1. to depart from an established course.
If you are like many people, you see that as a negative. It’s choosing – on purpose – to disregard the rules. The norms. The accepted way of doing things.
But what if you’re a POSITIVE deviant? Then wouldn’t that be a good thing? To forge a new trail – find a better way of getting to the desired outcome? Improving a system?
In one of my very favorite books, Orbiting the Giant Hairball, author Gordon MacKenzie gives us the distinction between NORMAL
1: of or conforming to the accepted model, pattern or standard. 2: not abnormal.
1: having to do with an origin, source or beginning. 2: never having existed before. 3: created or invented independent of already existing ideas or works.
Steve Farber calls it being audacious. Audacity is a bold and blatant disregard for normal constraints in order to change the world for the better. Perhaps being audacious is more like being original: following our hearts and our guts and our creativity and our God-given gifts.
When a student comes home from school with three A’s and one C, where does our attention go? Probably to the same place it goes when we have employees who are complainers. Instead of praising the behavior we do want, we are conditioned to try to improve what we don’t want. We try to normalize everything and we end up with average.
We’re better than that. You’re better than that. You’re not average. Don’t take this the wrong way, but you’re not normal. You’re not the accepted model or pattern. After all, who would get the final say in what is accepted? Someone had to make it up at some point.
Be the one to make up the pattern for your own life. Live in your gift zone. Be an original.
You’re unique – just like everyone else. So maybe that does make you normal – in your own way.
Be a positive deviant. Take it from the commercial for the 3M Command hooks: Do. No Harm.