When I was growing up I so badly wanted to fit in. I didn’t want to stand out or be different. I sought to be just like the cool kids.
The only problem was, I wasn’t.
I was the only kid in the class with red hair, I was a decent athlete but was always one of the last kids to be picked on the court at recess and (worst of all) was told I had a learning disability and had to go to a special class each day.
My hopes of being “normal” and like everybody else were crushed.
Unfortunately, many of us are taught to not stand out or be different. We’re taught to blend in, to fit a mold, to find a decent job, buy a house, then retire and move somewhere warm.
Seth Godin speaks into this when he writes,
“Becoming more average, more quick, and more cheap is not as productive as it used to be.”
The world, the company, your boss, sometimes sadly, even the church, wants you to be average, to not stand out, to put in your time…to just be normal.
Being average or normal is not the best way to live. I believe we need to be abnormal. (Tweet that)
Let me suggest a few ways how:
1. Don’t compare yourself.
This is a dangerous trap many fall into. The thinking goes like this: “If I only I can be like so-and-so then I’d be _______” Fill in the blank.
What we’re saying is that we don’t like being us or feel we’re not good enough. But the truth is, no one is good enough. We’re all just human.
The best thing we can do is be the person God created us to be. Period.
2. Dispel the lie of wanting a ‘normal life’.
In my book that just came out, Pilgrims of the Alley,I share the story of when the great writer and Oxford don, C.S. Lewis, gave a riveting lecture at a church in 1939 on the brink of World War II.
He was addressing undergrad Oxford students who were questioning whether or not they should continue their studies in lieu of an impending draft.
“If men had postponed the search for knowledge and beauty until they were secure, the search would never have begun. We are mistaken when we compare war with ‘normal life.’ Life has never been normal.”
When we go through life thinking life is supposed to be normal, something happens that jolts us to the reality and truth that life is not normal.
We lose our job. An illness or tragedy strikes. People we trust turn on us.
We are called to face our fears. To do meaningful work. To refuse to settle. To take risks because we’ve only got one life to live.
So what do we do?
Here’s one action step:
Do something every day (even if it’s just thirty minutes) that will help you pursue your dreams and get out of the routine.
It could be:
- Starting a blog
- Start writing a book
- Send out speaking proposals to pursue public speaking
- Work toward better communication with your spouse to have the best marriage possible
- Start working toward creating a new business
It can be whatever…just do something with all your heart and don’t settle for being average or normal.
That’s your homework. Do it.
Question: What tips do you have for breaking out of the trap of a normal life?