You know who’s weird? Astronauts. Saints. Nobel Prize winners. Scientists. People with hobbies you’ve never heard of or are afraid to try. People who speak their minds. People with both problems and (gasp) solutions. People who are (enviably) not like you. Being weird means being noticeably different. It means being or doing something that makes other people stare, or laugh, applaud, or boo. And it’s something we all need to cultivate.
Your weirdness is valuable. Here’s why:
Weird has less competition.
Weirdness, by its very definition, is a deviation from the norm—the opposite of a commodity. Weird makes its own markets. Weirdness makes its own rules. Weirdness provides breathing room and leverage.
Weird is less painful.
To fit inside the cookie cutter, you have to lob off a part of yourself. It hurts less to just be authentic. Stop exhausting yourself pretending to be someone or something you’re not.
Weirdness fosters community.
Weird does not equal alone. Google anything you like, and there’s probably a fan club in support of it. When you admit your weird interests or hobbies or skills, you can and will find others who understand, empathize, and share what you thought was an isolating trait.
Weirdness creates automatic notoriety.
Whatever is most unique about you will become your defining trait. This is how we end up with nicknames and calling cards. And when your calling card is actually special, it’s easy for others to remember you. Wouldn’t you rather be “Amy with the trapeze company” than “Amy with a Y”?
More weirdness means more freedom.
When you’re not trying to fit in, you’re free to stand out. Standouts, if you hadn’t noticed, command respect and attention. Sometimes stepping out of line means you don’t have to wait to do what you always wanted to.
Weird calls for premium pricing.
Different isn’t always better, but better is always different. Take advantage of the fact that most people won’t ever dare to be deviant (even positively deviant), and price your goods, services, and qualities accordingly.
Weird is nontransferable.
You can’t get a degree in being weird. There’s no official uniform for the weird (contrary to what you learned in high school). You don’t lose your special qualities if you lose your job. You can’t forget your weirdness in your other coat. Weirdness—the kind that isn’t an act—is a part of you. And while it might be bullied into hiding or hidden in plain sight, it’s not something you can ever truly lose.
Weirdness: it’s great for parties.
It’s not small talk when you bring up your big weird thing. Weird done right (that is, honestly and positively) is captivating and attractive. Weird is not creepy: weird is what makes life less boring.