Two of my greatest fears have always been going to jail and going into the army.
Not only because those environments are incredibly physically taxing, but also because they would mean I’m not special anymore.
I would quickly become a blade of grass and not a daisy. It’s a hard thing for me to reconcile.
In fact, it’s a hard thing for anyone to reconcile. Because the bug of specialness bites all of us at a very early age. As kids, we all have a need for recognition. We all want to be singled out and appreciated. We all want the teacher to paste that shiny star on our foreheads.
Becker’s bestselling book on the denial of death explains it as follows.
Man is literally split in two. He has an awareness of his own splendid uniqueness in that he sticks out of nature with a towering majesty, and yet he goes back into the ground a few feet to blindly and dumbly to rot and disappear forever. And so, he must really be somebody, not just a trembling accident germinated on a hothouse planet.
That’s one hell of a humility sandwich.
But it’s deeply grounding. Because for many of us, nobody ever told us that not every thought or idea we had was special. Hell, our parents probably threw a block party every time we took a dump.
That’s why as adults, when someone offers us feedback, or doesn’t recognize just how special we are, we experience it as harsh or as a sign of not being respected.
But it’s not. It’s simply the cruel bite of reality. We’re all simultaneously special and not special.
It’s like the woman who recently sat next to me in the last row of the coach cabin. She seemed upset at her seat assignment, so she began complaining to me about how she had accumulated all these millions points, but with a different airline.
When asked what the problem was with the current situation, her response said it all:
“Delta doesn’t know I’m special.”
And yet, we don’t have to do something amazing to be happy. We don’t have to be something spectacular to be safe in this world.
Who we already are is enough.
We must be brave enough to be ordinary.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Where you are asking to be treated special?
* * * *
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
It’s the world’s first, best and only product development and innovation gameshow!
Tune in and subscribe for a little execution in public.
Join our community of innovators, artists and entrepreneurs.