Why You Don’t Have to Try to Be Unique

This is a guest post from Josh Monk

As a musician and photographer, I often encounter people who are trying too hard to be different or unique. In these creative fields especially, people often feel the need to stand out from the crowd in order to be successful. They follow the philosophy that their audience will equate uniqueness with talent, and attempt to adjust how people perceive them accordingly. This is a very misguided way of looking at things. By making a special effort to be unique or different, what these people are actually saying to their audience is “don’t look at the real me.”

Everybody on the planet – the whole 7 billion of us – is unique already, without even trying. Each one of us has a different set of mannerisms, facial expressions, patterns of speech, outward physical appearance, choice of clothing – even the way we choose to style our hair makes us different from the next person. And when people are faced with similar problems, they tackle them in very different ways. I could go on. Simply put, people are interesting just because they’re people.

So why do we find it so hard to just accept this fact and embrace our own individuality? Unfortunately, people have a tendency to think their lives are less interesting than other people’s. It’s human nature. A point that is so often forgotten, though, is that by simply embracing the fact that you are unique without even trying, you are allowing people to see you for who you are. However you decide to present yourself, people are far more likely to enjoy your company and respect your opinion if they can see that you are not putting on a façade.

There is certainly a place for people who innovate or push the envelope, (Lady Gaga, for example, has built an entire career on her unique brand of strangeness), but many people don’t see that they can do that by simply being themselves. The next time you find yourself putting on an act for a certain group of people, stop, take a breath, and just be yourself. It’s far less work!

From the film Life of Brian: “You’re all different.” “I’m not.”

Josh Monk is a writer at DailyPath.com.

Just who are you anyway?

What do you rely on for your happiness?

Do you make your own happiness? Or do you wait for it to come to you?

Do you create your own future? Or do you rely on tarot readings an fortune tellers?

Do you blaze your own path? Or do you follow people around you?

Do you work alone? Or do you prefer to run with the crowd?

These are not right and wrong answer questions. These are questions about who you are. Knowing who you are is important for making decisions in your life.

No matter how much you might fall in love with somebody because you share interests or because you like how they look or talk or smell, if you want to build a lifetime together, the person had better be compatible at a much more fundamental level.

Your next job might seem like fun because of the subject matter. Or the pay. Or because of location, or the company’s reputation. But if your position is not compatible with your personality, you will neither excel at you job nor enjoy it very much. It is one of the great urban legends that if somebody is a good vice president, they should be promoted to president. It takes a totally different personality to excel at being number one than at being number two.

You don’t have to be psychic to find your ideal place in the world. But you do have to know yourself.

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