"Drop the idea of becoming someone, because you are already a masterpiece. You cannot be improved." Osho
The other day I was busy doing nothing in the kitchen of The Happy Cow Group's very remarkable Channel of Love when my eye was drawn to a small box of Pringles crisps (that's potato chips to those of you who have been away from the fold so long that you no longer spell colour correctly). The box was red and in prominent letters on the side was written the word 'Original'. In that instant, the idea for this article arrived in my head.
I don't know about the rest of the world, but where I grew up in England, another word we commonly used for crisps flavoured just with salt was 'plain'. There are, of course, now lots of other flavours. There are lots of variations on the original and more seem to appear every year to entice us into continuing to hand over our cash. Many would probably agree that the other flavours are less 'plain' than the original flavour.
"Why on Earth is Swifty banging on about salty snacks?" I hear some of you asking. OK. I will try to nonchalantly meander my way to the point.
Every single human being begins life as a unique original. Each one of us is totally incomparable. Chesney Hawkes would no doubt be happy to join me in telling you that you are the one and only you.
Society is quick to praise leading artists from various fields as 'true originals'. Yet at the same time it does its very best to stamp out originality as much as possible. Standard, broad based education systems take little account of individual preferences or abilities, and instead try to make everyone jacks of all trades and masters of none.
We are encouraged to follow 'role models', religious doctrines or 'success programmes' written by someone else, and often containg a magical number of steps or secrets.
"Whatever you do, don't trust yourself. Whatever you do, don't just be yourself. That will never do! Oh, no! Don't be original! Be like these shiny people! Look how shiny they are. Look at those white teeth and that shiny hair. They are so much BETTER than you are. You must improve! You must be more like them."
Why do we engage in all this condemnation in the guise of encouragement? Why do we so often fall for it? Perhaps it is because ego so often finds it hard to accept ordinariness. Just like with the crisps, original might mean plain. It might mean ordinary. Ego cannot bear that. Ego needs to be puffed up as much as possible. Ego needs to feel special and ego is helped because we often confuse uniqueness with being special. Something which is unique cannot, by its very definition, be special. Unique means incomparable. So special compared to what?
"The ordinary keep striving to become extra-ordinary while only the truly extra-ordinary are content to remain ordinary." Happy Cow
Here's the rub. You might not be famous. You might not be rich. You might not get on the chat show or the bill board. You might not win the awards. You may just be plain. You may just be ordinary. But if you can remain original, if you can remain yourself and love and accept whoever that is, you will win something far more valuable. You will win consistent happiness regardless of what happens in the outside world.
I am not against fame and fortune. I am not against material success. If they happen, they happen. No problem there. Think of the most successful people in various fields and the chances are that you will be thinking about someone who is a peerless original, someone who works tirelessly at what they do because it is who they are and they could not do otherwise. Whether material success came to them or not, they would still be doing that thing that only they do.
Material success is just a possible side effect of true personal success - the success that can only be felt by those who have had the courage to remain themselves, to remain original.
"One who understands his or her uniqueness has no competitors." Happy Cow
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