The Advantages of Being Weird
After my last post, Seize Opportunities to Never Stop Being Weird, I’ve been thinking about the advantages of being weird. A friend was telling me about how as a kid, his dad thought he was weird. He worried about his son not fitting in. He didn’t like that his son was too creative because he found this to be weird behavior, especially for a boy. He’d say things to him like “Why can’t you just be normal?” or sarcastically, “Well, that weird behavior will make you lots of friends.”
This made me kind of sad, but mostly for the dad. Sad that a parent wasn’t able to see their child for who they are, weirdness and all. But I can relate. My dad, while he never said anything about me being weird, was someone that was concerned with how he was perceived by others. It makes me sad when people are worried about how others see them. Maybe I give too few shits about what most people think.
My mom has always been comfortable with who she is. Maybe that’s because she had me when she was older (late thirties) versus when she had my brothers she was in her early twenties. I remember going through a period where I was concerned about how others saw me. We had this car that I always thought was shaking violently and I found it so embarrassing. I remember thinking everyone was staring at us. My mom found this funny. Not in a mean way, but in a ‘oh, Julie, if this is the most you have to be worried about’ sort of way. She was very good at acknowledging but also putting it into perspective for me.
[Tweet “I am weird, you are weird. Everyone in this world is weird. One day two people come together in mutual weirdness and fall in love. ~ Dr. Seuss “]
I’m not a parent but I can imagine that as one you want the best for your child. You probably want them to be well liked and not an outcast. You want them to fit in and have the respect of their peers. And I’m sure some parents want them to be popular at any cost. But there is more to life than being normal and fitting in perfectly. At least in my mind.
I like to think of it like this — we’re all these puzzles pieces. We’ll fit in with who weren’t meant to fit in with, and we’ll stand out from those we’re meant to be set apart from.
Remember when companies all had cubicles with 50 shades of gray interior? No matter where you worked, the environment all looked about the same. Blah. Boring. Uninspiring. Then companies like Apple and Google started doing something weird. They added color. And game tables. They added snacks and fun workstations. They flipped conformity on it’s head. They made non-conformity the new norm. Why should workplaces places have all the fun? Shouldn’t the people that work there also have fun with being weird?
We live in an amazing time. Being weird has never been more accepted than it is right now. Why conform when you can stand out as yourself?
Here are some advantages of being weird that come to mind.
Being weird allows you to be your true, authentic self. If you’re trying to hide something weird about yourself, you’re not being true to who you are. And while you may not want to nor feel comfortable baring your weirdness to people when you first meet them, over time you should not only be able to but want to. You should be accepted and loved for for who you are, no matter how weird you may think you are.
Being weird allows you to find your tribe. Once you’re comfortable with who you are, weirdness and all, you’ll find others who share your weirdness. Or appreciate you for that weirdness. Is there anything better than being loved for who you are and what you bring to a relationship?
[Tweet “I was always fascinated by people who are considered completely normal, because I find them the weirdest of all. ~ Johnny Depp”]
When I found creative people, I thought I would never fit in. I was good at math and thought I couldn’t be creative. I thought it was one or the other. In my mind, the Venn diagram of good at math and being creative didn’t overlap. These two things were mutually exclusive to me. Imagine my surprise when I found out I could be good at more than one thing even if they weren’t in the same category. Mind blown. It was so awesome when I got the opportunity to let my creative side shine. I found improvisers, writers, and comedians who I could be myself with. Who appreciate me for my creativity however weird it can be and inspired me to keep creating.
[Tweet “Nowadays, everybody wanna be weird. We know how to manifest being weird. ASAP Rocky”]
Being weird is attractive. There is nothing more attractive than someone who is comfortable in their own skin. We all know those people who are so comfortable with their strengths and weaknesses that they ooze confidence. They take their weirdness and idiosyncrasies and make them work to their advantage. We should all strut this our weirdness with the confidence it deserves.
Being weird allows you to stand out. Why be on par with your competitors when you can set yourself apart from them? Being weird can give you the advantage in a market where so many people are the same. Think about it, if your going for a job where all the candidates are equal on paper, do you want to be equal to them? Or, do you find what is unique to you and set yourself apart from them?
In my last job interview, I was asked by the managers (I had interviews with three different managers one after another) what makes me different than the other candidates. I told them I was a stand-up comedian. I talked about how I run a weekly comedy workshop and open mic.
[Tweet “It’s weird not to be weird. ~ John Lennon”]
Prior to this, I had always held back on talking about comedy. When I did talk about it, I’d say things like “I do stand-up comedy” rather than saying “I’m a stand-up comedian”. This was the first time that I owned stand-up comedy. And it was what landed me that job. And while I didn’t feel like I’d fit in at an advertising agency, it was one of my favorite jobs and one of the best work experiences. I was surrounded by creatives which I loved and needed, while working in information technology, which is what I was most comfortable with. Win win.
Being comfortable with yourself and your weirdness is something that I think can come with age. That’s great knowing that the older we get, the more comfortable with our weirdness we’ll probably be. But wouldn’t it be great if we could all embrace our weirdness right now. Why wait?
[Tweet “You laugh at me because I’m different I laugh because you’re all the same. ~ Jonathan Davis”]
This is just a sample of the reasons that being weird is good. I’m sure we all have ways that our weirdness has been an asset for us. Think about a time that your weirdness worked in your favor.
Let’s stopping hiding the weird and instead get comfortable with our weirdness, even if it’s just one weird thing right now. What are you waiting for?
Get out there and flaunt your weird.