Most people recognize them by the way they do things – or rather, don’t do things.
They don’t conform.
They march to their own drum beat.
They attempt what has been declared to be impossible.
They are the black sheep.
When I was growing up, the term ‘black sheep’ was considered derogatory. It meant that you didn’t fit in with society. You were too different to be included. You were the square peg when all that was required of you was to fit in a circular hole. In some instances, you were the ugly duckling of the group.
But as I’ve grown, I’ve come to take the term ‘black sheep’ as a compliment. Much like the term ‘innovator’, ‘rebel’, ‘rogue’, or ‘mold-breaker’.
Black sheep are different. They stand out. They don’t go downstream. They don’t run with the grain. They tend to be found in unexplored territory, wandering, striving for new and strange. They tend to be found trying out new inventions or ways of doing things. They tend to be found uncovering the secrets that lie at the heart of every lie.
Black sheep are often hated for their uniqueness. They are cast as dissidents, traitors to the way things should be. They make enemies by pushing the boundary lines. They make enemies by exposing and/or changing the system. They make enemies by cutting the lines that operate the mechanical puppet working behind the scenes.
Many times, black sheep are considered the weak ones of the bunch. Weak, frail, too different to be effective. They are of different color than their peers. They are of different beliefs, different strategies, different ways of looking at things. That difference though can move mountains. It can shake empires. It can change the course of history.
In reality, black sheep often have a jealous eye turned toward them. Others envy them – because the black sheep are doing what others wish they had the courage or independence or tenacity to do. Black sheep stand up when others sit.They move forward when others stand. And they speak when others cover their mouths.
Are you a black sheep, or just one of the herd?