You don’t know how you are being conditioned to live someone else’s life. Hardly anyone knows how our (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual) capabilities are intentionally being suppressed and why we are not taught how to live life. You feel stressed, powerless and unfulfilled in a world where others are pulling the strings. When you know how you can escape from this conditioning, you’ll be amazed at what you can do, and experience a huge growth in health, happiness and freedom.

Would you like to learn the secrets of this conditioning? Would you like to follow your own dreams instead of the dreams of others? Would you rather be an explorer than a marionette?

Approximately the first twenty years of your life, parents and education are pressing you to conform. Conformity to culture, to orders from folks higher in the hierarchy, and to the way to dress, are just some examples. Not all conformity is bad. Generally speaking I support conformity to laws and being polite (and kind) to other people.

This conformity results in group thinking and copying others. The dominant force is sameness. Look respectively at high school students, members of a sports team, or employees of a government institution, they all look the same. 

The best practices approach in business has resulted in sameness for companies. They are only different from competitors in name. The products and prices are similar. What is the real difference between Burger King and McDonalds, or between Air France and British Airways? Except for a bit of marketing, they are the same. 

Standardization has infiltrated many aspects of doing business. That is why full-scale automation is a logical next step. A.I. will even have a bigger impact by taking over many of the standardized tasks currently being done by humans. 

When automated processes are the norm there is not much left over to differentiate yourself, both as an individual and as a business. 

Then you or your business becomes a commodity and you compete only on price (and logistics). From that point onwards, it is a race to the bottom and you will compete globally. That is why large companies (who also have the deepest pockets) like Amazon and Alibaba are winning. 

As an individual worker, let’s say a copywriter or digital marketer, already freelancers are competing globally. And the one who can afford the lowest rates is winning.

The goal of conformity is to suppress uniqueness and to replace it with sameness. You are a sales representative 2 or 3, and not John or Kate who happens to love selling.

When I watch commercials on TV, I mostly can remember the ‘plot’ or the funny aspects, but I can totally not recall the name of the company or the product. They are using a marketing sauce to hide the sameness in their products.

Sameness ultimately leads to a ‘winner takes it all’ outcome at the business level and stress, boredom or unemployment at the worker level.

Fortunately, there is an alternative. 

The alternative is to release your uniqueness. Every person, every worker is unique. Every business is unique, because any organization is a collective of unique individuals.

Each one of us is a unique dynamic mix of roles, values, qualities, knowledge, skills, hobbies, activities, experiences, and bodily cells. 

As that uniqueness has been suppressed for such a long time, it takes time and effort to release your uniqueness. I describe the steps to unblock your uniqueness in my book ‘From Fitting In to Flying Out’. 

Look at the people you admire the most, it is very likely that you are attracted to (parts of) their uniqueness. 

In the real world, each high performer is unique and distinct and excels because that person has understood his or her uniqueness and cultivated it intelligently. ~ Buckingham/Goodall

Now, you might say that you are replacing one problem (being conditioned to conformity) with another problem (finding your uniqueness). That could become the same pitfall as finding your purpose or your passion. 

It is not an act of looking outside, it is looking inside. This process is the same for individuals and for organizations.

A very helpful approach to discovering your uniqueness is suggested by Scott Adams (from the Dilbert cartoon).

“If you want something extraordinary [in life], you have two paths:

1. Become the best at one specific thing.
2. Become very good (top 25%) at two or more things.

The first strategy is difficult to the point of near impossibility. Few people will ever play in the NBA or make a platinum album. I don’t recommend anyone even try.

The second strategy is fairly easy. Everyone has at least a few areas in which they could be in the top 25% with some effort. In my case, I can draw better than most people, but I’m hardly an artist. And I’m not any funnier than the average standup comedian who never makes it big, but I’m funnier than most people. The magic is that few people can draw well and write jokes. It’s the combination of the two that makes what I do so rare. And when you add in my business background, suddenly I had a topic that few cartoonists could hope to understand without living it.”

So, what are your two or three things where you are very good at? Please remember that can be anything, ranging from cooking pasta, to growing plants, to journaling, to building spreadsheets.

Any business, any organization can (and should) also be unique. That requires both a recognition that people make the real difference as well as a change in culture and operational practices. 

Enabling the release of uniqueness requires freedom to think differently, to ask critical questions, and courage to share feelings and emotions. 

Crucial is also to stimulate failure. If people get punished by sharing unique ideas they will immediately stop sharing. And that will kill your business as well as the employee’s satisfaction.

What steps are you taking to release uniqueness, individually as well as collectively?

In the coming weeks I will share excerpts from the book ‘From Fitting In to Flying Out’.

I hope that will be beneficial to you in the process of releasing your uniqueness. 

These are the follow up articles:

1.Are you ready for takeoff (flying out)?

2. What is happening in society that impacts me?

3.Reveal the cage (jobs-consumption-entertainment) and straitjacket strategies

4. Recover from suppression and addiction 

5. Reactivate physical, mental, emotional and spiritual capabilities

6. Reset the lens

7. Relearn 21st century knowledge, skills and lifeset

8. Redesign communities and cities

Enjoy the journey!

Let me know if there is anything that I can do for you.

For Thrive readers I would like to offer a special 10% discount on the Unblock Uniqueness as a Delight training as well as on the Unlimited Uniqueness as a Delight training. Please mention discount code ABThrive in your mail.

Arnold Beekes