The opposite of courage is conformity. So says Earl Nightengale in his landmark audio, The Strangest Secret ( http://www.18mind.com/mind/the_strangest_secret). He makes note that a tragedy in life is that most people go to great lengths to fit in with the masses and hide their uniqueness. I accepted Mr. Nightengale’s challenge to listen to his audio for a straight thirty days, and as is the usual result of repeating something continuously, I am picking something new up during each listen.
This week also marked the New Year and moving to the next chapter in The Greatest Salesman in the World, Chapter 4, “I am Nature’s Greatest Miracle.” Mandino echos Nightengale by writing “Since the beginning of time never has there been another with my mind, my heart, my eyes, my ears, my hands..” and “Vain attempts to imitate others no longer will I make. Instead I will place my uniqueness on display in the market place. I will proclaim it, yea, I will sell it. I will begin now to accent my differences; hide my similarities. So too will I apply this principle to the goods I sell. Salesman and goods, different from all others, and proud of the differences.”
In my experiences, most people are average in most areas of their lives: personal, work, athletics, financial…in all areas. Most people have well-above average potential. Why the discrepancy in potential and reality? Addressing it from a just a couple of perspectives, I believe that Nightengale was correct, that most people conform to the masses and therefore act like the masses. What I have learned from MKMMA and how the human mind works, it is all a result of peptides in the brain; we are our thoughts. When fearing to stand out, we begin to think, talk, believe, and act like the masses and then, become one of the masses.
I saw this phenomenon present in every experience of my life to date: there were a few exceptional students at every level of schooling, and there was the mass of average students. There were a handful of dominant racquetball players, and there were the masses of very good players. There is approximately 2-5% (depending on who you speak with) of the people in my profession making full-time income, rock-star money and the masses making part-time money or just hanging around until they get bored. Nightengale was right, and Mandino had the solution – determine your unique qualities and promote them.
I share the following example with business owners and sales professionals as a way of helping them understand the power of standing out in a crowded marketplace. If I showed you ten ponies, one after the other, for 2 seconds each and then asked you to describe in detail “number 3” or “number 8”, could you do it? Probably not, unless you were an equestrian, because, to be frank, ponies all look the same to the untrained eye. Now what if I replaced pony number 5 with a pink unicorn and did the same exercise. Could you tell me what number was the unicorn? Of course you could. It is so unique and special, it stands out right away and stays with us. Now relate this example to yourself and your professional life..is it better to be unique or to look like the masses?
If you ever get to feeling low or discouraged, try remembering what Mandino writes on uniqueness: “I am rare, and there is value in all rarity; therefore, I am valuable. I am the end product of thousands of years of evolution; therefore, I am better equipped in both mind and body than all the emperors and wise men who preceded me.” Life is hard enough, and pinks have more fun. Be a pink unicorn.