The Effects of Being Weird
It’s dark in the house. I had been underlining something in a small paperback book. I leaned forward and laid it beside me on the couch. There was a strange noise coming from the hallway. “What in the world is that?” I wonder to myself. A rhythmic shuffling of something back and forth across the carpet was coming from my office. Slowly, I put my legs into action and moved toward the sound. Peering around the corner, what I saw floored me.
Evil in the House
Standing there was a 3 and a half foot tall Sith Lord. Multiple horns protruded from the way-too-big red and black rubber mask that my son wore. He was dragging his feet and trying not to fall because the shoe covers that came with the costume were huge. He paused to allow his dominating scariness to fully be realized. I wanted to laugh but I knew I couldn’t. In his mind he was terrifying and there was only one thing for daddy to be, afraid. So much time went into choosing this costume and much to his mother’s dismay; he didn’t opt for the cute Yoda costume or a tiny cowboy. He squeezed the trigger on being something different. Most people don’t even know who this character is but for some reason the red faced, double light-sabered bad guy stood out to my son. He wanted to scare people and this is the shape that scary took this year. He had decided to be different.
In Seth Godin’s “The Purple Cow,” he talks about the marketing power of being different. A purple cow that stands in a field in rural America will sell itself. It’s remarkable. People will mention it to the next person they meet. One such purple cow lived 200 years ago in early America.
In the early 1800’s a man stumbled onto a frontier plantation carrying apples and apple seedlings for the neighbors. His clothes were tattered, his feet were bare, and on his head he was well known for wearing a tin cooking pot. His black hair and beard were knotted and dirty from the hard life he lived alone in the unforgiving forest. Almost 200 years later, stories still circulate about his life. Johnny Appleseed didn’t become a legend by doing what everyone else did. He became a legend because he was one of a kind.
Be Weird and Be Remembered
Being different is the place to be in the world. My uncle pulled a wagon around full of rocks to strengthen his legs and wore a giant black mustache. My grandmother will fish for 8 hours in a boat and wonder why you’re ready to go home. Those things stand out because they’re different. People don’t remember you when you walk with the crowd. No one notices when you talk the same, walk the same, and drink your coffee the same as everyone else. You end up being just another tree in the forest, just another brown cow.
So this week, this month, this year, be different. Cut against the grain. Don’t worry yourself with perceptions. Ask yourself if it makes sense to you. Is it remarkable? I mean, is it really worth making a remark about? That’s how great ideas spread. This is how you end up being a well-known Sith Lord and representing the dark side when you’re only four.
Thanks for being here this week. I hope whatever you are working on is going somewhere. Not necessarily going good because we know it doesn’t always go good. As long as it is still going, that will do. Thanks for all the support on last weeks post about being vulnerable and sharing some secrets. A lot of you reached out after that and it’s nice to make the connection with many new faces. You make this worth it for me. I’m excited to announce that we have a special guest post coming mid-week. A friend of mine is doing amazing things by helping people live their bucket lists. He has written a pretty awesome guest post with some great footage of an adventure he went on to share with you. I’m really excited to let you have it! Look for it in a few days.
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Update on 50K trail running goal: weekly long runs are up to 6 miles and growing. Average minute per mile has dropped to an average of 12:40 on the trails. I’m hoping that average will continue to fall. #accountability