Monday, April 09, 2007

The World is a Mirror, Part 23

A is for ATTITUDE
B is for BREAK PATTERNS
C is for CONSISTENCY
D is for DISCIPLINE
E is for EVOLUTION
F is for FRIENDLINESS
G is for GOOD WITH NAMES
H is for HAPPINESS
I is for IDEAS
J is for JOY
K is for KNOWLEDGE
L is for LAUGHTER
M is for MUNDANE
N is for NAMETAGS
O is for OFF BUTTON
P is for PAINT YOURSELF INTO A (GOOD) CORNER
Q is for QUICK
R is for RUDE PEOPLE
S is for SERVICE
T is for TIME
U is for UNIQUE
V is for VALUE
W is for WEIRD

My name is Scott Ginsberg.

I’m weird.

Always have been. Always will be.

In fact, whenever someone tells me, “Dude, you’re weird!” I respond with, “Hey, thanks!”

See, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being weird.

Actually, I think there are a lot of things RIGHT with being weird.

I’ll explain why in a minute.

But first, a brief etymology lesson:

The word “weird” can be traced back to the Old English term “wyrd,” which means "fate, destiny."

Cool.

However, the modern sense of the word derived from two sources:

1. The use of Weird Sisters for The Three Fates or “Norns” (in mythology), representing the goddesses who controlled human destiny.

2. People who were odd or frightening in appearance, first referenced in Macbeth, led to the adjective meaning of, "odd-looking, uncanny," first recorded 1815.

So, 200 years later, what does it mean to be weird?

And when someone says, “That guy is SO weird!” or “She’s weird!” what message is that person really communicating?

Well, in my experience, criticism often says more about the critic than it does about the subject.

So, is it possible that when someone perceives a person as weird, is it simply because they don’t understand him?

Personally, I think weird is a scapegoat term. An excuse. A placeholder for ignorance. When people don’t understand someone, they just dismiss that person as “weird,” and that’s usually enough to validate their argument.

Think back to college. Or high school. Or even grade school.

Now, picture The Weird Kid.

Maybe it was the dude who wore all black.
Maybe it was the girl who was always reading Ayn Rand during recess.
Maybe it was the guy who wore crazy clothes and walked to school every day.

You called him weird because you didn’t understand him.

And you left it at that.

(Hey, I did it too. It’s human nature.)

But what if you added another step?

What if, instead of being judgmental, you were curious?

Here. Try this experiment:

1. Decide to find out the story is behind someone’s supposed “weirdness.”
2. Approach the person with a curious, (not judgmental) attitude.
3. Tell the person you find them interesting, or fascinating, and would like to learn more.

And most likely, they’ll take it as a compliment, and be happy to share with you.

Or they’ll wind up being a serial killer, take out their ice pick and stab you in the throat.

Just kidding.

(But you were thinking that, weren’t you?)

Look. Not all weird people are bad. And sure, there have been some major wack-jobs out there who gave being weird a bad rap.

But I think (the non-criminal) weird people are important to society, important to business, for several reasons:

Weird people challenge you.
Weird people make you think.
Weird people are often creative.
Weird people break your patterns.
Weird people encourage individuality.
Weird people are interesting and cool.
Weird people aren’t afraid to be themselves.
Weird people tend to have valuable perspectives.

But because we don’t “get them,” we dismiss them.

And I think every time that happens, we’re missing out.

“Nurture the nuts,” Tom Peters once said. “We all know that ‘weird’ can be good, if we don't judge others through our lens. Being weird increases creativity if we allow it to flourish.”

Well put.

Also, I found this anonymous quotation, often quoted around the web: “We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”

Fantastic.

So from now on, I encourage you to embrace weirdness.

That of other people. That of yourself.

Weirdness rules!

My name is Scott.

And I am weird.

Always have been. Always will be.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Do you embrace weirdness?

LET SUGGEST THIS...
What's the advantage of your weirdness?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

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