You’re so weird, and it’s OK


FIRST SEEN ON GRAHAM ALLCOTT’S WEEKLY NEWSLETTER ‘REV UP FOR THE WEEK’.

“If you understood everything I’ve said, you’d be me” – Miles Davis

Over the years, I’ve worked with and interviewed some pretty remarkable people. Business owners, high-performing leaders, young people with incredible energy and potential, older people with quiet wisdom and painful experience, Olympic gold medallists, multi-millionaire entrepreneurs, professional clowns, inspiring authors, community leaders changing the world, folk musicians telling stories… It’s a long list.

One of the questions I’m sometimes asked when I do keynote talks is whether I notice any patterns in how high-performing or ‘A-type’ people think. My honest is answer is “not really… except that humans are weird”.

I’ve coached people whose impressive level of drive, when we’ve boiled it down, came from a desire to do better than the kid at school who bullied them 20 years ago, or a desire to gain the approval of strangers to make up for the lack of parental approval. Equally, I’ve met people who calculated, at a young age, exactly what they wanted their life to resemble, and worked diligently backward with a laser-like focus.

The way we think about success, money, work and what constitutes a ‘good life’ is different for all of us. The only constant is that one way or another, we are all weird. Perhaps you are, dare I suggest, sometimes a bit irrational, or you can get stuck easily, and you may have missed the obvious path. Equally, maybe you can hook on to important details that others might miss, or see someone else’s pain before they do, or see numbers as colours painting a picture.

Alain De Botton, writing about romantic love, says one of the best questions to ask on a first date is “how are you weird?”. And what I know for sure is that understanding our biases, hang-ups, geeky-passions and emotional patterns is fundamental to a successful life (whatever you determine that to mean for you). And of course, by understanding the motivations of others, we can work out what weirdnesses we might share in common, and what weirdnesses are different. Sometimes it pays to turn your weirdness volume up to 11, and other times it’s better to reign it all in.

Agile Ways of Working

So here are a few weirdness questions to provoke some self-awareness and self-kindness this week:

  • What weird thing means I procrastinate? (and what could I do either to change it, or to bring it to the attention of others?)
  • What’s the weird thing that makes me adorable, or might make me more successful? How do I find my polar opposite, or find my tribe?
  • What’s the weird thing(s!) that makes me a terrible boss/lover/housemate/colleague/employee?
  • When am I holding onto a weirdness narrative because it’s the easy excuse?
  • Knowing that everyone else is weird too, how can I learn to be more comfortable in my own skin?

For more weird insights and wisdom, sign up to Graham’s weekly newsletter ‘Rev up for the Week’ here.

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