unique.
There simply won’t be another Steve Jobs, just like there won’t be another you. The thing to understand is that, even though we are all unique, it doesn’t mean we’d all be famous and special, though we can be.
You just need to figure out what permutation and combination of skills and qualities you have or can possess that will help the world make a better place. Because trust me, no one can beat you at being you.
We all are unique and still the same
Now hear me out before you go full ballistic and start calling me a double-faced piece of shit.
Just like every two snowflakes are different microscopically, fundamentally they are just snowflakes.
Or take it this way, consider the universe an infinite ocean, and every human is a wave. So, it won’t be wrong to say that each and every wave is different and unique in itself, but fundamentally, we are all the water and there is no difference at the core level.
This is a great way to always stay humble and still be able to maintain a sense of individuality. Because honestly, things go haywire when people start living a disbalanced life.
Tyler Durden also said, “You are the same organic decaying matter as everyone else.”
Don’t misunderstand me, I am not trying to confuse you or anything, I am simply presenting you multiple viewpoints of the same topic. Think of it as your brain exercise, and take it as a brainstorming session.
Tyler is talking about the fundamental thing. The fact that we are all just flesh and bones and blood and are gonna die one fine day. Nothing wrong with that, it’s true. But it’s not the complete truth. And that’s for you to think about, I have spoken enough.
Quotes on Uniqueness
Here are some famous quotes to help you realize why you should celebrate uniqueness.
Osho said, “Nobody is superior, nobody is inferior, but nobody is equal either. People are just unique. Incomparable. You are you, I am I.”
Look at the brilliant choices of words. You are neither better, nor worse. But still, that doesn’t make you equal or the same as others. One just needs to understand that everyone is running their own goddamn race. There are no competitors, though it may look like so, in reality, there aren’t.
Understand the essence of this notion and acknowledge it and act like it.
Mandy Hale voiced her opinion, “Stop apologizing for who you are. You earned your scars. You survived your defeats. You triumphed over your enemies. OWN IT.”
It’d probably be the biggest and the meanest insult to yourself if you decide to undermine your flaws and count yourself short. Whatever you went through in life, be it positive or negative, happy or sad, success or failure, victory or defeat—they have all played a very crucial role in helping you become what you are today.
Don’t diss it. Own it. In fact, don’t just own it for the sake of owning it, be proud of it. Feel grateful for whatever hands life dealt you with.
Here’s another one (can’t find the source), “Being the best is great. I am number one. But being unique is greater, I am the only one.”
In a world where everyone is blindly running to grab the number 1 spot, why not change the paradigm and strive to become the only one?
And it’s actually simpler than you think. Because like I said before, no two people will have the exact same set of values and skills, and if you are aware enough of the genie you embody and learn to leverage it to its fullest, you practically become Unstoppable.
Be like a river
A flowing river is the best example of being unique at each and every different turn, through every ups and downs. The river never stops and it keeps on flowing come what may.
And that’s what makes it astoundingly unique. Most people get stuck in life. If they get something they want, they get stuck as they get complacent and they get stuck if they don’t get what they want because now they feel like it’s the end of their life.
Always remember that whatever is alive is flexible and growing, and whatever is dead is stuck and rigid. So just keep flowing in the river of life and keep flaunting your uniqueness to the world. The river doesn’t look back and second doubt its nature of the flow. It’s too busy being awesome and unique, and so should you.
“Those who think “But I don’t have anything unique in me”, I’d say, “You just haven’t looked deep enough.”