"If Everyone is Special, Nobody is Special"

I recently watched The Incredibles for the first time in a long time and became mesmerized by this scene between mother and child. Watch this:


So many messages in this short little clip!

#1 - "You always say, 'Do your best,' but you don't really mean it.  Why can't I do the best that I can do?"

I remember a moment when my oldest was working on his handwriting.  He started to throw a fit because it wasn't as easy as he wanted it to be.  My response at the time was, "It's okay.  Just do your best."  Looking back I noticed that such a response was really saying, "Don't try too hard to be perfect."  His handwriting is not horrible today, but I wonder if asking him to do his best rather than giving him an opportunity to improve and truly reach his potential taught him the adverse principle.

For example, fast forward about 5 years.  I'd been teaching him piano and he came to a tricky song or technique.  He immediately began to throw a fit because it wasn't easy.  For who knows how many minutes I sat there and made him practice that line over, and over, and over again.  I have to say, his piano playing is much better than his handwriting!

My point? What do we really mean when we tell our children to "Just do your best?"  Are we using this as a phrase in such a way that they simply settle for mediocre or are we really expecting them to reach for their best and to achieve what is seemingly impossible?

#2 - In response to #1, Mrs. Incredible says, "Right now, honey, the world just wants us to fit in and to fit in we just gotta be like everybody else."

What is it about fitting in that seems so enticing?  What does "fitting in" even mean?  Why are we sometimes afraid to stand out?  I have a couple of teenage daughters right now going through this lovely identity discovery.  One wants to wear name brand clothes so she doesn't look different than her peers.  The other is hesitant to talk in class because she doesn't want to draw attention to herself (and her strong thirst for learning new things!).  I love this quote I found online:

"There has always been a tension between freedom and equality. This tension does not only exist in the world outside of us, but within us as well. We want to belong and yet we want to be true to ourselves. If we pretend to be someone else that we are not in order to fit in, we are always insecure that we will be found out and that we will lose the love and respect of those around us. At the same time, though, we fear that if we are true to ourselves we will never be loved and respected for who we really are. And so we are driven by our fears and our insecurities, unable to be content with that we have or able to grasp and seize our deepest dreams." from https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2012/07/15/if-everyone-is-special-then-nobody-is/

C.S. Lewis describes this "fitting in" phenomenon as an "Inner Ring."  We all want to be part of an circle of some sort, he says.  He states, "Until you conquer the fear of being an outside, an outsider you will always be."

I know when my own insecurities start to take the better of me it's often because I'm worrying about being accepted by others.  Or, I worry that my personality is such that I might come off a little too strong and thus offend someone.  We all have personal fears for why we don't embrace our true selves and we all desire to be accepted.  Maybe showing acceptance to others is the key to overcoming our own worries of being accepted.

#3 - "Everyone is special, Dash."
        "Which is another way of saying no one is."

There is also clip toward the end of the movie where Syndrome says, "I'll give them heroics...And when I'm old I'll sell my inventions so everyone can be heroes, everyone can be super!  And when everyone's super, no one will be."

Brene Brown calls this phenomenon scarcity.  If someone has a talent, then I can't have it.  If someone speaks highly of another, then I must not be so great.  If they have a big house, I will probably never get one.  These are obviously thoughts from the adversary, for nothing can be further from the truth!  The Lord has promised everyone all that He hath (Luke 12:44).  God is no respector of persons and will grant to each of us that which we need in order to return to Him.

Lynne Twist, author of  The Soul of Money writes, “We each have the choice in any setting to step back and let go of the mindset of scarcity. Once we let go of scarcity, we discover the surprising truth of sufficiency....Sufficiency resides inside of each of us, and we can call it forward. It is a consciousness, an attention, an intentional choosing of the way we think about our circumstances. " 

So, next time we think, "I must not be great because look at her!" Let us quickly tell ourselves that's a lie and remember that we truly are children of a loving Heavenly Father who is watching over us.  We have enough.  We are enough!

 - - - - -

There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. ...It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which,if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship..."

C.S. Lewis, Weight of Glory


  1. I LOVE those parts of the movie for the same reasons as you. They really made me think and continue to do so. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and quotes from literature to support it.

  2. "We are enough!"
    I love your thoughts on this movie and the quotes you shared. Thanks Ju!

  3. Oh I miss you! I needed to read this today.



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