The “Average Graphite” Theory: What makes you think you’re so special?

In my experience,  there are two types of people in the world – those who believe you’re special and those who don’t. Asian parents tend to fall in the latter category.

That’s not to say they don’t love their children or they’re not proud of their children’s achievements. It’s just they don’t believe in the Special Snowflake theory.

macro photography of snowflake
Photo by Egor Kamelev on Pexels.com

You’re all familiar with this theory: you’re unique because of your specific genetic make-up, there is no one else like you out there, you bring something special to the table, and so on and so forth.

Yeaaaaah … Asian parents don’t believe that. If the Special Snowflake theory is the signature of Western millennial upbringing, then the “Average Graphite” theory is the hallmark of Tiger Cub upbringing.

The Average Graphite theory is the ying to the Special Snowflake theory’s yang. Every snowflake has a distinctive pattern, whereas every piece of graphite has the same molecular structure. A snowflake is unique by nature and one appreciates its beauty for what it is. In contrast, graphite can become a diamond (i.e., special and valuable), but only if compressed under immense pressure.

The Special Snowflake theory believes in a person’s natural talent. The Average Graphite theory believes in hard work.

How does the “Average Graphite” manifest itself? Tell me if any of this sounds familiar: Oh you want to be an artist/writer/[fill in Unapproved Profession]? What makes you think you’re so special? There are millions of works of art / books out there on this subject. What makes you think people will want to buy your painting / read your book? Be realistic. Get your head out of the clouds. Pursue an Approved Profession.

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t believe everyone is a Special Snowflake. Some people are more like Average Graphite and could do with a reality check (those are usually the ones who think they’re Special Snowflakes).

However, I think every Tiger Cub could do with a bit of Special Snowflake therapy. Nobody who ever became somebody did so because they thought they were just Average Graphite. Do you think Beyonce thought she was just Average Graphite? Roger Federer? Any of the Presidents of the United States?

I’m not saying you’ll be the next Beyonce. But maybe there’s something you’ve been thinking about pursuing, an inkling that you may be really good at it, a suspicion that you may bring something unique to the table. Try it. What’s the worst that could happen?

 

 

 

 

 

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