Thursday, December 29, 2005

Six Power Steps - Step 2

Power Step 2 - Strive to Be Different

Nearly everyone you know will strive to be normal - because it's socially acceptable. But the normal person goes nowhere special and achieves the mundane.

Using a fictitious character called Norman, here's an example of his normal expectations of life and mediocre results:

"I live in a pleasant neighborhood in an average house (translated as meaning: all the houses and gardens along the street look exactly alike, apart from the odd differences in plants). I own an average car (just another standard box on wheels, which apart from minor differences looks like nearly every other car on the road)."

Norman's other goals and ambitions: "I save up all year round to take my wife and children on holiday, somewhere nice where it's safe. We usually book a package holiday, so everything is taken care of and we know exactly what to expect. Even the entertainment is all planned for us."

"My job is boring, but it pays the bills and the pension is good. It'll never make me rich, but then I don't want to be rich (but he wouldn't give away a lottery win!). Anyone who's rich has had to lie and cheat his or her way to the top. I like to sleep at night with a clear conscience. I may not have much but at least it's honest toil."

"I don't have much to do with the neighbors; I don't really like them. But, to keep the peace I mow my lawn once a week and keep the garden weeded and tidy, and do the odd job for them. I like to think they view me as a nice guy."

"Every other weekend we visit our best friends, Alice and Paul, and they visit us alternate weekends. Like us, they're your average typical family. Most nights after work I shower, change and after dinner, put my feet up and watch television until bedtime. Every Sunday, we have a roast dinner and every Friday we treat ourselves to a fry up. Am I happy? Well, it's life, isn't it?"

That's how Norman thinks and lives his life and that's how many people live their life. Norman’s family spends their days grumbling about how they hate their jobs, get fed up with their bosses and partners, but that's all they do. The same gripes day in and day out - but taking no action to change their situation, simply because they are slaves to being normal (and 'what will other people think of me, if I do something unusual?').

Living in the Fast Lane of the Elite

Let's compare Norman's goals and ambitions with another invented character, David. He's one of the smaller group of people who move forward and live the life of the elite and privileged.

"My philosophy on life is simple. Life is too short to be little. I'm not concerned with what other people think of me. If all my neighbors want to cut down their hedges and build short brick walls and block pave their drives, that's their choice, but I'm not going to have it done just to please them. I like the trees so they're staying and I prefer to have a shingle drive. I've done everything possible to make our house individual."

"Often, I ring Sarah from the office and ask her to forget about cooking dinner for that night and how about going out for a meal? We've tried all the restaurants within a twenty km radius."

"We both love holidays, and I take the family as often as possible. We spend most weekends, exploring new places and trying out different activities."

"I love my job; it's very challenging being a manager. I get to meet and work with people of many different personality traits, from varied backgrounds. Every now and then a junior is obviously aiming to take my job. I don't find it threatening; I like the challenge. I enjoy working with intelligent people who stretch my potential."

"I work hard and I am paid well. Do I feel guilty? No, I expect to be paid handsomely for my efforts; I wouldn't have it any other way. We live in a large house in an exclusive area and that's my reward for going the extra mile at work."

"I don't automatically go home at the end of the working day. And sometimes I arrive at the office as early as 6am, just to prepare for a meeting with my team."

"I want to be rich and I am prepared to plan and work towards my goals. I look forward to the future. I don't know what's around the corner and I don't care, because whatever happens I will handle the situation. I know I can solve problems - my strength lies within, it does not come from any outside forces. I couldn't care less whether other people approve of me or not, I know I'm okay and that's all that matters."

Two Opposing Philosophies

Norman's slavery to acting normal (and slavery to what other people think), creates poverty and unhappiness. While David's striving to be different (and refusal to be a slave to other people's expectations of him) creates wealth and happiness.

If you are ever tempted to query if David's attitude is not a tad selfish, then just ask yourself this question, "Who would you prefer to have as a friend? Norman, who's bored and unhappy, or David - who's exciting and happy?"
Easy, isn't it?

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