Whether it’s philosophy or pub talk, when it comes to human being, the most common and cited characteristic is uniqueness.
This aspect could be taken for granted if, paradoxically, much hardship and distress weren’t associated with not fully embracing one’s uniqueness; many frustrations come from constantly comparing oneself (or being compared) to others and perceiving the difference as a deficiency; in this respect, many developmental approaches give “prescriptions” to abide by.

What does uniqueness mean and how is it handled within the self-empowerment approach? It means acknowledging that everyone is unique and different, both in their physical and non-physical aspects. For each of us, we can define a baseline and an absolute potential (think about how different can two twins be!). It also means that, when such potential meets the external environment, everyone has some aspects that might turn into strengths (for example, liveliness, empathy, curiosity, entrepreneurship) and others that, on the contrary, may become hindrances (for example, aggressiveness, impulsivity, personal detachment, indifference).

Developing means enhancing such absolute potential according to three guidelines:

  • expressing one’s strengths to their full potential;
  • managing one’s difficulties and killers;
  • adding new ingredients, thus outlining new and unique developmental paths.

By doing this, one may end up being transformed while at the same time maintaining his/her origin on the background. This may also imply that our inner and most rooted characteristics take over during difficult times or that we may experience some difficulties when the attainment of certain goals requires the use of some “added” skills, or of our absolute potential.
Being aware of one’s potential also means being better prepared to face hardships or hindrances as well as being ready to “bounce forward”. Such uniqueness – which should be looked at without judgment – should lead and direct one’s developmental path towards some specific skills: uniqueness is both the starting and ending point of such path.

It’s for this reason that, according to the self-empowerment model, behavioral training (i.e., training on communication, leadership, problem solving, etc.) should focus on the individual and his/her own distinctive features. So, for example, there shouldn’t be a sole way of developing an effective leadership style. Everyone will inevitably have their own style which, in turn, will be the outcome of an intense evolutionary process. Some will strengthen their leadership style by giving it some drive and energy, others will “smooth” it by adding a little empathy and listening skills.
If it is true that we are all born unique, evolution and development in self-empowerment urge us to continue being so!

I would like to suggest you an experiment that might help you gain greater awareness of your unique and special features: try asking someone (a parent, an aunt or uncle, a grandfather…) that has known you since you were a child what were the most admirable and unique characteristics you had back then. After having interviewed him/her, try to think or “feel” the extent to which you still own such qualities up to today and which of those qualities you might retrieve. Finally, try making a synthesis that combines all your resources, both old and new, to develop the recipe of your uniqueness.

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