This is a photo I took at Harpers Ferry.
There was a train coming by pretty fast, and on the flatbeds were what seemed like a endless line of Tractors.
— Red, red, red, red, blue, and then red again.
I hurried to get my iPhone out and capture this photo while the train was rushing by at full speed.
I love this shot, because it teaches an important lesson about diversity.
Firstly, it reminds me of the children’s song, “One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just doesn’t belong.”
From early in life, we are taught to conform a certain way–based on norms, culture, values, policies, rules, regulations, laws, religion, and so on.
There always seems to be a reason that we have to talk, dress, think, and conduct ourselves–properly, politically-correct, and just like everyone else.
And we are warned that “the nail that sticks out, gets hammered down”–so don’t do it–it’s too risky–you’ll be labeled bad or worse yet, crazy.
So while creativity and innovation is valued if it can bring someone a nice profit, we are still cautioned not to go out too far on a limb or else you risk getting ridiculed and rejected–hey “you may never work again in this town.”
But in this picture, the tractors tell a different story–that it’s okay to be a blue tractor in a long parade of red ones.
No, the blue tractor wasn’t a mistake, it isn’t abnormal or alien or evil, it’s just different and it’s cool.
The blue tractor stands out, but it isn’t a bad thing to stand out–and the blue tractor won’t get hammered down.
It’s okay to be a blue tractor in a long procession of red tractors–and it’s great to just be who you are–blue, red, yellow, green, or whatever.
Conformity is not normalcy–it’s just look-alike, copycat, and probably even boring.
Being different can be novel, inventive, out-of-the-box and exciting–and more important it can usher in needed change.
I think we need more blue tractors in a red tractor world.
Will you take a chance and be a blue tractor too?
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)