Enlightened Conflict

who no one imagines anything of

February 22nd, 2016

loser tshirt




“It’s the people who no one imagines anything of, who do the things that no one imagines.”



The Imitation Game





eccentric person

The misfits.



The discarded.



The eclectic.



The ‘different.’





I have always gravitated to these people. I have always tended to hire these people. I have always found these people interesting, rewardingly challenging to know & manage and … well … most likely the key to any success I have found in Life – personally & professionally.



I have found I learn more from the misfits. They are the curves in the winding road which have a tendency to share new vistas.


They are the ones independent of the traditional ‘expected’ and are truly the unique.



But let’s be clear.



While we seem to celebrate uniqueness & independence … society and culture has pushed back those who practiced uniqueness and independence since the dawn of civilization.



I could suggest it is because we naturally gravitate to ‘commonalities’ and are more comfortable in seamlessness but instead I will suggest it is because they are perceived to pose some sort of threat to what is perceived as the natural order of things and what should be.



The backbone of all society & culture is an undercurrent of conformity. This shouldn’t be necessarily perceived as any type of real limitation because people and society inherently coalesce around what looks best, feels best and does the best for the majority. It is kind of a natural gravitational pull.


unlearn fish swim

And then there are those who fight that gravitational pull.


The misfits as it were.



They are the ones who for any variety of reasons fight against the undercurrent of conformity not to ‘be different’ but rather because they see that conformity has a tendency to make people give up their dreams and play small <or smaller than possibilities may suggest is possible>.


It’s more common to “fit in” and slot yourself in some sort of ‘dream of who I could be’ rather than step out and create that dream.



That’s maybe why I love misfits.
As an enabler of misfits I often found myself benefiting from the fact I was part of ‘dream creators’ rather than ‘dream slotters.’


But the path of a misfit is not an easy one. It is a tricky path strewn with obstacles, resistance, and frequent feelings of isolation/loneliness/ self doubt.



It becomes very easy for a misfit to get angry as they perceive more obstacles, more resistance and more isolation than the average person.



That is the lot in life of being a misfit.



And I loved teaching misfits, or maybe even just encouraging them, to learn how to successfully swim upstream and go against the undercurrent of conformity in the river of life.






I am not one of those people who will unequivocally state that Misfits can win big in Life <although they can>.


I would simply suggest that many <most> misfits aren’t really misfits.


They come in all shapes & sizes.


They are simply people who embrace their personal characteristics as part of not what makes them different but rather what makes them successful as a person.


scarecrow misfit unusual interestingThe most comfortable of the misfits do not really celebrate their so-called misfit characteristics but rather wear them like a comfortable sweatshirt.



These are the people who don’t ignore the beat of the majority drummer but are more in tune with their own drummer.



These are the people who tend to create things beyond the norm. They imagine what could be more easily than the ones who see more of what is <and try to improve it>.



Later in life these are the people who tend to exhibit compassion. They have fought the undercurrent and faced the obstacles … and have endured the nicks & dents and proudly stand as no longer a misfit … but just a unique person who has a strong sense of self. Therefore they tend to be compassionate not to misfits as people but rather a person’s sense of self <which is actually the more important key>.



I have been extremely fortunate in Life and I credit the misfits.


Having had the perfect seat to get the best perspective on all that is ‘misfit’ I have been able to develop my own belief system and independent individualistic perspective on business and life.




They have also shown me the challenges of fighting the status quo.


They have shown me how tiring it can be swimming against the undercurrent.


They have shown me how a powerful conviction, without some selective strategic compromise, is often destined for a weary bitter Life.



They have shown me what happens when you choose to not follow the norms and customs of the environment.



Ultimately, though, there is a power that is associated with misfitdom.


There is a power found in acknowledging that you are different … and most likely have always been different.


And that different is not necessarily bad.


It is just different. That is all it is.



I am pleased that I was one who appreciated the differences and encouraged the ‘misfits’ in life.


I am pleased that I encouraged people to find what was within and to remember that you are allowed to be different and you are allowed to be who you are.



I am mostly pleased because by embracing misfits I became a better person and a better business leader. Misfits changed me from being yellow to … well … a variety of colors.



=====writing colors


“All your life you’re yellow.

Then one day you brush up against something blue, the barest touch, and voila, the rest of your life you’re green. “



Tess Callahan






I most likely learned significantly more from misfits than they learned from me.


And I am sure I would have been a significantly more bland person if I hadn’t had the pleasure of the company of misfits.






I think we have a tendency to overlook misfits far too often. And they are the ones, the ones we least imagine having the capability, who are most likely to imagine what no one else imagines.



I will always embrace the misfits. I will do so recognizing not everyone will. And whenever I get the opportunity I pull them off to the side and say ‘be stubborn and keep working and keep fighting.’



I do so because without them we would all be yellow.






“I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.”



Barack Obama

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Enlightened Conflict