I do not think “different” is enough. In other words, different is not my goal.
I have to keep on reminding myself that “being different” is not enough (for me).
On one hand, I believe society breeds conformity. We are designed to be the same. The collective human unconscious dictates how we think, how we feel and what we want.
We are the prey of big corporations. We are manipulated for profit. It is capitalism. It is healthy for innovation. But it is still reality. Amazon knows this. Facebook knows this. Google knows this. Colleges know this. The government knows this.
We are all the same. And we all fit in. That is how advertising works and is a trillion dollar industry.
On the other hand, we are all different and unique. We are all special and we all have unique thoughts. Our individual collection of experiences are one of a kind. Much like a snowflake, we are one of a kind.
Or so we think.
We celebrate being different.
To be an outlier, society tells us we “must be different.” To make tons of money, have tons of fun, be really good looking, etc. you must be different.
As much as society rewards “differences,” I do not think being different is quite enough.
We unfairly incentivize people to aim to be different. I do not think that is the answer. I do not think we create more creatives and innovation by telling people to be different than the rest of the world.
What and who am I thinking of when I write this?
The people who aim to be different just for the sake of being different. The people who drop out of school just to drop out of school. The people who start companies just for the sake of starting companies.
I am not thinking of a particular person, but rather a sect of society that I recognize. I think it is a growing movement actually – to aim to be an outside of the box thinker.
Surely I have fit into this “different for the sake of different category” multiple times in my life. I do not pretend, or hope to pretend that I am separate from this.
But honestly…I cannot believe different is enough. Different is not the goal for me. Different cannot be the “differentiator.”
Being different is not what I strive for. I think what I strive for is just to be myself. And if myself is different than society’s constructs – then let that be different. But if the goal in itself is to be unique, I think that the outcome is often normal. The outcome is mundane.
Striving for weird does not breed weird. Striving for weird creates “not weird.”