Why You're Not Unique



When you wear your “Be You” graphic T-shirt you think you’re advocating that everyone be unique, don’t you? You’re wrong. You watch movies like The Lego Movie and think they encourage creativity and individuality. They don’t.  Being unique is being different, being one of a kind, being true to yourself, and working in your strengths, it’s doing what you enjoy. Those are not things that your stylish T-shirt or a trendy movie promotes.
Many popular movies recently have touched on the theme of diversity and individuality. The Greatest Showman demonstrates how everyone, even those society pushes aside, has a gift to share.  The very plot of The Emoji Movie is centred around a character who is different from the norm. The Lego Movie says to embrace your differences and be creative. These movies all seem to encourage individuality, creativity and harmony.
They claim to present the idea of uniqueness. Yet the filmmaking is not creative, the messages aren’t distinctive and the ideas presented aren’t accurate. Their heroes are always characters who creatively and accidentally save the world by having the perfect skill set at just the right time. The characters may have to overcome a few obstacles, but they always seem to be born with the right abilities and never have to work to develop their strengths or better themselves. Rarely do these movies actually show a diverse cast of characters. That’s ironic because this is the very ideology they are advocating for.  At first glance, these movies seem to encourage people to be unique, but they are all too cliched to be truly unique.
Another popular film, Ferdinand, appears at first glance to promote uniqueness. Ferdinand is about a young bull (with the same name as the title) struggling to fit in. He doesn’t like fighting or butting heads; Ferdinand is thoughtful and likes smelling the roses. As the story unfolds, experiences arise that cause each bull on the farm to realize their abilities and discover who they were meant to be. The film closes with Guapo, the bull who loves fighting, settling down to smell the flowers. Now everyone can be unique.
But that isn’t true. Guapo loved wrestling. Having him settle down to smell the flowers isn’t peculiarly different. It is just like Ferdinand. If Guapo was truly being unique, if he was truly being the truest version of himself, he may have found a way to continue wrestling; he might have found a way to use his strength to help the farmer instead of fitting in.
For many years, though it may not have been said aloud, the main goal in life was to fit in. You finished school with good grades, you went to college. You graduated and worked in that field for your whole life. You got married, bought a house and had two children: a boy and a girl. Everything was cookie-cutter-perfect.
Now people want to be noticed and famous. People live in hope that their funny video, angry rant or inspirational post will somehow catch hold and go viral. Everyone wants to be noticed and recognized as an individual. So, they wear a T-shirt that advocates this message. Wearing a shirt that was made as part of a batch of millions in India, the same shirt everyone else is wearing, isn’t unique.
Everyone likes to feel unique. It’s nice to think that maybe, just maybe, you were born with the right skill set and a purpose. Watching movies or reading books with characters who are naturally suited for their grand roles are inspiring. So industry inspires us with films that promote uniqueness. The same value that many other films focus on. With everyone pursuing the same type of uniqueness, is there anything truly different about it? In the movie Ferdinand “being unique” meant living gently on a Spanish flower farm smelling roses. So Guapo had to smell the roses. Just like everyone else.  We don’t want to be just like everyone else though. So we wear T-shirts that encourage everyone to be unique. But we often fail to realize it’s the same shirt so many others are wearing. Being unique is about allowing the great qualities God put inside you to shine and become strengths.  Are we being duped into thinking we are unique when we are really striving for the same things as everyone else?

Comments

  1. You would probably like this song...
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLUUtVaqCFA
    Very good post! Thanks for writing! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! That's really encouraging.
      -Duncan Poulsen

      Delete

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