It’s okay to be interesting

Published by Peter on

I have always desperately wanted to fit in. It’s a compelling need a lot of people have. But I’m here to tell you: it’s okay to be interesting.

I learned this from a satirical writing blog about 15 years ago. An anonymous yet hilarious misanthrope calling himself Evil Editor invited novelists to submit their query letters for critique.

He churned out lampoon of the highest order. This was not for the meek or the thin-skinned, but he delivered his ridicule main course with a side of very useful education.

It was on Evil Editor’s blog that I got one of the most enlightening and useful pieces of personal feedback I’ve ever received: “You showed personality.”

But this feedback did not come from Evil Editor. It came from one of the site’s other users.

Being interesting by making a (not so) bold move

I was one of the regular commenters on the blog for several months, but even after all that time I felt like nothing more than a background dancer in a big production—necessary to fill out the stage, but otherwise mostly overlooked.

Until one day when I submitted a piece filled with absurdity, double entendre, and innuendo… and against my better judgment I named my fictional characters with the usernames of the other regulars. The names of the people whom I admired and thought of as creative, witty, and interesting.

It felt like a huge risk. I didn’t know any of them personally. How would they take it? Would they find it funny or insulting?

Turns out, they thought it was fun and appreciated being included. They all commented on my piece. I was suddenly welcomed to the front of the stage, no longer simply a mere background dancer.

In hindsight, it wasn’t a very big risk at all. My livelihood, health, real-life social status, and family were never in danger. All I risked was temporary embarrassment.

My fear of making a wrong move had kept me from making a bold move.

Keeping your head down is a good tactic but bad strategy

There’s a saying that it’s best to keep your head down if you don’t want to get it shot off.

For sure, there are times when you should keep your head down. There are situations where making a move would be more foolhardy than bold.

And, there are people who prefer to live a safe life, who are perfectly content to disappear among the background dancers. Many even prefer to stay off the stage altogether and remain in the audience.

If you’re reading my blog, you are probably not one of those people.

At least, not intentionally.

Keeping your head down is a good tactic to use when the situation calls for it. But it’s a very limiting strategy if you’re interested in growth or advancement.

I’m not telling you anything that hasn’t been said before:

– Benjamin Franklin
– Virgil
– Robert Frost
– Walt Disney
– Eleanor Roosevelt
– Peter Dudley

Being bold does not come naturally, nor does it always work out

We all have our own comfort zones. Boldness means going outside your comfort zone.

Thus, by its very definition, boldness is uncomfortable.

When I think about all the biggest wins in my life—the most impressive successes, the things I’m most proud of—none of them happened because I stayed inside my comfort zone.

Even more important, every time I did something that felt bold, every time I challenged myself to go outside that zone, my comfort zone expanded.

“You showed personality.”

There’s vulnerability as well as discomfort in making a bold move. If you try and it goes poorly, you have to be prepared for the disappointment.

Sometimes it doesn’t work out. Sometimes you raise your hand, and you don’t get invited to the front of the stage. Sometimes it flops entirely—you get invited to the front of the stage, and you totally blow it.

If you’re taking risks in life, that’s bound to happen sometimes.

But if you’re not taking risks in life, you’ll always be seated in the audience, watching the more interesting lives of more interesting people up on stage.

That may be okay with you. That may be where you want to be. But if you’re reading this blog, probably not. And I don’t want to just be a member of the audience, either.

That’s why I constantly remind myself that it’s okay to be interesting.

I can help.

I work with top executives and middle managers to improve their leadership skills, their workplace culture, and the effectiveness of their teams. Also, I help individuals identify and achieve their personal goals. Would you like to become more aware, be more effective, be more empowered, and feel fully prepared for your next steps?

Let’s talk.

You can help.

Think of one person who would benefit from reading this post. Sharing is caring! Forward it to them right now. They will think you’re super smart and well informed.

Stay informed.

Be sure to join my email list! Get notified of new posts here as well as new courses, books, and events from me both here and at Gray Bear Publications.

Categories: Courage


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *