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The Story of Two Watches (Part 1): Dare to Be Different

This is a story of how my two watches help me dare to be different.

I’m a watch-wearer, and I always have been. For years, I was really into Swatch watches: analog watches with hundreds of designs and styles, not to mention plenty of old-school charm. 

Enter the Apple Watch.

As an Apple user, a tech junkie, a busy business owner, and someone who was starting to pay more attention to my health and fitness, the Apple Watch just made sense. The functionality of my Apple Watch was simply unbeatable, and soon, my beloved Swatch watches were relegated to an old shoebox in my closet (a very unceremonious end). 

And then, Swatch came out with a new design—something I’d never seen before. Something I loved. Something I had to have. 

Now, in my opinion, an Apple Watch is never going to be as stylish as a killer Swatch (sorry, Apple, but the interchangeable bands just don’t cut it). Likewise, even my favorite Swatch could never be as functional or practically useful as my Apple Watch.

So I was facing a dilemma. One watch I loved, but didn’t need, and one watch I needed, but didn’t love. 

What did I do? I started wearing both.

The choice to be different 

Image may contain: Ward Andrews, sky, stripes, cloud and outdoor
The two watch way, in action.

Now, a person wearing two watches isn’t exactly something you see every day. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever run into anyone else wearing two watches like I do. But I choose to keep doing it. I choose to wear two watches. I choose to be different.

It’s not an easy choice, for sure. In Part 2 of this two-part series, we’ll talk more about the judgment that comes my way because of my unconventional accessorizing habits. 

But it’s a choice I continue to make. It’s a choice that’s important to me. 

Being different might make you a target—of ridicule, of shaming, of unkind words. But just as that’s true, so is something else: being different is essential to “creating happy” in your life.

Why? Because you are different. You are different from anyone and everyone else, and that will never change. The unique combination of your talents, habits, strengths, weaknesses, hobbies, passions, and more sets you apart from every other person on the planet. And if you can’t learn to embrace that in an authentic way, you’re likely holding yourself back from true, deep happiness. 

“The one who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The one who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been.”

Albert Einstein

Permission to be different

Society, however, is not set up to reward “different” people. Even as we make attempts to promote diversity and acceptance, there is still a long ways to go before “different” is applauded and rewarded that way it should be. 

That’s why I say we have to dare to be different. You might not feel safe exposing your “different” side. You might think that people will laugh if they see your version of “two watches.” (And honestly, they might.) Regardless, I want each of us to start giving ourselves permission to live according to our own individual truth, no matter how “different” it might seem.

Here’s why I’m giving you permission to be different, and why you should give yourself that permission, too.

You deserve to have your needs met.

Like I said before, you’re different from everyone else. That’s a matter of fact. It comes with the territory of being a human being. No matter how “average” you feel, there’s always going to be something that makes you “you.”

That means that your needs are going to be different from others’ needs. What makes you happy is going to be different from what makes other people happy—and you deserve to be happy.

Many people ignore their own needs in favor of others’ needs, thinking that focusing on themselves makes them selfish or self-absorbed. But an empty cup can’t give anything to anyone else. If your needs aren’t met, you’ll have nothing left to give. 

Here’s the bottom line: as a human being, you’re entitled to happiness. Say it: “I deserve happiness.” You deserve to get what you need in order to live your best life. If that means you need or want to wear two watches, you deserve the freedom to do that. 

Don’t think about whether or not your needs are “strange” to other people. If that’s what you need, that’s what you need. Period. Be honest with yourself about what those needs are. Don’t ask for too much, but certainly don’t ask for too little. Get what you need.

You are not one-sided.

You are not a person that can be summed up in one word: happy, sad, anxious, depressed, funny, antisocial, intelligent, kind. Just one adjective cannot adequately describe any human being. We’re too complex, too multidimensional, for that to ever work. 

The symbols of yin and yang, while sometimes reduced to meaningless designs, actually have a deep and powerful meaning. The philosophy behind the yin-yang symbol is that the universe is governed by opposite, but complementary, forces: good and bad, light and dark, positive and negative, and so on. 

The yin-yang symbol is an interesting study in dualism:

  • A circle with black and white halves: the two opposing sides come together to form a whole 
  • Divided by a curved line: the separation between the two ideas is not absolute or stark 
  • With an opposite-colored dot on each side: there is a seed of lightness in the darkness (and vice versa)

As the yin-yang embraces the coexistence of opposite ideas, so do you. You are capable of holding two conflicting ideas at once, of valuing two seemingly opposite things. You can value style and substance, appreciate the old and the new, experience fear and love in a single moment. And get this: you can even wear an analog watch and a digital one, if that’s what meets your needs.

These things come together to form a whole “you.” You can be multiple things at once, and that’s okay. Whether that’s reflected in your work, your behavior, your opinions, or your fashion choices—it’s okay. You be you. Dare to be different. You have my permission. (And cosmic duality, as well as my wrist duality, agrees with me. Just saying.)

Unconventional solutions are sometimes the best ones.

Looking for a more practical reason to give yourself permission to be different? Consider this: sometimes the best solutions are the unexpected ones. Sometimes, you have a problem that can be solved most effectively by wearing two watches.

  • If you travel a lot, you might appreciate having watches in two different time zones (analog stays home, Apple Watch magically picks up local time).
  • If you have a watch you love that doesn’t work, you might want to wear it anyway, and then you’d need to wear one that does work as well.
  • Maybe you’re a super indecisive person. Two watches means one less tough choice you have to make.
  • Maybe you’re notoriously late and you’re trying to fix it.
  • Or maybe you just like always getting a second opinion.

Wearing two watches can offer a practical solution to any of these problems. Is it conventional? No. Does that mean it’s a bad idea? Also no.

Thinking outside the box (really creating a whole new way to think about the box) in this way enhances your creativity and encourages you to look at things differently. What risks would you take if you weren’t afraid of looking foolish or failing? And, what problems could you solve by taking those risks?

If you’re looking for permission to be different, just remember that “different” might give you the answer you’ve been looking for.

Why not?

Why be different? Well, why not? Why does it matter what other people think? Who really cares if you get a weird look at the airport, a bad review on your latest creative work, or a guilt-trip from your mother-in-law?

When you dare to be different, you’re trying to create something (whether it’s a product, a process, a new habit, or a whole new life) that doesn’t currently exist. You’re shaping a new reality. You’re not trying to perpetuate things/processes/ideas that already exist, and to be frank, you don’t really need someone getting all negative on your efforts. 

It’s easy to say, “Don’t care about what other people think.” Actually not caring, on the other hand, is extremely difficult. I speak from personal experience here, but I also speak from personal experience when I say: you’ll get further, personally and creatively, when you stop caring so much about what other people think, and start focusing on what you want and love. You’ll be more fulfilled and more at peace. If you zero in on your goals and dreams, and work to create that reality in your life—even if it means being different—you’ll be happier.

Wearing two watches works for me, so I embrace it. What will you embrace? What part of your “differentness” are you going to pull out? How will you use it to take you further, help you grow, and make you happier? How is daring to be different going to change your life? Only you can answer that. So, what are you waiting for?

(In Part 2 of The Story of Two Watches, we’ll dive deeper into the judgment that often surrounds differences, and how to change your mindset so that you don’t give in to it. Don’t miss it!)

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