For most of my life, people have looked at me funny when I say or do certain things; voice certain ideas or opinions; share strange solutions to what seem to be basic problems. I don't blame them when they do this, because I know that these kinds of looks come with the territory of being the kind of person who likes to colour outside the lines. When you give people weird, expect weird looks in return.
I was reminded of this aspect of my life today when I read the following quote from a great book that I think you should check out if you're so inclined:
"If you want to be more creative, you just have to be more natural. We forget that back in kindergarten, we were all creative. We all played and experimented and tried out weird things without fear or shame. We didn't know enough not to. The fear of social rejection is something we learned as we got older. And that's why it's possible to regain our creative abilities so swiftly and powerfully, even decades later."
I think this is why a lot of people shy away from things like creativity or innovation — they're afraid of the funny looks and the ostracization that could result. But it's funny, though, because a lot of those same people admire creators and innovators, even dream of being one themselves, but here's the clincher: they won't ever get there if they're too afraid to go where they need to go, which are the kind of places where people look at you funny every now and then.
And to spare you any surprises, I don't think anyone ever completely gets over that looming fear of funny looks, ostracization, skepticism, and criticism that could be a consequence of stepping out and trying something new, different, or weird. But let's be honest: isn't that part of the fun, the thrill, challenge, and inspiration that abounds when we try something new and risk of being made fun of or excluded because did?
It's the buzz. The performance rush. The return on weirdness investment. The fun of being creative and innovative.
And it's these kinds of people — the weird ones — who usually end up impacting the world in profound ways. Even if some people look at them funny.