22nd May 2020

Culture / Featured / Amanda Blair

Celebrating Uniqueness by Amanda Blair

126 5 mins 7

Amanda Blair, the author of Limited Edition of One, explains her concept of “daily differentness” and how we should celebrate individuality. She outlines the behaviours, actions and encounters that turn ordinary into extraordinary in our everyday lives.

An eight-year-old very simply helped me process the idea of uniqueness about five years ago. I’d always thought I had it figured out, that it was something to strive for by making a massive effort or required doing something deliberately outrageous to turn heads. Then, when said eight-year-old handed me his picture of a six-legged bird (which his art teacher had given him a lousy mark for, “because birds don’t have six legs”), I realised that uniqueness is everyone’s starting point – not a distant destination. It’s who we’ve always been. We simply need to nurture the habit of staying that way and understanding the superpower that being a ‘limited edition of one’ represents.

From the moment we are born, we are unique. We do, sense, think, feel and imagine different things, in different ways. We are different from each other without trying – and we certainly don’t need attention-seeking outfits to help us stand out from one another.

This is the core of the “daily differentness” methodology and mindset. In workshops, one-on-one sessions and through my book, Limited Edition of One, I encourage individuals to focus instinctively and playfully on the infinite number of “little things” that sets them apart from others. The aim is to make this affinity to our intrinsic individuality second nature. Considering the small stuff can have a big impact on our working and personal lives, it reliably aligns who we are with what we do. It supports us in living as the best possible versions of ourselves. It makes our stories exclusively ours and genuinely interesting to others.

There are still plenty of art teachers out there who are in love with two-legged birds and employers reluctant to avert their eyes from ticking the qualification boxes.

Amanda Blair

Of course, I’ve met some resistance along the way. There are still plenty of art teachers out there who are in love with two-legged birds and employers reluctant to avert their eyes from ticking the qualification boxes. In these moments I imagine that I have the honour of interviewing a Nobel Peace Prize winner. I would of course do some serious homework beforehand to find out about the interviewee’s career and achievements, but that publicly available information would not be what I’d be dying to tell my best friend afterwards. What I would dream of unearthing is previously unshared detail on what makes this person tick – really tick. What was their favourite childhood toy, game or activity and why? If time was elastic, what experiences would they reduce and elongate? What’s their take on silence? I’d be fascinated by the ordinary seeds of their extraordinary.

So what makes you unique, every single day of your life? Here are three easily accessible areas to kick off your path to finding “daily differentness”:

Language

No two humans have exactly the same vocabulary. There will always be different amounts and combinations of words, a sprinkling of jargon, regional peculiarities, fads and fashions. So, what might you come out with that would stump most people with the same native language? Skim through some text on your screen or on paper. Which three words jump out at you and what do they make you think of? You were probably taught as a child that “A” is for apple; what does it stand for in your eyes now?

Geography

Everyone takes a unique physical route through life and we all have our own response to the environments we find ourselves in. For example, the very location that someone was romantically proposed to could very easily be the same place that a total stranger lost a contact lens at a few hours before. Think about it: which locations on your personal map have influenced your path? Where are you now? Give it a new name that would only mean something to you. It can be anything from a fragrance brand to a combination of colour and object. How would you define “home”? Is it a place with a familiar smell when you re-enter it? Somewhere you feel safe? A place where you can make breakfast naked? Give your definition some thought. How does it reflect your personality and lifestyle?

Sleep

We all have a different sleep repertoire, from the amount we sleep and our sleep rituals to the dreams and nightmares that we have. Disclaimer: “daily differentness” isn’t just reserved for daylight hours. If your bed could talk, what would it say about you? What elements of your life have had a dreamlike, surreal quality? Have you been in situations where you’ve wanted to pinch yourself to believe they’re true or, on the other hand, wished you could wake up from? What would you like to be woken up by?

So is your limited edition of one taking shape? Is the quirky autobiography you never imagined putting together seeing the light of day? Is it becoming obvious that your fingerprint is only the start of your amazing uniqueness story?

Ok – now go and draw a bird as though no one else is watching!

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Amanda Blair
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Amanda Blair is a communications professional, university lecturer and the author of the Limited Edition of One. Through workshops, one-on-one sessions and her book, Amanda motivates people to harness their creativity and to celebrate their own intrinsic uniqueness.

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