I remember watching the movie “The Untouchables” and particularly that scene where Al Capone gives the speech about teamwork. “A man steps up to the plate. This is the time for what? Individual achievement. But in the field, part of a team.” Then he bashes another guys brains out all over the dinner table with a baseball bat. Not the most eloquent way to prove a point, but probably pretty effective for the benefit of everyone else there. The nature of my employment demands that when the time arises, teamwork is the only way to go as lives, mine included, depend on it. That said, in the face of accusations that I’m not a team player (in non-emergency situations) I stand proud and proclaim that I am certainly NOT just like everyone else.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view) there are many people that find satisfaction, comfort…even insist upon living a life encompassed by “going along to get along.” That’s not really a problem, until they insist that upon everyone else…until they force everyone else to abide by their choices, despite the very foundation of this country being built on freedom of choice. I’m absolutely flabbergasted by this, and more so disturbed, when they veil such a dangerous philosophy under the guise of “teamwork.”
People like that often look for fairness in life, not understanding that the natural order of life is not to be fair, but to instead be balanced. They don’t understand the difference (and there is a profound difference) and all they have to do to “get it” is take a day to watch any wild animal program on television to see how life naturally is not fair, but very much balanced. Thinking there is a difference when dealing amongst ourselves in a civilized world, that somehow our awareness and intelligence trumps the natural order of life, is just the height of hubris.
Recently I was approached and told that I have to be just like everyone else. After a quick look around (with no offense to anyone) I just had to decline such an offer. I do not, in fact, have to be just like everyone else. I can, indeed, be just as I wish to be and if I wish to aspire to be something greater than I already am, and in the process…perhaps, be greater than those around me, then the crabs in the hater bucket will simply have to deal with another of life’s realities.
Another example of “just like everyone else” has arisen with regards to doing something that really, cannot be done in accordance to policy, and should not in accordance to good common sense. Instead of realizing this, I’m inundated by how they “feel” about the issue. Now, while I respect the feelings involved, I simply will not go along to get along when I know it’s wrong. I choose to do what’s right instead of making sure feelings are not hurt. That may sound callous to some, but the beauty of being an individual is being able to make that decision and let others hold that bag of reservation.
Sometimes the sub-cultures that we operate in, be it work, clubs, or any type of social setting we immerse ourselves in can take on a life of their own. Sometimes we lose sight of what can be clearly seen if we take a moment to separate ourselves from the links of accepted etiquette within these sub-cultures. Sometimes we need to remember that if we settle for being just like everyone else, that is exactly all we will ever be, regardless of right and wrong…and to the detriment of our individuality. Love me, hate me, ignore me…but I will always be…me.