Between our parents, the media, friends, and more, we’ve had the knowledge beaten into our brain. We’ve been told to be who we are and to be proud of what makes us different. Yet despite receiving this lesson time and time again, it appears as though many people would rather fit in than stand out.
Personally, I find great fault with this. But instead of repeating the lesson we know by heart, I’m going to tell you one ironic fact: everybody wants to fit in, yet we idolize those who stand out.
Think about it. All the big names that people will follow unabashedly are people who excel at standing out. It doesn’t matter if it’s LeBron James, Aaron Judge, Barrack and Michelle Obama, Stephen King, Beyonce, or anyone else. Even if the person you idolize is your (probably non-famous) dad, you likely idolize him because of specific traits he possesses, or actions he commits, that others don’t. You idolize him because he, though it may be on a smaller scale, stands out.
So why do people want to fit in?
Aside from the inert human desire to be accepted and liked (which is a whole other issue that I covered in last week’s post), I can only think of one reason: those who stand out are also the most hated.
Seriously. LeBron wouldn’t be as hated as he is if he wasn’t such a transcendent basketball star. Nobody would hate the Obamas if their tenure in office wasn’t so monumental. Even that one annoying kid at school wouldn’t be so despised if he didn’t excel at being annoying.
Perhaps this is why some people would rather fit in than stand out. After all, nobody hates the Minnesota Vikings’ Rhett Ellison. He simply doesn’t stand out enough. And though everybody should hate the Golden State Warriors (this coming from a LeBron James and Chris Paul fan), nobody hates Patrick McCaw. On the Warriors (way overpowered and too) star-studded team, he simply hasn’t stood out enough to be the recipient of nationwide malice.
Now personally, I think people want to fit in because they want to be accepted and liked (which is, pardon my bluntness, stupid…you should really read my last The Serious post), but I’ll leave that for you to decide. All I know is that I don’t want to fit in. I want to, have, and will continue to stand out, taking both the pros and cons of it in stride.
After all, I idolize those who stand out. So why would I want to fit in?