What is “normal”? For years I believed that a normal person is one who does not need extra help. As a diverse thinker I have needed a lot of extra help. The equation was simple: I need extra help, therefore I am not normal. And therefore, I am worth less. Only broken things need to be fixed.
This creates a terribly ironic, unproductive cycle for diverse thinkers. We often do not want to use the coping strategies that could help us because we want to feel “normal”, but it is using the coping strategies that will help us function more as a “normal” person.
After years of beating myself up for failures, but also achieving successes, I have a hard won self-acceptance. I now see “normal” as the ability to conform your behavior to what other people do, and in doing it the way they do it. What’s so good about that? Innovation and forward movement has always come from the exceptional, not from conformity.
So chase achievement, not normalcy. Define for yourself what you must accomplish to feel fulfilled…..make a plan….then go after it. Let your effort, your creativity and your progress
toward these goals define your worth, not how long it takes you to get there, how much help you need, or by comparing yourself to what other people are doing. Focus on what you can control; your attitude, your actions and your progress.
Fully embracing this concept takes time and persistence, and more often than not, experiencing many failures before success. Diverse thinkers need to accept their limitations, recognize their strengths, create and use coping strategies, build reciprocal relationships of support, and accept help when it is needed. We need to push ourselves to be as successful as possible, and to bring as many other diverse thinkers along with us as we can. We need to re-frame our struggles as learning experiences, and teach each other how to learn.