Thought for the Day – Thomas J. Watson, Jr. on Conformity

If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good.”– Thomas J. Watson, Jr.

I remember early in my career, as I entered my first big corporate job, being so astonished at the talent of my coworkers. Their intellect and self-assurance intimidated me. During department meetings, I would sit quietly, for instance, never asking a question and hoping I wouldn’t be asked one in return, lest I appear unprepared or say something patently stupid. My goal was to merely live up to the expectations my coworkers had of someone (it could have been anyone) doing the job that I occupied. In the words of Thomas Watson, I was a flattened conformist. Little or no thought was given to how my particular skills and interests might be uniquely applied to advance the company’s mission. I was comfortable in my little box. And to keep it that way, when challenged, I’d acquiesce and seek the path of least resistance. With no raison d’être — no cause to be personally invested in — I could be vocationally lazy, despite laboring hard. But conformity by choosing comfort over cause was a denial of the unique gifts God gave me. Suppressing my unique wiring dishonored His creative expression. Even today, I must continually resist the desire to be what I see in others and remind myself that my path is unique. And it honors God best when I stand up and be counted for it.

Your thoughts? Are there areas of conformity that denies the unique expression of God’s gifting in your life?

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