I want to put you in a category
When I meet you or your company or your product or your restaurant or your website, I desperately need to put it into an existing category, because the mental cost of inventing a new category for every new thing I see is too high.
No one wants to be categorized. No one wants to be considered “like anyone else”, and rightly so. We’re all different. But as Seth puts it, people can’t afford the mental cost of not categorizing people.
You can refuse to be categorized. You can insist that it’s unfair that people judge you like this, that the categories available to you are too constricting and that your organization and your offering are too unique to be categorized.
If you make this choice, the odds are you will be categorized anyway. But since you didn’t participate, you will be miscategorized, which is far worse than being categorized.
Now that I know myself better, I also know which categories I fit. There are many of them, but I learned to cater the most relevant one for me on each encounter I have. The effect? People understand me better, and can relate to me better. And I’m not fighting so hard anymore.