Elbert Hubbard, American Author and Publisher is quoted as saying that it’s better to be a round peg in a square hole than a square peg in a square hole. He goes on to explain that the latter is for life as you’ll presumably stay in that shape for your peg indefinitely, whereas to not fit is to only stay whilst it is comfortable enough, then move onto finding the hole that is a better fit. I’ve been reflecting on this for a while and especially this week again.
I’ve always been a shape that doesn’t fit, nowhere that I remember have I felt at ease or well situated. Home, school, work, socially, practically everywhere. Even where I initially get settled into a comfortable round hole, I inevitably feel those square edges pinching after the initial period of ‘fitting.’ I always feel a sense of unease, and I know that it’s time to move on, move along, find a hole that doesn’t pinch as much at the edges. I used to joke that I moved job every 2.75 years, as that was how long it took before the square edges came squeezing. I felt like an outsider, someone odd, different and somehow failing. However, on reflection, is it a positive that I don’t just sit there in that square, restrictive hole? Is it a good thing that my roundness allows me to move around, enjoying new experiences, new careers and ever on the search for a space where I feel I can make a difference, serve a purpose and just fit in?
If I don’t fit, I move. However long and hard I try to make my edges squarer, I’ve inevitably found I need to move. Even where I have designed and led my own organisation, it has to keep mobile and flexible to accommodate my roundness, my ever moving shape. Over the years of trying to squeeze into square holes I’ve grown to accept my sphere. There are so many of us out there who do not feel that we quite fit, for whatever reason. This self acceptance has helped me. For all of you wonderful round pegs out there, you don’t have to fit into square narrow spaces, just enjoy being that smooth edged, flexible and mobile peg. Everywhere you touch you’ll leave an impact, but unless those holes fit you…. keep rolling, go find a place where you are appreciated for being just you!