We’re all different, we’re all the same

A man with one blue shoe and one yellow shoe

After all the conversations and interactions I’ve had with people, this paradox is my favorite thing about the human condition.

We’re all different…

We all vary wildly in our: values, interests, senses of humor, perspectives, strengths, weaknesses, appearance, and styles….

I love how I can never truly know who a person is until I have a conversation with them.

I’ve met white people, black people, gay people, tall people, short people, trans people, asian people, hispanic people, skinny people, fat people, smart people, and not-so-smart people…who are hilarious, compassionate, and kind.

I’ve met white people, black people, gay people, tall people, short people, trans people, asian people, hispanic people, skinny people, fat people, smart people, and not-so-smart people…who are boring, selfish assholes.

When a person is born, it’s like pulling on a slot machine. We never know what kind of human is entering this life.

We don’t choose our parents and we don’t choose our environments. Meaning, we don’t choose our DNA or our brain makeup. Meaning, we don’t choose any of the things that truly make us different.

I didn’t choose to not be born in the middle of the Syrian civil war. I didn’t choose to be born to parents who didn’t beat me. I didn’t choose anything about me.

We’re all different. But….

We’re all the same…

This didn’t really hit me until I started coaching people: sitting down with individuals to have deep and vulnerable conversations about what they want and what’s getting in the way.

How are we all the same?

To get the obvious answer out of the way, we’re all made of the same stuff. I’m made of bones and organs and tissue. And I’m willing to bet that all of my neighbors are too.

Speaking of neighbors, we’re all living on the same giant, floating rock in space.

“This is my area of rock. You stay in your area of rock.”

“We’re hurting this rock!”

“No we’re not, get your facts straight!”

But the simplest fact that ties us all together is by far my favorite.

No matter where we are or what we do for a living, we all want to feel like we’re spending our time well while we’re alive.

My job is to talk to people about what they want. Yes, there are patterns and similarities between the desires of different people: productivity, meaningful work, freedom. But they each pop up with different levels of stress and anxiety.

But at the end of the day, we all want stuff, and most of us feel like there’s something in the way of us getting that stuff.

Figuring out what we want and how to overcome what’s getting in the way is a life-long battle. We’re all fighting wildly different battles.

But at the same time…we’re all fighting the exact same fight.