Consider this challenge. Take a moment to think of key words that you would use to describe yourself. Try to focus in on ideas that express what makes you unique… unlike any other.
It may take you more than a few moments to really give this task the attention it deserves, but I assure you the exercise is a healthy one.
Identifying your unique traits, those things which speak to who you really are, is an essential step toward making significant contributions to society. There are very real pressures to mimic that which has already been successful. If it isn’t a pressure we place on ourselves then it comes from an outside source – a parent, a boss or maybe a spouse. No matter what the source , it is altogether dangerous.
Failure to embrace uniqueness robs the world of contributions that cannot be made by another.
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I Am Unique
I felt this pressure during my senior year of high school. I decided that I was not going to attend college. Friends and teachers who tried to convince me otherwise meant well but I was determined that college was not something I was built to endure.
The theory that a college degree is a necessity, though honorable, is founded in cultural ignorance. If we really stopped to examine the phenomenon of a college degree, we would find that its power is not in the level of education one achieves . The power is the association that a college degree equals a qualified worker. In other words, to be a qualified worker it is assumed you must have a college degree. This speaks to the danger that I mentioned above.
I realized that I was unique and that college was not an institution designed to teach a student like me , but would actually hold me back from achieving all that I could . At its worse, it could have unnaturally altered the very DNA of my uniqueness, leading me into a different career path altogether. While right for some, it was not right for me. This realization was the beginning of my understanding that I am truly unlike any other.
You Are Unique
I fear that a fascination with celebrity has polarized our culture into believing that there are those who are unique and those who are not. There are those who are beautiful and those who are not. There are those who are gifted and those who are not. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
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People are gifted far beyond what shows up in a pop culture celebrity. Go to a farmers’ market and witness the uniqueness of all the products being sold. Get past the dreadlocks and beards and you’ll find people are capable of incredible accomplishments.
You are no different. You have the ability to influence others and impact lives. It takes courage to pass on college. It takes courage to present a new idea. It is dangerous to be vulnerable with another person… but if it’s true to who you are, it will feel as natural as breathing.
It Is More Difficult to Be Someone Else
I won’t deny it; there are some businesses that won’t even look at my resume because it doesn’t have a college degree attached. As a matter of fact, I found a job listing for a volunteer social media intern at a small non-profit that listed a college degree as a requirement. The truth is, I don’t want to work in an environment where being myself is frowned upon. Swimming upstream against the current is hard work, especially when I know that who I am is more than enough.
As you consider what character traits make you unique, I would invite you to begin laying out how you can lean into those traits. If you have a knack for storytelling, how can you lean into that trait? If you are good at helping other women look their best through accessorizing, how can you lean into that ability.
Start Living Uniquely
This is a call to start making a real contribution to society. Don’t pretend that all you are is what your current job tells you you are. Moreover, don’t believe your worth is what your paycheck says.
You are unique. Believe it and live it!
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