Have you ever been on an interview and got asked the question, “What makes you unique?” I have. The question made me tongue-tied and flummoxed. I mean, what made me unique for the jobs I was applying for (at that time) was the very thing that would eliminate me from getting hired (or get me fired down the line).
But thinking back, maybe I should have blurted out my unconventional aspects…it would have saved me a solid decade of working as a number cruncher behind a desk – something I was extraordinarily ill-fit to do at the time.
If you’ve ever let your differences get in the way of your success, it’s time to rethink your idea of what makes you special. Too often we let our so-called ‘flaws’ hinder our growth or suffocate our promise in this world.
How Your Unique is Your Asset
Sometimes our uniqueness can be viewed as a hindrance, but that isn’t reality. In truth, what makes us different is an asset. I’m suggesting that your unique is elite! Here are a few ideas about how to turn our perceived idiosyncrasies into incredible assets.
Accentuate the Positives
On some level, we’re all familiar with that old adage, “You’ve got to eliminate the negatives and accentuate the positives” When dealing with unique features, this is especially true. What if a stutter is can be an advantage?
Did you know the famous narrator and actor James Earl Jones had a stutter? So did King George the VI. A myriad of other juggernauts have been so-called impaired but still thrived and succeeded into positions of high esteem.
Look at Stephen Hawking or Helen Keller. These are examples of how we can overcome so-called deficits, and turn them into motivations to lead, influence, and sculpt generations. You can do the same. It is our will, desire, incredible skills, and talents that define us. Perceived weakness is not what defines any of us. You can wield any disadvantage as a weapon to advance. A perceived fault in society could be the very thing that motivates you to do great works in society and history.
At the end of the day, we’ve got to start viewing the idea of “tough breaks” in our make-up in terms of assets. When we begin to accentuate the positive from the negatives we’re handed in life, that’s when true growth and revolutionary advancements are made.
Rewrite the Narrative
What’s your narrative? What kind of mental messages run through your internal dialogue? I’m asking these questions because your answer to “What makes you unique” could be crucial to rewriting your beliefs about who you are and your potential. For example, I used to replay this message in my head that I was anal-retentive.
While that was a truism, it didn’t have to be a downer. I started rewriting this message in a kinder, gentler way. I started seeing that being a stickler for details was actually an asset, especially in the eyes of a potential employer.
So, instead of perceiving my perfectionist tendencies in a bad light, I started seeing them as an asset. I started revising my mental jargon, like, “I have an extraordinary attention to detail” (instead of being a freak for perfection). You get the idea. No matter what your perceived flaw might be…try to rework that into a positive message in your mind.
How Nature Deals with Anomalies and Uniqueness
We can look to Mother Nature for proof of this. Nature provides examples and evidence of how being unique even in the wildest of wild environments can often be seen as an asset or even an honor. However, as much as oddities in the wild enjoy their fair share of privilege, they may also pose a lot of challenges. Isn’t that the way life works though? For everything that makes us fabulously different, there is a price to pay for our radical refusal to conform to societal standards.
For example, in the wild, an albino can be extremely vulnerable. They are at risk from predators because they stand out like a sore thumb. It’s kinda the same way with human nature. Very often, our unique traits can be a point of attack from those who prey on the seemingly weak. But what’s interesting about albino creatures (and humans) is it’s those who survive that manage to win extraordinary power and respect. This speaks to my point. It’s a testimony to embracing our differences and seeing our uniqueness as power-points instead of weakness.
Rethinking the Question “What Makes You Unique” and Embracing Your Differences
There is a reason we are all different. Consider your differences as your asset rather than your downfall. At the end of the day, we all bleed the same. We all feel sadness or joy. We are all human, no matter what our proclivities or perceived maladjustments. That’s important to know going forward. So remember, you are special and unique. No one can take that away from you, and your specialized view should never be downplayed. Embrace who you are, because it could make a tremendous impact on your community, or even the trajectory of human history. So the next time you’re asked (in an interview or otherwise) “What makes you unique), rock on, and be you! Just thinkin’. As always, thank you for reading!
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