My special power? Being a freak.
Information doesn’t stick in my mind properly; if you give me a series of information or instructions then I’ll only be able to partially recall it. I can be easily distracted; I suspect that if I told any of my friends I’d been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder they wouldn’t bat an eyelid. A low scorer academically, my whole experience at school reinforced the idea to me that I was, well… a little bit dim. I was good at art and writing (and very good at spelling and grammar due to all the books I was encouraged to read by my parents) and also did well at public speaking when that came up (occasionally standing up in front of the class to read, plus Bible readings in Church). My secondary school appeared to think that I wasn’t trying – as if somehow I wanted to perform badly. ‘Must try harder’ isn’t much help if you’re already trying to do your best.
On the other hand, I interact very well by spontaneously connecting disparate information, which I capitalised on and developed significantly as a stand-up comic. My special power is delivering the unexpected in a funny way, being odd. I love it; surprises and quick thinking allow me to create those magic moments which I believe characterise the best (most interesting) communication. I define this as being ‘curious’, in both senses of the word – intriguing and highly interested in everything (people in particular).
Your Special Power and How to Use It
Yours may be something entirely different, and discovering it may take a bit of work and self-realisation; it’s probably best to get some help to get a fresh perspective (after all, you’re a humble soul who doesn’t recognise their true appeal and distinctiveness). Get a trusted friend or colleague to tell you what they know you for, and try to accept it. Feedback like “You’re funny”, “You don’t take any nonsense” or “You get things done” are each wonderfully positive, even if you weren’t expecting to hear them. It may be apparently less complimentary (get them to be brutally honest otherwise it’s no help), such as you’re “chaotic”, “loud” or “quiet”, but these can all still be useful. Great power and great responsibility*, right? Accept your persona, then embrace and celebrate it. Here’s another benefit:
Put Your Thing Down, Flip It and Reverse It**
We crave good stories, which are made of two things:
- Interesting characters (that’s you).
- Horrible situations (you can probably think of one you’ve been in).
What problems have your special power got you into? Talk about those! Awkward and unpleasant scenarios can be very funny in hindsight – other people’s misfortune can be a guilty pleasure, and if that other person is your past self then there’s no unwilling victim to the humour because you’re describing it freely.
- Capitalise on your special power; if it feels like a curse then see if you can turn it into a blessing. For example, if you celebrate your chaoticness*** (is that a word? It should be) then it shows that you’re OK with it and it reduces the pressure to be perfect. Which nobody is. Right?
- The freaks are the most interesting people we meet.
- Being different is good when competing for business because it’s memorable, and being memorable is highly desirable.
* Spider-Man reference. Thwip.
** Missy Elliott reference. Work it, let me work it.
*** Chaosness. Chaoticality. Chaostomy. No idea, sorry.