On Being Different (Sincerely Yours)
Growing up, we were taught the importance and benefits of being different. We were told not to swim with the tide. Standing out from the pack was considered something to aspire to.
Looking back now, I am convinced that the doctrine of being different might have been over flogged.
Millennials and Gen Zers take so much pride in being different, they forget to check if it is of any benefit to them, or serves any purpose. They are more interested in standing out, than considering on what basis they are standing out.
Even when it serves no purpose, and might even be more detrimental than beneficial to them, people just want to be different.
It is like being proud that you are the only one at the table eating your soup with a fork and knife. What purpose does your difference serve?
When a consensus is needed, you are proud to be the one person holding everyone back. Even when you are proven to be wrong, you insist that it is your opinion, and you are entitled to it.
But to what end?
If your stance is backed by facts and stats rather than sentiments and intuition, then you should fight for it.
If nothing is at stake and it will only lead to an endless cycle of argument, you might want to let it be.
Stop choosing useless issues as the hill to die on. When people realize that you are that fellow that is always different just for being different sake, whatever respect and esteem they might hold you at would be eroded.
If it is proven that you are known to bend and give way where necessary, or occasionally, when you insist on a particular point, the assumption would be that there must be a valid and reasonable reason you are insisting.
At the end of the day, being different from the crowd is not a sign of greatness or being special. It is not necessarily good or bad. Don’t take too much pride in it.
Knowing when to pipe down is a sign of wisdom and maturity.