Diversity: the art of thinking independently together. – Macolm Forbes
The last few days of the year are a good time to reflect and plan.
There’s a natural rhythm to it, just a natural time when you look back and forward and think.
And one of the things that we’re all probably more aware of has to do with diversity.
There are the struggles we have with outward diversity – the diversity that deals with gender and race and choice – but there is also the struggle for inner diversity – of knowing who you really are.
We’ve all reached wherever we are in life because of choices we made in the past.
But, what lay behind those choices? Did you make them because they felt right for you or because they felt like the right choices to make?
I’ve made many decisions because it seemed like the right thing to do – the thing that would help me fit in or do well or get ahead.
The danger with that is by trying to fit in you forget who you are.
And, at some point, it may make sense to try and rediscover yourself – and the end of one year and the start of another is not a bad time to do that.
The point I’m trying to make, I think, is that if you try and be the best at something anyone else can do you’re in for a rather stressful existence.
That’s because you’re always worried that someone else will come along, someone younger, harder working and with fewer commitments, someone cheaper – someone who can replace you.
And that’s no different for businesses. Anyone in a commodity business knows that they only way to survive is to be as efficient as possible – to sell at the lowest margin that allows you to survive.
Anything more than that requires something special – something that no one else has – a moat.
And that moat, whether you are an individual or a business has to come from something unique that only you can do.
The fact is that you have to deal with the world around you – and the world is full of different people.
But – if you try and change to fit in with those people you’ll forget who you are.
The point is about being able to communicate with others, not be like others.
Which brings us back to diversity, in thought and belief and action.
What’s unique about you is the way you think and act – and you show that by having a belief in yourself.
I think in the year ahead one of my goals is to look more widely – search out diverse thoughts and ideas – because it’s by understanding differences that we’re more likely to better understand ourselves.