As a society, we sometimes tend to put people in boxes and narrow an individual character right down to a single label — particularly if she or he is different from us.
Although accepting the labels people place on us can sometimes seem natural; doing so can be limiting. However, when you defy labels, you can set the tone for your own life, say the experts. Here are some things to consider:
Early Start Label
Since kindergarten, labels are used in schools to define kids. Teachers label students according to skills, abilities, and behavior. Children label other students according to social status.
At such a young age, kids often internalize these general ideas about themselves; and getting over the idea that somebody is a “slow learner” or “stupid” can be an uphill battle. Without a little bit of willpower, labels can become self-fulfilling prophecies.
Description vs. Label
Describing people, places and things is a big part of how we communicate. But there is a difference between providing valuable or specific information about someone, and easily labeling them. Evaluate your words and see if you can hold on to the facts and insights. You can help others define themselves but not take part in labeling.
Most people have been labeled at some point. However, labels apply not only to people, but also to the cars we drive and the homes we live in. For example, since the first MINI car was made in 1959, there have been many names for it.
“People have labeled the MINI brand for years. We are referred to as ‘small car’ or ‘cute car’,” said Tom Noble, head of MINI Brand’s communications department.
Noble says that while the brand has recognized those labels, they’ve also attempted to innovate and challenge them in some way — and this has led to product innovation.
In the spirit of self-definition, MINI launched the Defy Labels contest. Anyone can nominate themselves or someone else who goes against the label in a bold and powerful way. After the nomination period, a series of voting will be carried out to determine the finalists and winners. The winner gets a two year lease on the new MINI Clubman.
“This contest isn’t about rebellion, it’s about creating your own path despite the labels it’s been given; a concept that the MINI brand understands and embodies,” said Noble.
To learn more about the contest, visit mini-defylabels.com or join the conversation on #DefyLabels.
Whether you are with friends or enemies, family or strangers, you may must deal with being labeled by others. And the longer you know someone, the harder it is going to be to shake off the one-word conception they’ve of you.
In the face of other people who define you, being true to yourself is not at all times easy, but it can be done. Consider the label given to you. If you do not agree with them, fight them. It may take time for others to notice the change, but it is worth the effort.
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