When We are All Attempting to Differentiate Ourselves, Why Don’t We Like to be Different?

We are each busy in our own way, consciously or not so much, proving to ourselves and our spheres that we are relevant and valuable – making a contribution that matters.

Back in January, I wrote a post called Different.  With all of the current angst, the idea of people being ‘different’ is topical; for all ages, creeds, and ethnicities.  Different is the essence of diversity and it doesn’t stop with the color of our skin, hair and eyes.  Here is a pertinent excerpt from the earlier post:

“In our eternal human quest to simplify, we usually allow only two choices for something new – Right or Wrong.  I propose a third choice which should be prominent – Different.  Putting something new in this area for a time allows for reflection, consideration, exploration.  It allows for adjustment.

This is kind of like driving.  Most of us seem to have the idea that we must have our foot on either the brake or the gas (only 2 choices).  When I was teaching my sons how to drive, I talked to them about coasting as a viable option.  It gives you time to think before coming to a decision – therefore hopefully making your decision stronger.  Of course, this is an option and should not be used in an emergency, say when the car in front of you suddenly stops.  But if you are paying attention, you have time to think if you allow your car to coast toward potential issues.

Different is similar to coasting.  It is a safe place to try out a new idea, theory, concept without immediately categorizing it.

Putting something unfamiliar in the Different, or wait and see, category gives you time to look it over – both actively and passively.  Give it a test drive, see how it looks on a shelf in your house, mention it in casual conversation.  Unfamiliar or new isn’t bad, it’s just different.”

In January I was referring more to events and things, today I am focusing on people.  I have had the pleasure to meet people from varied backgrounds in my life and I am the richer for it.  We like to be comfortable, and we are never more comfortable than when we are insulated in a group of people just like ourselves.  Here is the thing that I have learned as I go about meeting people, we have more similarities than differences once we get to know each other.


“Since the majority of me

Rejects the majority of you,

Debating ends forthwith, and we


~Philip Larkin

When we see distaste of diversity called out like this, we want to find a way to be more inclusive.   Our better selves want a quotation like this to be representative of our actions:

“He who is different from me does not impoverish me – he enriches me. Our unity is constituted in something higher than ourselves – in Man… For no man seeks to hear his own echo, or to find his reflection in the glass.”

~Antoine De Saint-Exupery

Flight to Arras (Pilote De Guerre), 1942

© 2013 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations


Filed under Personal Growth, Work Life

4 responses to “When We are All Attempting to Differentiate Ourselves, Why Don’t We Like to be Different?

  1. Great post, I really like the way you write…and think.

  2. Pingback: Being an Introvert with Extroverted Tendencies | Practical Business

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s