There are essentially two opposing forces within us. A part of us wants to be unique and stand out. There is this other part of us that wants to blend in. To be a part of a community. In other words, we want to be normal enough to be accepted by society. Man is a social being after all, and being a part of society is high on our list of priorities as an individual.
We spend our lives trying to balance an equation in our own ways. How do we appear normal but also different? How can we be a part of a community but still be memorable? In this internal conflict, we often forget the most important thing - ourselves.
We often lose our identity and we forget to express ourselves. We are all different as individuals and when we go out of our way to be normal we diminish our glow a little. We bury our authentic selves deeper and become someone we are not. This process is not sudden. It happens over time. And one fine day we all get up and look in the mirror unable to recognize ourselves. We wonder how we became who we are and what was that one event that led us here. But the reality is, that we got here over time. Every small decision we took to be acceptable was actually suppressing our real selves. We got here not in one fell swoop but in million small steps, all taken so we are normal.
In our quest to be accepted by society, we have glorified being normal. We are so worried about what "they" will think that in the process we have suffered years of discontent and disconnection with ourselves. Many have stayed in marriages they are not happy in, jobs they dislike, and pretended to be who they are not only because they were afraid of being judged.
This phenomenon is so prevalent that Apple launched an ad campaign based on it. And what's more, they were actually judged for making a campaign that touched such a sensitive issue.
Say what you will about the ad itself, but what they are saying in the ad is absolutely true. Haven't the ones who've changed the world been those who took that chance? Took the chance to be judged or took that risk to stand out and think differently? Isn't it absolutely necessary to leave the ordinary and normalcy behind for something extraordinary?
Being normal is vastly overrated. Period. And here is why:
The definition of normal is changing.
When we can't even agree on one definition of normal and it is completely subjective, then how can being normal be something we strive for as individuals? Shouldn't we give up trying to be normal when the definition of normal itself is constantly changing and ever-evolving? How can we ever keep up with something so vague and fluid in the first place?
Normal prevents us from extraordinary
In other words, normal prevents us from doing anything out of the ordinary or meaningful in life. As humans, we are all extraordinary. We are born to be different and make a difference in the world we live in. Our lives have a purpose and meaning that we all want to accomplish.
We love what Maya Angelou had to say about this. We truly are amazing in all our glory. All those parts and sides of ours that we've spent years avoiding or hiding are the parts that make us who we are. They are the parts that make us extraordinary. And in the words of Maya Angelou - they make us amazing.