Stop trying to be normal. It undermines your success and keeps you in a state of mediocrity. It’s an interesting phenomenon.
This idea of being “normal” starts to take hold in high school. There begins to form this desire to “fit in” – to be part of a group. Or at least, not be singled out as someone who “doesn’t fit in”. Along with that comes the desire to be an “insider”. This need to belong and to be an insider can be very strong for many people.
Although the challenges and insecurities from our high school days are long gone, that need to belong – to be part of the group – to be accepted – to belong – can still be very strong. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be accepted and/or wanting to fit in, but when this “wanting” turns to “needing”, it becomes detrimental to a person’s success.
This often occurs when a person has an “external frame of reference” rather than an “internal frame of reference”. Having an external frame of reference means looking outside of one’s self to determine the truth of things. Things like right vs. wrong, appropriate vs. inappropriate, and successful vs. unsuccessful. When a person has an external frame of reference, they look to others for approval. They base their self-worth and their self-image on what others think and say about them.
Conversely, having an internal frame of reference means looking within one’s self to determine the truth of things; to determine right vs. wrong, appropriate vs. inappropriate, and successful vs. unsuccessful. When a person has an internal frame of reference, they don’t look to others for approval. I’m not saying recognition and acknowledgment aren’t meaningful to someone with an internal frame of reference. I’m simply saying that they aren’t the driving forces for their actions. Someone with an internal frame of reference bases their self-worth and their self-confidence on what they know to be true about themselves.
Which brings us back to the idea of being “normal”. Most people consider themselves to be “normal” and consequently most groups of people consider themselves to be “normal”. Therefore, in order to remain part of the group, one needs to remain “normal”.
And being “normal” – by definition – means being “average”. Consequently, many people – in an attempt to fit in and belong – spend their lives striving to be average. Sometimes they do it consciously and sometimes they do it unconsciously. Sometimes it’s done by intent and sometimes inadvertently. But it happens nonetheless…
A person is striving to be average (or “normal”) when they work hard to meet a quota rather than exceed it. A person is striving to be average when they purposely minimize themselves and their dreams so that their associates, family and/or friends don’t belittle them for dreaming big. A person strives to be average by “playing it safe” – not in terms of taking physical or financial risks, but in terms of taking the risks inherent in hoping for, dreaming of, and working towards the things that would set you apart from the others.
It takes courage to break away from “normal”; to separate oneself from the crowd. You risk not fitting in and not being accepted by the group of people you’ve been a part of. You risk feeling embarrassed if you don’t achieve your goals when you said you would. You risk being disappointed and frustrated.
But when you reach your goals – when you realize your dreams – you will know that you are not “normal”. You will not be average. And interestingly enough, you will find that you’ve become part of a new, different group. You will be part of a group that is not “normal”. You will be part of a group that knows that each member is not “average”.
Mark Twain once said, “Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
The decision to separate yourself from the crowd comes from a within. It arises from a desire to realize one’s full potential and a resolve to take responsibility for one’s future. It doesn’t matter what others say or do or think. None of them pay your bills. None of them have your dreams.
Sometimes it’s a lonely path. Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes it’s frustrating. But one thing is true for sure. It’s always worthwhile.
I know what it’s like to try to fit in. I know what it’s like to try to be normal. I used to have an external frame of reference.
But I changed. I stopped trying to fit in. I stopped trying to be average and I started striving for excellence. I started setting bigger and bigger dreams and goals. I started associating with other successful people. I don’t fit in very well with people who are “normal”. I never have. But I’ve come to realize that I fit in with people who are extraordinary.
So stop trying to be normal. Come and join me instead…