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.