Dare To Be Uncommon


I love this quote by Albert Einstein that says, "The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before." I couldn't agree more. It's so easy to be average, to take the wide and crowded path. We all want to be liked and appreciated. We strive to be like everyone else because of the desperation that we often have to fit in. We conform to the mold society creates for us because we fear what might happen if we gravitate towards the uncommon; the loss that might come from being different. And the more we prioritize being liked over doing what our heart calls for, the more we deviate from the greatness we carry within. 

So what do we do? We stay on the safe path to mediocrity so we don't lose friends or offend anybody. We don't stretch ourselves or go above and beyond because we want the approval of others – we desperately want those around us to like us and accept us. Unfortunately, that is sometimes not possible. And if you really want to become the best version of yourself, you can guarantee that a few people will be displeased with your decision. Many may be offended that you dare to be uncommon but remember you are not here to please anyone. You are here to live your best life and to leave an impact in your community. Moreover, some losses in life are necessary as a tree cannot be fruitful season after season if it is not regularly pruned.

Anytime I am tempted to be common, I remember these words by Thomas Paine: "I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon — if I can. I seek opportunity — not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act for myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations, and to face the world boldly and say, this I have done." Can you dare to be uncommon? Mark Twain said, "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect." Have you stopped to reflect lately to see what side you are on? Conforming to the common may be acceptable by the majority but it stifles creativity and growth. You will never be everything you were designed to become if you focus on being common.

I have to believe that deep down we all think about doing something that sets up apart from others. The desire to be uncommon stems from wanting more from life and knowing deep down in the recesses of one's mind that there is more to life than one has experienced. To be uncommon will require standing apart, separating yourself from the pack when the world demands that you conform to what is popular. The downside with remaining common is that people may like you but think about what you are giving up to earn their approval. As you stay on the common highway, you will have no choice but to minimize or completely let go of your dreams, ideas, your gifts and talents - the very things given to you to make you stand out. To be common means to live beneath one's potential; to barely scratch the surface of what one is capable of accomplishing.

The common life is easy. It is the path of least resistance. The drive to conform and live the common life is so strong that it will require a sizeable amount of courage to make the decision to take a different route. It will require losing the fear that comes with having to stand alone. Hans F. Hansen said, "It takes nothing to join the crowd. It takes everything to stand alone." And when you decide to stand alone, don't be surprised if you get laughed at, ridiculed or mocked. 

When you dare to be uncommon, it means you are okay with being different. You are ready to accept failure because you know that it's perfectly fine to fail your way to success. You understand that no-one is great at anything the first time. Setting oneself apart in any endeavor requires persistence, tenacity and commitment. Being liked by others takes a back seat to your important mission and purpose. You start to understand that people who love you, love you and those who don't more than likely won't and that's just fine with you. 

To be uncommon means taking charge of your own life, doing those things that are unusual - so unusual that they scare the living daylights out of you. It means using what you have to increase the brightness in an otherwise dark and negative world. It means being an outlier in order to align yourself with your higher and best self. Dare to be uncommon?

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