We’re Not So Different, You and I

Let’s face it, this is Lady Gaga’s world, we’re just living in it.

We’re a part of the hipster generation, the collective group who spend a ton of time getting ready to make it look like they didn’t spend any time getting ready. All for the sake of being “different”.

That mantra is a reflection of the way we live and work. We have a strong desire to be different. Most of us were brought up to follow a set path – go to school – get a job – start a family – retire and grow old. And while we aren’t the first generation to break away from the beaten path, we are the first to do so in droves. We’re hungry for the road lest traveled – we demand to be unique.

But today I’m not talking about the beauty in being different. I’m not going to preach the value of “being yourself” – you’ve heard that tired old advice before.

Dare to be Similar

Instead, I’m talking about the importance of being the same. The essence of celebrating how we’re similar, and instead of fixating on what makes us unique, tapping into what brings us together and how we can use that power to do great things.

I read a post recently by Jennifer Gresham that “dares us to be similar” – and I couldn’t agree more. Instead of focusing on reinventing the wheel, we should be focusing on how making things better, how to improve experiences for our clients and customers not necessarily be presenting them with a totally innovative and new idea, but taking their ideas and finely crafting them into the very best they can be.

Gresham uses the example of Seth Godin’s “Purple Cow” – which, as she states, most took at face value:

People took Godin’s Purple Cow at face value. They thought purple was the important part.

Godin urges us to be remarkable, not necessarily different.  If you can take the same old thing, polish it up, and make it shine, do that.

End the angst over being different.  Stop shucking the oysters of your talent in search of the elusive black pearl.

Amen, Jennifer. Focus on being remarkable at what you do and stop focusing on being different – because – odds are it’s been done before. There’s power in numbers and we should celebrate the things we are doing collectively, and tap into the potential of working together to do even better. The more you try to be different, the more you push yourself away, the more you close the door to a huge potential of collaboration and, in turn, innovation.

Tapping into our collective same-ness

Would we get anywhere if we all acted as sheep and walked down the same path? Of course not. But we’ve become entirely over-fixated on what makes us different, so much so, that we’ve forgotten what makes us similar.

One of my favorite things to do is to sit down with other entrepreneurs, designers, marketers, and freelancers who are walking down a similar path as myself. We discuss our challenges, our obstacles, ideas and accomplishments. It’s these conversations, learning that other people are facing similar things as myself, that sparks action and solutions. It fuels a fire that says “I am not alone” and it leads to, yep, you guessed it, new, innovative ideas.

So, you see, there is beauty in our similarities. Ironically, it’s what makes us the same that can ultimately open your eyes to what makes you different.

So, as Gresham says, “dare to be similar”, and go do something great.

(Photo c/o mrcrontab)