How to find your own version of weird so you can feel the joy.
Image Credit: AJLee/WWE.com
People think I’m a giant weirdo. You know what? They’re right. Being weird seems strange until you learn to see it as an advantage.
Who watches talent shows on Youtube and cries?
Who occasionally farts while bending over?
Who accidentally forgets their lines in meetings and goes off script?
Who tells people exactly what they think without a filter?
Who creates art when nobody is watching?
The answer to all these questions is: “I do.” This is what makes me weird and you have your own quirks too.
Johnny Depp says it best:
I was always fascinated by people who are considered completely normal, because I find them the weirdest of all.
Normality is a false ideal. You can’t really be normal. From the day you’re born, you have quirks. I was born with a brown mole on my tummy and one shoulder higher than the other. Frankenstein and me enjoy sharing our weirdness together.
Radiohead made a song a long time ago called “Creep.” That sound featured the word weirdo a lot and people fell in love with it and still cheer loudly when they hear it. The song is a reminder for humans that it’s perfectly normal to be a weirdo.
Here’s how to find your own version of weird.
Being weird is your hidden advantage
If you read nothing else in this article then remember this: being a weirdo is your hidden advantage.
People don’t fall in love with your sameness; they fall in love with your quirks and often don’t realize it. Your weirdness is a differentiator. It’s what makes people curious about you and want to ask questions.
Your weirdness is what wakes people the hell up from their smartphone-induced coma and makes them think to ask a question.
Weirdness helps you be remembered when there are a hundred job applicants in front of you.
Weirdness helps you build rapport with a person who has accomplished huge goals and is overwhelmed with people asking for selfies with them instead of having a conversation centered on weirdness that will be remembered for the rest of their life.
Weirdness brings together two entirely different people who seemingly have nothing in common. It’s the “who the heck is that dude?” question that changes your life and hides many opportunities previously unavailable to you.
Practice a bizarre hobby that people don’t understand
Starting out as a blogger made me a weirdo. I worked in a bank and none of my friends were bloggers. Writing about feelings and anxiety seemed like a weirdo move at the time. I copped a lot of sh*t for it.
It’s our bizarre hobbies, though, that help us find ourselves by bringing out our weirdness. We’re all weird deep down.
Find that strange hobby that people don’t understand and practice until your heart’s content. Maybe you ski and people don’t understand what’s so fun about it. Maybe you life weights in your garage and worship Arnie and no one can understand your obsession with muscles. Maybe you play the piano and people laugh at you and tell you to get a real career.
Don’t hide your hobbies; let them out. Tell people about them and encourage them to have a go.
Pump yourself up before a big moment
Be your own biggest and weirdest fan. Life is one giant struggle full of many pains in the ass that hurt your fragile ego.
Before the moment you get up to speak or marry the love of your life or receive an award, pump yourself up. Don’t worry if people think you’re a little nuts. Talk to yourself and move your lips without making any sound.
Choose your elixir in the form of an incantation. In the spirit of weirdness, let me share mine: “You got this Tim!” I repeat that phrase over and over before a big event to pump myself up. It’s weird and it gives me the strength to endure judgment, rejection, and failure.
Share weird thoughts
Think about all those weird thoughts you have. How often do you share them?
I recently started sharing more of my weird thoughts. I told a guy at work how I tried really hard to imagine what my life was like before I was born. I told him how I could remember being one-year-old and going to the park in the stroller, but everything before that is a blur. I told him how I’ve experimented with slowing time down and wondered if it was possible.
He thinks I’m a weirdo and that’s why we eat lunch together now.
Talk to people you don’t know
This one will make you look seriously weird. In the elevator the other day, I started having a conversation with a lady in front of a group of strangers.
I asked questions like “Why did you get that coffee?” and “Out of all the places you could have worked, why here?”
People in the lift gave me weird looks. It felt beautiful to be weird.
These types of conversations break your mental patterns and allow you to practice using your childlike curiosity again. When you were a kid, you had a question about everything. Now you question things less and assume they’re supposed to be the way they are. Maybe they’re not.
Curiosity is a gateway to another world that is opened up by being a weirdo.
Speak and write like yourself
It’s easy to filter your communication and block out your weirdness. You write the first draft of an email and then accidentally edit out all the weirdness.
Or you have a thought and intend on sharing it and then stop yourself. What has helped me is to write and speak like myself. I’ll say “Wasssupppp” to a fifty-year-old CEO of a Fortune 500 company and not think twice about it. I’ll say “dude” in formal settings when another word would do just fine.
I’ll say mate or write mate and confuse people who have never been to Australia and don’t get it.
What would happen if you fired the editor in your mind and went with the first draft of everything you say and write?
You’d be weird and that would be freaking awesome. Finally, we’d get to meet the real you — not the edited version hidden by a masquerade mask out of a Fifty Shades of Grey sex scene.
Dress the way you want
Imagine standing in front of the mirror each morning and trying to decide what to wear based on the people you’d be meeting that day.
This was my life for decades. I picked clothes based on how other people would feel and not based on what I wanted to wear in order to perform at my best.
Wear the hot pink pocket square.
Put on the white Nike runners with your black suit if you choose to.
Pop on the t-shirt from the Aerosmith concert you went to in the 90s.
Grab your shoulder bag your grandpa gave you that reminds you of him and makes you smile.
Wear whatever the freaking hell you want. It’s liberating and your weird style choices help people identify with you.
And guess what? If people don’t like what you wear, they were probably never going to appreciate your awesome weirdness in the first place. Self-selection — YAY!!! Now throw your hands up! Cheer, shout, and scream in favor of your auto-decisioning tool called fashion.
Don’t say a single word
Doesn’t feel like it belongs on a weirdo list, does it? Well it does. The norm is to keep talking to fill up all the blank space and consume the oxygen around you. It’s to endlessly talk about yourself in conversations.
Be weird. Stay silent. Listen like a puppy dog that just got out of the dog pound. What do you hear?
If you practice this weirdo technique, you’ll learn a lot about other people. You’ll learn about other people’s weirdness as inspiration for your own.
You won’t just hear people; you’ll feel people. And they’ll like you for some weird reason and not understand why. You cast a weirdness spell on them. It’s called silence.
Block out opinions and be you
A guy said to me at a nightclub — when I was seventeen and had the job of being the local DJ — that “opinions are like a**holes and everybody’s got one.”
What he was trying to tell me was not to play Top 40 music because I felt obligated to. Everyone has an opinion about your weirdness but that doesn’t make them right. Worry about your own weirdness and don’t feel the need to critique someone else’s.
The weirder you are, the more opinions you’ll open yourself up to. Take the opinions you think you can derive value from and grow because of, and discard the rest in the sewer of never-ending critiques.
Give zero f*cks
A wannabe Instagram Influencer told me today in a post that I must want to be paid in apples because I hate money. There was not a single comment, like, or person who shared this thought. I gave them zero f*cks.
It’s weird not to care about every damn thing. A near-miss with cancer a few years back helped me put life into perspective. Here’s a simple insight: there isn’t time to give away f*cks to dumb stuff.
Time is running out and before you know it, your life will be over.
If you don’t decide to embrace your weirdness now, then what price are you paying to give attention to everybody else’s problems that are handed to you on a silver platter?
~I’m a weirdo. What the hell am I doing here…~ sings the band Radiohead.
Embracing your weirdness is not only cool; it’s your destiny. Join all of us misfits in embracing your weirdness. Say yes to Casual Wednesdays, or no to BS meetings, or yes to bright pink pocket squares, or ask a weird question like “Why did you choose Earth?” while stuck in a lift with people you don’t know.
Come on amigo! You deserve to finally start living and benefiting from being a weirdo. Find your version of weird and let it be your greatest advantage.