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Being Out of Step is Better than Being Out of Order

Picture of Karl Palachuk

Karl W. Palachuk
May 5, 2014

There’s a great British mystery series from the 1990s called A Touch of Frost, starring David Jason. As with many of these shows, Inspector Frost is a little odd. He doesn’t quite fit in with what everyone else wants him to be. And, of course, that’s part of his success.

Inspector FrostOne of my favorite lines from the series comes in an interaction with a younger detective. The youger detective loses his temper and apologizes for being “out of order.”

“That’s all right.” says Inspector Frost, “I’ll tell you one little trick, though. Out of order is no good to anyone. Out of step is much better. That way you tread on the bits the other people miss.”

I love the idea that being “Out of Step” is a good thing. After all, we each have our own weirdness that makes us unique from all the other people in the world. And as Frost says, when you’re out of step you see things other people don’t see. Not only do you have permission to BE different, you have the ability to SEE differently.

My brother Manuel likes to say that everybody is somebody’s weirdo. No matter how “normal” you think you are, you still have unique differences that make you special. And someone’s going to see your different-ness as strange or odd. That’s okay. We all live both sides of that equation every day.

Maybe life’s a little more fun once we accept our different-ness.

As social beings, we have a tendency to want to fit in. By definition, that means tamping down part of our uniqueness. Fully expressing your uniqueness can be scary. But at the same time, we all look for people in our lives who are just different enough from the masses that they’ll be fun to be around.

Consider adding this to your search for balance: How can I enjoy more of the authentic “me” that’s out of step with the rest of the world?

Remember: the more authentically you act, the lower your stress because you don’t have to put on a mask for other people. Building that authentic uniqueness into the roles you play (parent, friend, lover, boss, employee, etc.) will help you enjoy more of the life you’re building for yourself.



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