I think a lot about how to be more weird — when ‘weird’ means real, creative, happy, honest, and alive. But it’s one thing to respect the qualities of weirdness, another to actively foster them and give them room to work their magic.
I think I’ve got pretty good at it over the years. Here are some tips from a seasoned (but always aspiring) weirdo, with help from the Escape the City Tribe community — a bunch of excellent weirdoes if ever there was one.
"Being unafraid of being different comes from realizing and knowing that it is all you can really be." - John MaedaTweet It!
We’re all weird. These are just ways for us to be a little bit more of who we already are.
Let it out.
Dance. Not to a routine, and not in a club. Alone, freely, for the sake of it. And make noises. Not the pre-constructed words and sentences of language, just sounds. Wake up in the morning and make a noise. Make the noise bigger, smaller; change it. Let what comes out, come out. Losing self-consciousness— even if it’s only for ten minutes, in your bedroom — is a shortcut to fabulous weirdness.
Do things just because.
One of the great burdens of adulthood — and the chief enemy of weirdness — is the need for any action we take to be based on some kind of reason or objective. And the simple reason ‘because I want to’ never seems to cut it. So, next time you want to jump in a puddle, say hello to your houseplant, draw a picture of a cat wearing trousers, or walk around with flowers in your hair — do it.
Laugh with your whole self.
Fully-felt, whole-body, can’t-move-I-might-pee-myself laughter is one of life’s great joys. Not least because while you’re crumpled over, gasping for air, you’re definitely not worrying about what other people think, or whether you look sophisticated, or whether you really think this thing is funny (you definitely do). You’re just being, in the fullest sense of that word. Find the people and things that make you do that, and spend more time with them.
James Altucher’s much-quoted advice to come up with 10 ideas every day is the most surefire route to gloriously weird creativity that I’ve seen in practice. It’s easy to get to 6 or 7 ideas, but then you’ve got to push past ‘sensible’ and ‘realistic’ to find new, weird, depths. Find the freedom to let out the impossible, terrible, far-fetched ideas alongside the sensible ones — then revel in whatever bizarreness pops out (and the very fact that it did).
Find other weirdos.
Use our natural human drive to conformity to your advantage. We end up being ‘the average of the five people we spend the most time with’. Are those people encouraging you to get inside, in Jon’s apt terminology, their ‘shitty little box’? Or are they spinning freely, box-less, inspiring you to do the same? Find the box-less wonders, and spin freely with them. They’re the good ones.
Learn from the best.
Consider the people you admire, who stepped away from the norm to do something good, great, interesting or otherwise helpful for the world. (Pretty easy — anyone who did something worth your attention will have rejected some kind of norm in favour of their own weirdness). Do they give a shit what you think? Nah.
Be weird like them, and soon you won’t give a shit what the next wannabe-weirdo thinks either.
Becca Warner is a writer, traveler, and change-maker. She leads a team of revolutionaries at Escape the City, and explores the power of food for the brain on her website ThinkFeelFood. Check out her writing or follow her on Twitter.
This post originally appeared on Medium.
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