By David Rendall: The Rudolph Principle: Discovering Uniqueness by Embracing Weakness Last year I was watching the classic TV version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with my daughters and I realized that the story has a lot to teach us about strengths and weaknesses.
Just let the song run through your head for a minute . . .
“Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer had a very shiny nose, and if you ever saw it, you would even say it glows.”
Rudolph was different. He had a major obvious flaw. This is the same for most of us. We are too impatient or too messy or too silly or too serious.
“All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names. They never let poor Rudolph, join in any reindeer games.”
Rudolph’s flaw made him unpopular and led to his rejection and isolation. No one wants to be rejected. So what do we do? We often try to hide our flaws and fix our weaknesses. We become ashamed. We wish that we could just be normal, like everyone else. We want to be accepted, so we try to change. This is just what Rudolph and his parents tried to do. They covered up his nose with a black rubber cone. It didn’t work. The red nose still shined through. It looked like Rudolph was destined for a life of pain and misery, but then the situation changed.
“Then one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa came to say, Rudolph with your nose so bright, won’t you guide my sleigh tonight.”
Rudolph’s nose was a weakness, but it was also a strength in disguise. In the right situation, a “foggy Christmas Eve,” Rudolph’s nose was an irreplaceable advantage. That is why he got the call, from Santa himself, to save Christmas for the whole world.
He didn’t succeed in spite of his weakness; he succeeded because of his weakness. What would have happened to Christmas that year if Rudolph had gone to Beverly Hills for a nose job?
“Then all the reindeer loved him and they shouted out with glee, ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, you’ll go down in history.’”
Rudolph’s legacy, his enduring fame, was a result of his uniqueness.
Do you want more happiness, fulfillment, success and energy? Find your red nose. Look to your apparent weaknesses and flaws. They offer clues to your greatest strengths. Don’t try to hide them or fix them. Just look for the right situation, the one that offers a perfect fit between who you are and what is required. This takes courage, to wait, to endure ridicule, to be rejected by others. But remember the end of the story. Santa called on Rudolph and he saved Christmas.