Why is it so important to be unique?

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Have you ever stopped to think about how hard people go out of their way to be unique or different from everyone else?  This is a very concept to me because everywhere in the media, advertising, politics and even general conversations most people will focus on the differences, rather than the similarities.

Take people for example.  We are bombarded for all sides of why we are different than someone else.  Maybe it’s skin color, financial background, education or a simple belief.  But why do we focus so hard on the things that are different between us?  If we really look hard, I’ve be willing to wager to that most people are 80% the same (probably a lot more).  After all, if we look at education here in the US.  Most of us went to grade school, middle school and high school.  We were all taught the same things.  We can look at even higher levels…  we are all people, most with 2 arms, 2 legs, 2 hands and 1 head.  We all breathe air, eat food and sleep.

We can drill down for pages about how we are the same, yet a single idea that differs between us and our neighbors could be enough to dismiss anything they say.  It could be a complex issue like global climate change, or something simple like cats are better than dogs.  So why is it that one idea is enough for us dismiss any entire person’s wealth of experience just because a single idea is different from ours?

Could it be that as a species we are hardwired to somehow set ourselves apart from everyone else?  is it just that we need to feel special, and the only way to accomplish that is focus on how we are different?  Or has society just conditioned us to focus on Coke vs. Pepsi, Republican vs. Democrat, PC vs. Mac in order to keep us separated.  After all, as long as you are different than me, there is will always be a marketing spin that can be applied.

I don’t have a good answer, and I’m just as guilty as anyone else.  But the next time you are about to dismiss someone’s ideas because they are different than yours, keep in mind that other person likely agrees with 90% or more of everything else you say.  So, when we are so similar, maybe we shouldn’t focus only on the differences.  Food for thought.

Thanks for reading,

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