Embracing Difference and Diversity

Similarity versus Difference 

Part 2 of a 3-part blog 

If you are someone who has not experienced prejudice before or who can sometimes struggle to empathise with those who have, try this little exercise: 

Consider something about yourself which you deem perfectly normal – maybe your eye colour, hair length, shoe size. Now imagine someone picking this apart and making fun of you for it. Imagine a whole group of people calling you names and pointing at this aspect of yourself. Imagine getting discriminated against and defined by this simple, normal part of you. We are all products of a great number of things: our passions, values, achievements, opinions, experiences, peers and, in an ideal world, lastly our appearance. No one should feel ashamed or try to conceal what is so much a part of them that it cannot be changed or controlled. 

I watched a powerful video When You Look at Me which aims to challenge one’s thinking in terms of equality. It opens with ‘When you look at me, what do you see? Is it me or is it you?’. I found this eye-opening in revealing our natural tendency to seek out people who are like us. Until recently, difference was taboo, deriving from a place of fear. It was rude to point it out and to ask questions. Now, we are consciously shifting from this to – not just acknowledging – but appreciating and valuing difference. We are actively trying to ask those questions, have those conversations and open our eyes to the diversity of the human race. Let’s welcome these conversations with open arms rather than accept them begrudgingly. Let’s not fear this change but get excited by it! 

Equality still feels like it has a long way to go, but it is possible if we face it together. Whilst many of us find great comfort in stability, things that are unjust simply have to change. You may or may not be familiar with this comic strip by Nick Anderson which illustrates the power that individuals have when we unite. It would be impossible for one person to be responsible for the total abolition of prejudice, however, if the majority of us are all quietly having these conversations and if those people are going on to impact other people, the result is huge. Never disregard the importance of your actions nor the greater effect of these. Every single small change does and will make a vast collective difference. 

When I was thinking about this predisposition of being drawn to similarity, the saying ‘great minds think alike’ came to mind. This is sweet to say when you simultaneously have the same idea as someone else, however, on a larger scale, the world would make very little progress if our brains were all wired the same. Sure, maybe great minds think alike, but maybe the greatest minds think entirely differently. We could go from having quite a 2D vision to beautifully 3D if we surrounded ourselves with people who were unalike us and approached things from a different facet. I challenge you to discover where your interests lead you and collaborate with someone who you would not intuitively work with. 

Hopefully this has made you more aware of the similarities and differences that you encounter every day and has maybe altered your perspective on the beauty of difference. 

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#equality #diversity #inclusion #similarity #difference #leadership #selfimprovement #learning #growthmindset #activeally #unconsciousbias #personalmastery 

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