As pharmacy students in the then University of Ife, in the early sixties, we used to be proud of the voluminous reference books we carried about from hostels to lecture halls and laboratories (in white lab coats). These books prescribe standards for pharmaceutical preparations. The popular acronyms for the books are: BP (British Pharmacopoeia), BPC (British Pharmaceutical Codex), and USP (United States Pharmacopoeia). Martindale’s Extra Pharmacopoeia was simply called Martindale. These books were the bibles of pharmacy students.
When I graduated and started working as a medical representative in 1964, my manager was still talking of USP during our sales meetings. Since I could not reconcile United States Pharmacopoeia with the sales topic, I had to ask the context it was used. He laughed and explained that USP meant Unique Selling Proposition. From that moment, the words unique and uniqueness stuck in my brain.
The sales or marketing manager must identify what makes his product unique in order to compete well in the market. A product is sold based on its unique features or properties. In the same way, the success or excellence of any person depends on his or her uniqueness. It is this uniqueness of ourselves that we must identify, develop and market. This is the special value we have to offer to other people. We cannot excel or stand out if we don’t polish and develop this uniqueness. Indeed, it is our uniqueness that separates and distinguishes us from competition.
Individuals that devote attention to appreciating, developing and polishing their unique principles offer great value to others and the society. Successful individuals – political and spiritual leaders, scientists, industrialists, philosophers, artists and so on have left legacies as a result of appreciating and developing their uniqueness.
When I was thinking of writing my first book in 2004, my fear was that the book might not be accepted and appreciated by the readers. I was asking myself how I would ever produce a readable book like some popular authors. Eventually, I wrote the book from my own personal life experience and perspectives. The style of writing was personalised and the book became very interesting to the readers. If I had copied the popular authors I mightn’t have impressed anyone. One of my friends remarked that if I had not disclosed my name in that book, he should have known that it was written by me. The book reflected my unique personality and therefore created a niche for itself. This encouraged me to continue writing one book every year since then. What gives me the confidence to write is that there is no other person who can claim to have my own experience. The experience of my own life is unique.
There are about 7billion people in the world today and the Creator has made each individual a unique person. Therefore, everyone is special. There is no common person, in God’s eyes.
Proverbs 18:16 says, “A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men.” Individuals have been designed to be known by their gifts. It is your gift that will make a way for you in life. Utilisation of this gift will give you real fulfillment, purpose, and contentment in your profession, career or work.
Copying or mimicking another person instead of being the person God created you to be is bad. This actually means rejection of your individuality, your uniqueness, your own gift and, hence, God’s purpose for your life. You may not succeed or excel when you are a counterfeit of another person. No one has succeeded in having another person’s fingerprints or face, even identical twins. Rather, you will encounter frustration. This is at the root of so much unhappiness, failures, sickness, crimes, premature deaths and even suicide which abound today. People abandon their God-given assignments, locations, professions, talents etc and try to fit into other people’s lives. That type of life cannot bring true prosperity, joy and peace of mind.
In 1979 God asked me to start a pharmaceutical journal.He specified the size and contents of the journal. I obeyed and later discovered that Pharmanews was indeed a unique journal. I have attended many international conferences of pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, healthcare and science/health editors in many countries but I have not seen another Pharmanews in size and content. The uniqueness has placed it in a class of its own.
St. Matthew’s gospel chapter 25 tells of a story of the master who invited his three servants and gave them five, two and one talent respectively to do business with as he travelled to a far country. He gave them the talents they could manage according to their abilities. He expected them to give account of their businesses on his return. Of course, he did not expect that the servant he gave only two talents would give account of five or one talent. God will not expect us to operate in the area He has not given us grace. He does not give an assignment to someone without equipping him. That equipment is also a gift.
According to the statement credited to Socrates, you must know thyself. It is up to you to discover your own natural talents and gifts and make the best use of them. You must become conscious of your thoughts, likes and dislikes, prejudices, habits etc. Getting to know yourself is the greatest discovery you can ever make. Knowing yourself means respecting your values in life, your beliefs, your personality, your priorities, your moods, your relationships and your body. Knowing yourself means knowing your purpose in life. It is a conscious effort you must make because you were not born with that knowledge.