Sunday, February 05, 2006

Curious about Uniqueness - Let’s Learn to Celebrate Ours!

When you affirm your own rightness in the universe, then you co-operate with others easily and automatically as part of your own nature. You, being yourself, help others be themselves. Because you recognize your own uniqueness you will not need to dominate others, nor cringe before them.” - Scott Reed

As we grow as unique persons, we learn to respect the uniqueness of others.” - Robert H. Schuller

If you have ever studied and/or read about marketing, selling or self promotion, you have certainly been told about USPs. Your USP is your “Unique Selling Proposition.” It is what makes you different from everyone else out there. I have noticed, however, how difficult it is for most of us to determine our uniqueness, even though I know that we are all unique.

I think that part of the problem goes back to the peer pressure we experience from babyhood on. If we are too unique and/or different from the norm, peers, parents, teachers and relatives often try to force us into the “accepted” mode. We are also told to “model” those we want to be like to be successful.

Don’t get me wrong. I have learned a huge amount from successful gurus. And, yes they have taught and lead me well. I will continue to listen to them on audios and read their books, but I feel strongly that I need to take what they teach and apply what works for me in my way. If we all try to do everything the same way, what a boring world it would be.

Back in the 70s, I returned to college for an M.F.A. in fine arts. My mediums were clay and fiber. I even opened my own art school, studio and gallery where I held classes, did my work and sold artwork. To help keep afloat financially, with the help of my children, I entered art shows and craft fairs.

My work was unique. We discovered early on that potential buyers either hated it, or loved it and bought it. Often a husband would love a piece and say he was going to get his wife to show her the work. This usually resulted in the “kiss of death.” She would hate it. It was even the same with art shows. If the work was accepted, it would usually win an award.

This did bother my children. I tried to convince them that I would rather that people felt strongly about the uniqueness of my work, than to just purchase it because it was so like everything else they were used to.

I am not suggesting that being bizarre just to be different is a good idea. I am submitting to you that you should celebrate your uniqueness and your unique gifts. Be yourself. Be your own person. Here are some quotations that I hope you will take to heart:

  • What you have, what you are - your looks, your personality, your way of thinking - is unique. No one in the world is like you. So capitalize on it.” - Jack Lord
  • If you want to be truly successful invest in yourself to get the knowledge you need to find your unique factor. When you find it and focus on it and persevere your success will blossom.” - Sydney Madwed
  • Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone's task is unique as his specific opportunity to implement it.” - Viktor E. Frankl
  • Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.” - Douglas Adams

I urge you to think hard about your uniqueness, and then pursue it - even if it is different from the way everyone else does what they do. Take to heart the next two quotations by Al Lewis and Martha Graham. It often takes guts to be your unique self, but it is worth it!

But find something that you absolutely love doing. And then get to love the way you do it. That's the uniqueness of all of us. That's it.” - Al Lewis
You are unique, and if that is not fulfilled, then something has been lost.” - Martha Graham

I would love to hear how you are unique! Send me your comments.