Unusual – that’s the word friends and family most often use to describe me. It’s a characterization I appreciate rather thoroughly because when I was in K-12 school, ‘unusual’ rendered out of classmates and teachers as other things like weird, strange, and worthy of reviewing ink blots. My ideas in class caused others to challenge the teaching. Out on the playground, they caused fights and made friends.
I think everyone is unusual, and some people show or hide their unusual parts less or more. I’m a more, as in more open about showing and telling.
It’s not just unusual thoughts I conjure, it’s everything. I cook differently, think in such a way that once disparate connections become close-knit, and keep my walls mostly bare by design. I even work differently. When others look at the food I cook, examine my blank walls, or wonder how I connected something, I’ve heard all manner of other characterizations, ranging from crazy to random, from ick! to oh!, and many expressions of bewilderment and wonder. Occasionally, I hear the word ‘brilliance’, and those are the rare moments when I know I’m like everyone else.
I used to think I was the same as everybody else, but after hearing I am different from pretty much all quarters, I’ve finally just embraced the idea. It’s good to be different.
In our youth we are taught that we are all the same. In our teens, we learn to be part of a group. As adults, we are taught to differentiate ourselves in order to be valuable. The paradoxical teaching is during teen and early [20-40] adult years wherein we are simultaneously taught to fit in and stand out. These are diametrically opposed teachings.
To succeed, you have to choose a side, right or left. I chose the outside. You have to choose if you are a leader or a follower. I chose to lead myself and encourage others to follow their own version of bliss. You have to choose to be quiet or speak up. I chose to write. What are your choices?
I enjoy the offerings from others that provide springboards or connective ideas. King Solomon said there are no new things under the sun, but he didn’t mention non-things. Non-things are ideas, concepts, thought connections.
Sometimes you have to unlearn what you know in order to make new connections. Embrace the weird, accept the different, and know that both can help enhance your own human experience. When you put your own weird ideas out into the world, you can manifest positive experiences for others, and it may even come back to you.
Non-things are being created all the time, every day, by all of us. Your idea may be inspired by someone else’s brilliance, one building on the other, neither of them entirely possible without what came before, though inevitable if you seek it.
This is why it’s so important to discover what matters to you, to find your path or tool for speaking up, find your inspiration, create your non-things, concepts, ideas, be weird, and make connections that advance the dialog.
If we could all openly acknowledge what inspired our own brilliance or connections, maybe we would help others do the same. What is inspiring you at the moment?
Kelly Hobkirk - teaching marketers how to harness strategy, goals, reality, and purpose to connect and do better work.
Kelly Hobkirk has been helping companies succeed in creative ways for nearly 25 years. His work has been featured in Time Magazine, and books by Rockport and Rotovision. Get exclusive articles when you sign up for his monthly newsletter.