Posted by: janineplusbrianequals | October 27, 2009



Why do we only have one, borrowed French word for such an important concept?

You could say that “niché” has a special niché carved out for conveying the meaning of “niché”. (But that’s sort of a silly thing to say).

The “How to Make a Business Successful” people almost always seem to include a reference to niché. They say something like, “figure out the unique thing that you do and do it well.” Or, “you have to find your niché market.”

Uniqueness strikes me as an inherent and beautiful part of creation. Heaven and Hell by Emanuel Swedenborg says that “the perfection of heaven is the result of variety” and that the “variety gives delight” (HH 56).

The same work also says that in heaven “there is infinite variety, and never any thing the same with any other” and that each person or angel is distinct from every other (HH 41).


Everyone is unique...

So if we are inherently unique and if it makes for good business to commit to our unique strengths, why don’t we?

A) I notice that I have a strong desire to be involved in everything. This seems to come out of a lack of trust in other people to take care of things. Every day of my life I depend on an immense number of people working in concert to deliver my basic necessities of food, clothing and shelter and yet I still tend to mistrust other people and suspect that I should at least have oversight of almost everything that goes on in this world.

B) The number two threat to contentment with one’s niché is a worry about being left out. “Maybe people are having fun in some other room, or some other conversation, town, country, profession etc without me!” Not unlike the first threat, this second threat seems to be the down-side of the same manic-depressive coin. In the first case, I am a megalomaniac needing to control everything because of a super-inflated sense of self-importance, in the second case I feel so little confidence in my intrinsic value that I assume that everything and everybody is more interesting and significant than me.

C) A third issue seems to challenge our ability to settle into the niché which is us. We seem to be addicted to variety and excess. Maybe this simply follows from the first two problems of egoism but I also think that stimulus and variety addiction has taken on a life of its own. I’m sure I will speak more on this subject later – it is a fascinating and expanding challenge for people in this internet epoch.

There are many places we could take a discussion of “niché” but for now I would like to just end with a namby-pamby, truism of post-modern, bleeding heart society. “Love yourself!”

Seriously, can you love who you are? I’m not saying you’re great as is, I’m just saying, it is worth looking at whether you like who you are. You are a unique person with unique ability to contribute to society. If you don’t like you who you are you will keep squirming in your niche’ – unable to settle down to the tasks you are best at. Likely you will try to avoid your life through distraction and medication.

Since I believe so strongly that we are uniquely valuable and important I think it follows that we should learn to be comfortable with ourselves. And if we ain’t…maybe we need to figure out what our conscience is so dissatisfied with.




  1. Hey, where’d you get that picture of me sitting on the leaves?

    • Well, I know as an Indian underground frog you only come out for a couple weeks each year. But, also I know that you’re pretty committed to coming out to mate each year, so really, I just had to get my Indian buddy to wait with the camera.

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