"You're unique; just like everyone else."

Most of us are in conflict with someone else, whether we know it or not. For me, it's working on my own in a world that values people that have 9-5 jobs. For those people it's deciding how they should look and think while doing those jobs.

by Tessa via Flickr

Truth be told, most people really are the same, even though it's great to celebrate differences. Most people have natural hair colors that are what they are, unlike the young lady in the picture. Most dress pretty much the same in the workplace, if only because those are the mandates of the job. Most people will end up believing what those they report to believe because they think it's expected of them.

When work is over, you'd expect more individuality to take over, but that's not really the case either is it? Even with hundreds of channels on TV most people watch the same shows. Many people partake of the same things after work such as going to the bar, or to dinner, or join bowling leagues or do things with their church. There's this thing about being a part of something that many people like, and thus they feel comfortable having something to talk to others about the next day.

Yet, there's nothing wrong with being a nonconformist in a conformist world... within reason. I say within reason because there are jobs that expect a bit of conformity, and you really won't have much choice in the matter. If you join the military you're getting your hair cut and wearing the same clothes as everyone else. If you work in a hospital you have to follow certain regulations in dress, depending on which department you work in.

But there are things people can do in a conformist world that doesn't quite fit. My first few years of working in health care I only turned the TV on for certain sporting events. So whenever anyone at work wanted to talk about TV shows I was at a loss, since I spent my nights either playing my piano or bowling in one of many leagues. And when I was bowling I always had a book with me, either some kind of biography or science book. Yes, they all thought I was strange. lol

When I was a regional director I had a lady working for me with purple hair and another that worked in an adult novelty store part time. Over the years I've had people work for me that bred dogs, jumped out of planes, had multiple colors of hair, ran marathons, sang in bands, and done all sorts of things.

Of course the majority went home, cooked dinner and watched TV all night, but it wasn't all of them. And when both groups came together, even when those who conformed more thought the others were odd, they worked together and in relative harmony with each other. Some were even work friends with each other; that's all I ever wanted.

The world benefits from having all types of people, and the business world benefits from the diversity of different thoughts and beliefs of its employees, no matter how much it sometimes fights that reality. Don't be afraid to be yourself; we all only live one life.