So You Wanna Be Different? But What's So Wrong With Dull

Admit it, you and I wanna be different. At all costs, so that we will stand out from the nattering crowd. Be it in our job, at a party, at a sports bar or when the TV cameras swoop our way. There’s this instinctive flush of hope the world will notice me. Me…!

There are of course times when we prefer the safety of anonymity, but being anonymous is usually so dull. So diminishing. There are entire professions dedicated to overcoming one’s anonymity — agents, publicists, billboards, the media, and of course that great maw known as television. [See the more than three dozen cutesy daytime/nighttime talk shows in which the talk is incessantly about how cute and different is today’s cute and different guest].

The very word ‘news’ is rooted in the notion that to be newsworthy means to be different. Preferably outlandishly different as in the biggest, worst, most incredible. Like they say in the newsroom: “If it bleeds it leads!”

Then again….

As the early flushes of me-ism fade, as life on the fast track grows unsettling, ‘dull’ acquires its own kind of glow. As in: steady, sturdy, dependable, accountable. Hotshots and crazies make great headlines, make enticing role models, make sense when you’re new in the race. However, let the record show the winners in life are rarely the ones who first break out from the pack. The tortoise has beaten the hare throughout history.

So.

If you would learn from the lives of others, it’s just possible you’re scanning the wrong parts of the news. Those remarkably different headline makers usually appear and disappear in a flash. [Can you remember the names of last year’s Oscars or this year’s crime-of-the-century?] Just as likely you and I will better remember the magnificent tortoises in our lives. [The teacher, doctor, first responder who quietly appeared in my life when they were needed and then were no more]

See what I mean….?

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