“Be Yourself” Doesn’t Necessarily Mean “You Have to Stand Out”

By: Ali Sakr

You’re always told to find your passion – to “be yourself” and not fear standing out in a crowd. Whether it be our idealistic community, or all the exaggerated movie portrayals of unwavering success stories and happy endings, we lack the realism we need. We hold on to the very belief that everyone is different and unique; that no two people are alike, while completely denying the fact that this belief defies the meaning of unique in the first place. This paradoxical desire to be unlike all others is a desire we all unfortunately share.

Let’s take a moment to imagine what the world would be like if every single human being out there was a genius. If – and yes this is again self-contradictory – everyone had unprecedented mental capabilities. How many less apples would it have taken to discover gravity, or better yet, how many more mathematicians and quantum physicists would there have been? Well, hate to break it to you, but probably way less than we have now. Our economy is built upon diversity; on the fact that we do in fact vary in mental strength. If we were all theoretical scientists, there would be no farmers, no food industry, no on-site builders and no workers who rely more on brawn than brain. We’d all be the same kind of unique – the kind that, while so incredibly unique, we’d all be.

By now, I’ve stated that I believe we’re all almost the same, but I’ve also mentioned how our community is built upon diversity, so it’s either I’m just as paradoxical as this topic, or this isn’t as contradicting as it seems. Let’s say for an instant, I told you we all think in the same way, and that through scientific studies which were professionally carried out, all our brains are practically carbon copies of each other, except for some very rare cases which break this pattern. I can almost guarantee one of your thoughts was “well, not me”, or “I must be an exception then”. Even if it was for humor, you thought that didn’t you? Or even if you didn’t, aren’t you considering it now? The diversity in our communities is simply the cause of how we are raised – what environment we live in and how we’re generally brought up, our lack of uniqueness though, I believe that comes from the deepest depths of our brains: our instincts, the place where we’re all truly the same.

So, you still don’t get it. Are we all the same? Are we all unique? Do the circumstances of one’s life contribute to their individuality enough to call us individuals in the first place? Well, the answer is: I don’t know. What I do know, however, is that you don’t have to have a passion, you don’t have to be the best at something, because not every single one of us will win a Nobel Prize and become a billionaire. You don’t have to stand out and you don’t have to fear being average. Hell, you don’t even have to “be yourself”. Just live the life that makes you want to keep living it, regardless of whether or not that ideal life applies to everyone on this globe, or just you, because at the end, if you don’t care about it, we all probably don’t too.


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