Think back to your grade school years. I’m sure you recall your teacher or an elected classmate standing in front of the room each morning calling out the names of you and your peers. Most responded to hearing their name with a hand raise and a “HERE!” while those who were “doing too much” (per disgruntled classmates) eloquently said “Present.” I’m convinced that this is where our inability to be unknown was born.
We live in a world where willingly being unheard of is unheard of. Babies begin their lives to seas of cameras being shoved in their faces. They then transition to an age where beauty pageants, fashion shows, reality television, and Instagram videos are the norm. By teenage years, children are programmed to care more about being present than being valuable, leading them to build adult lives centered entirely around superficiality.
It’s obvious that as time progresses, society becomes more appreciative of materialism than substance, but that doesn’t mean you have to. As you recognize patterns that threaten uniqueness and individuality, it becomes your reasonable service to embrace purpose over popularity by fighting for your distinctiveness. In his book 52 Truths for Winning at Business Without Losing Yourself, Alan M. Weber poses a great question: “Is a brilliant Noble prize winner whose scientific discoveries cure millions more important than a modest community organizer who changes the world one person at a time?” As I close, consider that question…and hear me calling your name…realizing that what matters more than you announcing your presence is what your presence contributes.