This article first appeared in Alpha Efficiency Magazine: Issue 10: Habits & Rituals
I have, for most of my life, been a Round Peg, (weight jokes aside) resisting the pressure to fit myself into Square Holes. I understood early in life that the less I pretended to be a Square Peg, the happier I would eventually be.
There is nothing wrong with not fitting – or not wanting to fit – into the Square Hole, and as I have learned over the years, most people don’t know even the difference.
One of those examples of being a Round Peg was when I decided to make my iPad my main machine. Since 2011, the iPad is my main machine. I wrote a lot about this in a book I wrote with Michael Sliwinski called #iPadOnly.
Why use an iPad when you could use a PC or a Mac to do the job? Many even will insist that you need one of those to do a better job. As a Round Peg, one of my favorite things to do, is to discover new ways to do the job better, without resorting to Square Peg tactics.
If my iPad can do the job better, simpler, faster and even more efficiently, why I would like to use a PC or a Mac? You use the best tool for the job at hand, in my world that it is the iPad.
I’ve had the chance to do many things in my life; Among those, pretend that I was a Square Peg. I told you already that most people don’t know the difference; If I wanted, I could just suppress my Round Peg traits and convince the world I’m just a “quirky” Square Peg.
The problem is in your soul. I haven’t yet met one Round Peg person who is happy pretending to be a Square Peg. I for sure wasn’t happy. The idea of being back to a Square Peg, made me sick. Still does.
Don’t get me wrong, I know many incredible Square Pegs; My wife, for example, is one, and she is great!
What can you do if you think you are a Round Peg but feel stuck in a Square Hole? First, smile, breathe and let me assure you that even if the solution will not be instantaneous or easy, it is, first and foremost, Possible.
What does it mean to be a Round Peg? In my opinion, a Round Peg is simply a different person, someone who wants to do things in a different way, usually a better way. It is the people who dream to do things not towards the norm or the normal (the Square Hole) but toward something that is different.
I have worked as a Sales Manager and Sales person for many years and my best days, sales and experiences are those in which I have acted as a Round Peg in a world of Square Holes.
I am not advocating that you shouldn’t interact with the Square Hole world, I am advocating that you do it as a Round Peg instead of pretending that you are a Square Peg. There is nothing wrong with being different; Act different and do it in a different way, especially when you are different in essence.
If you are a Round Peg there is nothing worse that you can do than try to pretend to be a Square Peg. Trust me, I have seen it time and time again: People sitting in places that other Square Pegs consider incredibly successful and they are absolutely miserable. it is what I call: Success that tastes like Failure.
These people seem to have incredibly successful careers from the outside (from the other Square Pegs’ perspective) but on the inside (from their Round Peg Soul Perspective) they are simply miserable.
I have seen it time and time again: People sitting in places that other Square Pegs consider incredibly successful and they are absolutely miserable. it is what I call Success that tastes like Failure.
I am not saying sell everything and abandon the rest so you can be a Round Peg. I am saying: understand if you aren’t a Square Peg and make the Square Hole work better for your Round Peg Soul. It is that simple.
Franz Kafka was trained as a lawyer, he worked for an Insurance Company. He showed his Square Peg side every day. In his free time, he fed his Round Peg side by writing.
One of the big problems to be different is that there seem to be so many Square Holes and so few Round Holes, that the Round Holes are already taken and it seems like there is no chance for you.
It is that feeling, that sense of insurmountable challenge that renders the cemeteries full of Round Pegs with unfulfilled dreams: unwritten books, unsung songs, aspiring travelers who never left home. All those Round Pegs who spent their entire lives pretending to be Square Pegs.
Stop pretending. Stop trying to be a better Square Peg. Embrace your Roundness, learn to interact with the Square Holes while enjoying the fact that you are a Round Peg. Enjoy your uniqueness, embrace your dreams and feed your soul.