“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” Maya Angelou
“You’re weird” is one of the best tributes a person could offer me. When I graduated from a conservative seminary my advisor warned me that I had a “proclivity for the novel.” What was intended as a warning was taken one of the most satisfying compliments I have ever been given.
The Road Less Travelled
If you desire a full and exciting life then “normal” is not your route. I’ve always loved the title of M. Scott Peck’s book, The Road Less Travelled. The book is part individualism, part adhering to traditional values such as kindness and honesty, and part personal spirituality. Written in the 1980”s it remains a must read for understanding a way to negotiate life with wisdom and courage.
As I wrote in a recent post, our society seems to attempt to guide us in a position that “follows the herd.” If I lived in the time of Jesus I most surely would have been the “lost sheep” that wandered away from the herd looking for a more interesting and adventuresome road. Thank God for Jesus to go out, hunt for me and bring me back—not to the middle of the herd but rambling along in a general but loose way as an outlier.
Comfort in Your Own Skin
My friend Terry Hershey speaks frequently about “being comfortable in your own skin.” He is referring to living in such a way that resonates with your own uniqueness and peculiar proclivities. Remember, you are unique, but also remember that everyone else is unique as well. If we remember that we can embrace our similarities and enjoy our differences.
I have always most identified with the outliers while still finding a way to mix well with those in the middle of the herd. On the outside I may appear to live right in the middle of the herd: a business consultant, a minister, a department director of a corporation, a baseball coach, an executive business coach, and now the VP of an NGO drilling clean water wells for the rural population of Uganda.
However, in everyone one of those careers I seemed to find the road less travelled. I believed and behaved in ways corresponding to my own heart and not those of the herd. And you know what? I was able to discover success because I did things different from the herd by thinking and acting outside the box.
Normal or Amazing
So what about you? It is most comfortable and socially acceptable to hang out in the middle of the herd. You will find acceptance, approval, and a modicum of success. Shoot, who wouldn’t want that? The only real trouble is that it is most likely not the way you are uniquely DNA’d. I find the most intriguingly satisfied people are among the outliers—the ones that are comfortable in their own skin.
Some are called weird (yippee), some recluses, others are considered simply odd. But they are the ones that have discovered how to live an amazing life, living according to their own heart and not the whims of the social crowd.
Welcome to The Road Less Travelled
Photo courtesy of kdshutterman at istockphoto