Peacocks And Penguins
Posted October 28, 2011on:
Several years ago I read a great book on diversity called A Peacock in a Land of Penguins. It’s one of those fables that teach life lessons about being different. The story refers to workplaces and organizations, but its lessons apply to everything in life.
This book made a great impact on me when I first read it. I bought it for work, and applied some of it to a staff workshop I did on diversity. I remember thinking I was a peacock in a land of “everyone looks and acts the same” penguins.
I hadn’t thought about peacocks and penguins in a long time. Until I found I had used that phrase in a cover letter I wrote for a job I applied to this week. I was talking about me, describing my willingness to take risks and put myself out there, even when my ideas and opinions are contrary to the majority.
In other words, being a Peacock!
Many organizations today are still run by penguins – people who all look, sound, dress and think alike. Penguins say they want creative thinkers, but actually many prefer the status quo.
Those who are different – talented peacocks with unusual flair and style – make penguins uneasy.
I went through my bookcase to see if I still had the book and sure enough, I do. I started to re-read parts of it.
I think people who stutter are peacocks in a land of penguins. We are unique. We sound different and we make people be better listeners.
Peacocks represent diversity. Think about it. In all of your groups, there are penguins. In schools, sports, media, business and government.
Penguins all look alike. They all wear the same uniform to represent their particular penguin group. You know what I mean, right?
And then one of us comes along – a PEACOCK! Loud, bold, different, unique, smart, funny and full of life. And hugely valuable. Peacocks keep the world from being boring!
I am happy to be a peacock! What about you?