Updated: Jun 26
Author Dr Ken Jennings
In his quest to be different, a client mentioned how he put himself out on a limb in a group. He would push boundaries, do stupid things, act out, and put himself at risk; all in his drive to be seen as ‘being different’. He added that he wanted to be noticed, even if it meant being noticed for the ‘wrong reasons’ – at least his uniqueness would be acknowledged. It emerged that he wanted to be accepted and respected by those he interacted with. But unfortunately he had become extreme in his attempts to be noticed (by being so different). Inadvertently, his attempt to gain acceptance resulted in him being rejected by his social group since he was perceived as being arrogant. My client had a love for the bush and had recently enrolled for a diploma course in nature conservation. I decided to send him 3 photographs and asked him to take a careful look at them and share with me some of his thinking regarding the photographs.
In our next session, the theme of ‘blending in’ began to emerge.
Blending in is nature’s way to ensure the survival of a species. Nature tends to shy away from attention. Animals attempt to blend into the context in which they exist. Blending in, discounts self importance. Blending in requires that we need to be co-operative and sensitive to those that surround us. In contrast, wanting to be different is usually driven by competitiveness. Co-operation and competition are complementary processes that should be in balance. If these energies are not in balance, some problem or challenge is likely to unfold. While animals can be competitive and territorial; a dynamic balance always exists between the ability to blend in and the need to stand out.
In order to be successful in business and sport, a person needs to stand out and achieve. This requires a competitive spirit. However, once success is attained we need to feel comfortable out of the spot light. Many successful people have difficulty with this as they become addicted to the attention that their success has brought them. This addiction for attention, in turn, may play itself out in other ways, including in interpersonal difficulties. It is not easy to deal with fame and excessive public attention. However, working on being humble, respectful, reserved and appreciative, helps us remain in an emotionally balanced place. In the process, we then keep our lives in perspective and in the greater scheme of things, we begin to realize that we need to guard against the obsession of self-importance and that we are not bigger than the life that we participate in.
Dr Ken Jennings is an internationally renowned psychologist, executive coach and author with over 35 years experience. With a specialism in performance psychology, he has worked with elite sporting teams and extraordinary individuals globally. A systems orientated process thinker, he focuses on creating possibilities for those he consults with. His work draws on the philosophy of ecologic, in that ideas and actions are interconnected holistically. He believes that human transformation occurs when the power of energy and the complexity of information integrates in a meaningful, focused way.
Ken is a passionate photographer and a lover of things wild. He loves spending time in South Africa's Kruger National Park and the forests of southern Germany. Originally from South Africa, he now lives in Germany. He consults to clients globally. Connect with Ken on +49 1578 150 6789 or email. See his work at http://zanendaba.com https://www.instagram.com/drkenjen/
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