Normal is a Cycle on a Washing Machine

It’s also a town in Illinois and a style-setting in Microsoft Word.

But beyond that? Really, what exactly is normal?

Roget’s New Millennium™ Thesaurus suggests these synonyms: usual, regular, ordinary, typical, commonplace, and run-of-the-mill.

I don’t know anyone who aspires to be any of that!

Yet at some point most of us have found ourselves thinking, “I’m weird for doing, thinking, saying, wanting [fill in your word] … I need to be more normal.”

But it never works.

You really, truly think it’s important to change. So you keep trying. And now you’re really stuck because you’re trying to be someone you’re not.

Now what?

One of the keys to getting unstuck is acknowledging and embracing who you are – quirks and all. In this case, you got stuck trying to be someone different, but it’s applicable to almost any case of stuck.

It doesn’t matter what works for anyone else; they aren’t you!

My client Barbara got caught in this trap a few years ago when she mentioned she’d been working on self-discipline and miserably failing. She is smart, successful, motivated, energetic, and extremely creative: not the typical profile of someone suffering from self-discipline issues.

“What has you feeling undisciplined?” I asked her.

“I look around at my peers and my boss, and they are all so much more disciplined. They come in, decide what they’re going to do when, and then do it. I need to be more like that; it’s a much more effective way to be.”

Who hasn’t fallen into the trap of thinking you’d be better if you were more like the super-organized, easy-going, or charismatic person down the hall?

Don’t get me wrong. I believe change and personal growth are critical to success and happiness – that’s why I do the work I do. But change is good only when it’s in service of being the best version of you. Otherwise, you become a square squeezing into a circle.

When Barbara actually visualized a more structured day, she blurted out, “If I scheduled my time that tightly, it would wring the creativity right out of me. Now that I think about it, I do get done what needs to be done, and maybe it’s okay that I do it differently.”

In fact, it’s more than okay; it’s what helps her thrive.

I recently came upon this quote from author Alice Walker: “In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.”

Not only are they still beautiful, they wouldn’t survive if you straightened them out to look more normal.

The same holds true for you.

“The only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well.” ~ Joe Ancis, writer and comic


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