stand out

365 Challenge: Day 68 – Unique

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Unique: being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else

I’m in a very contemplative mood today. It set upon me last night, as I had dinner with my better half and a friend of ours. Although it was a bit too warm for me, we had an al fresco Italian meal on the terrace under the Sunbrella awning. As the sun set and we enjoyed a glass of wine, I received an email, one which distracted me for much of the evening and again this morning. It’s nothing bad, nor anything at all to worry over; however, it made me realize how difficult it can be to reach a success point on your journey towards a goal. And when I awoke this morning, I asked myself: “What makes me unique?”

It’s a difficult question to answer. There are billions of people on our planet. Is it even possible to be unique? By it’s very definition, there is only one (1) unique item in a bunch; most of us interpret the word to mean “stand out above the rest,” rather than believe the word actually means a “single instance or occurrence.” I’m certainly not unique under the “by the book definition,” and I don’t really believe I’m unique per the commonly accepted “everyday definition.”

But in order to sell something… to convince someone… to get a “yes” to whatever the question is, you often need to be unique — that is, both stand out and be the only one with those qualifications. And so, not only is the question difficult, but being unique is also difficult. I suppose you really need to know yourself well to determine what makes you as “unique” as possible. I’d like to think I know myself well, but I’m not convinced I do, at least not today. I know the things I’m good at, but not what makes me top of my game. I sense the things I love doing, but not whether people want to listen to me because of them.

When I choose to read a book, it’s not often about what makes it a unique book. It’s whether the author has previously impressed me. It’s if the book cover or title truly capture my attention. It’s when the jacket description or online summary speak to me. Sometimes it’s when a friend recommends it. Other times, it falls into my lap. But there are millions of books…. they can’t all be unique. So how does one go about meeting that expectation when trying to write a novel, seek an agent or get published?

For those on a job search, you often hear “show why you’re the best candidate for the position,” either on the application, in the interview or as a follow-up review. Do we really know our own strengths? Are we savvy enough on the employer’s needs or the hiring manager’s thoughts to be able to highlight the right matching skills or words? It’s a balance of all these things… and I’m not necessarily looking for input or feedback on this… just noting how many times the question comes up: “How are you a unique fit or individual?” Perhaps it’s a bit too direct, egotistical or Pollyanna of me… but at times, I simply want to say:

I’m not a unique individual, nor do I want to be one. But what I am is a very capable, intelligent, strong, persistent, creative, open-minded and efficient guy. And you’d be lucky to have me as part of your team, whether I’m your next big writer or the one to re-organize your department to finally meet customer expectations. Some of us… are good at many things… and qualifying every piece of it won’t convince you why to select me. But knowing that there is no one more dependable than me, you should take this chance.

I’m not special, and I am OK with that. But it’s what others seem to expect when they are looking for the answer to the question. But then again, people’s natural instincts are also to be a bit doubtful or hesitant, to search for the absolute best, and to seek something that will bring in the money. Part luck, part game, it’s not always about talent. Nor is always about fitting in a prescribed box.

All this said, I’m not turning this into an advice column or a “help me understand” pitch. I’m not unique enough to warrant that kind of attention…  did you laugh over that? Yikes, I guess I’m not funny enough to be a comedian either. 😛  Even as I choose what to write in my reviews, or in the 365 Daily posts, I know I am not offering unique quality with a unique voice in a unique method. It’s been done by others, hundreds of times before and will continue to be thousands more into the future. I’m simply offering my opinion and thoughts, for whatever it may be worth at that time to that reader for a specific reason.

I’m purely reflecting on the things we face every day and how we choose to navigate that path. If I never found the perfect job or published a book, I’d still be a very happy guy. I’m simply being my inner two-year-old, questioning “Why, Why, Why” until I feel it’s time to move on to the next topic. And so I throw it back out to readers today. Pick one or more questions below and tell me what you think… or add your own question with an answer, too:

  1. What makes a book unique for you?
  2. How are you unique in your job or role?
  3. As a friend and general person, what types of unique qualities do you search for in others?
  4. Is unique important to you?


About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.