Difference is valued in a team, as this way the maximum results can be generated. Differences of opinion and conflict can be the root of great ideas and implementation.
Still, differences in race, gender and/or sexuality were not always regarded as good things. Think about the Jews during the World War II. Think about the American black slaves. Gays. Or women that are paid less than men in similar jobs. And the examples can go on forever.
Then, when is being different acceptable? And how much different can you be in order to still fit in?
For some, being different is a matter of choice. And these are the luckiest ones on Earth. They’re lucky as they can choose their thinking and express it, they can choose how they dress, what job they want, what spouse, house, pets etc. They can choose how to live and how unique in opinion and actions they want to be, without suffering of much bad consequences.
For the majority though, being different is not a choice. Think North Korea, they don’t have much of a freedom in thinking or living their lives, but also think about a drug addict. Think of a minority in a place where those minorities are wrongly treated. Think about having a different sexuality in a country where this is seen as bad. Or, think of women working their ass off to be paid less than men. And finally, think about the sad and depressed in a world-of-all-possibilities.
And even more than that, there’s the unseen differences. Like the ones trapped in wrong relationships, incurable diseases, addicted to drugs or games, depressed or plain unhappy. There are many that just can’t choose anything good because there’s simply no choice in their mind. What’s even worse is that they’re different but we still see them so “normal” most of the times.
If you are to think about it, how different are you then? And how free to make a choice?
- Can you quit your job today if you’re not happy there, and pick up doing the thing you really love?
- Can you book that plane and just travel to the place you dreamed to see for so long?
- Can you openly speak up about what’s on your mind with your boss, your team mates, your friends and even with your life partner?
- Can you be as different as you want, without consequences you don’t want?
It might surprise you, to realize how small the tolerance for difference is even in the most “free countries”. And how little different are you actually tolerated to be.