Are you weird?
Has your life deviated from the 9-to-5, married-with-two-kids-and-a-picket-fence norm? Never quite fit in with the “popular crowd” at school? Been known to bend a rule or break an occasional law here and there? (I promise not to tell. Shhhhh…)
If so, you have a lot in common with some of the most successful people on Earth. Here’s what I mean:
1. They were over 40 when they figured it out.
Colonel Sanders was 65 years old when he started Kentucky Fried Chicken. Grandma Moses had never picked up a paint brush until she was in her 80’s. And of course Ronald Reagan was just shy of 70 when he was elected President.
Your weird trait: You don’t believe that life ends just because you have a few gray hairs.
2. They are or were musicians.
Spending hours in a basement or practice room playing scales instead of swilling beer and watching TV isn’t exactly normal behavior. But musicians are pretty common among the successful, whether they’re classically trained pianists like Condoleeza Rice or play in a rock band like venture capitalist Roger McNamees.
Your weird traits: You know when to start, when to stop, and how your “voice” fits in with the whole.
3. They are or were athletes.
Let’s face it, voluntarily making yourself huff and puff, day after day, year after year, rain, shine, or snow is kinda strange. I’ll bet you can’t remember the last time part of you wasn’t sore. George S. Patton – credited with taking Hitler down in World War II – was a pentathlete.
Your weird traits: You don’t give up until you’ve achieved what you want, and you know that pain is part of the process. You’re also a hella team player.
4. They were inspired by the darndest thing.
James Cameron used to drive a truck for a living. His movies have now grossed more than $2 billion. What inspired him to change careers? Watching Star Wars. Now, that’s weird!
Your weird trait: You are creative, and can find inspiration in the strangest places.
5. They were homeless.
Halle Berry briefly stayed at a homeless shelter in Chicago while pursuing her career as an actress. Here’s what she said about her experience: “It taught me how to take care of myself and that I could live through any situation, even if it meant going to a shelter for a small stint, or living within my means, which were meager. I became a person who knows that I will always make my own way.”
Your weird trait: You know that you can survive, with or without a paycheck.
6. They weren’t always very well-behaved.
Mechanical genius Soichiro Honda acted more like an American than a nice, team-playing Japanese businessman. As a result, he managed to piss off his peers and get turned down for a job with Toyota. However, he ended up leading the Japanese car revolution.
Your weird trait: You don’t particularly care about other peoples’ opinions.
7. They were high school dropouts.
Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin, dropped out of high school at the age of 16 and is now worth $4.6 billion. Other dropouts include Kirk Kerkorian (8th grade, now worth $3.3 billion), Quentin Tarantino (age 15, two Academy Awards), and George Foreman (age 15, now in the World and International Boxing Halls of Fame).
Your weird trait: You don’t necessarily fit in the box of formal education and are willing to forego it if it’s distracting you from what you really want to do.
8. They chose wisely.
“A young Lyndon Banes Johnson turned down a lucrative oil investment because he knew, down the road, that being allied with oil companies could hurt his chance at sitting in the Oval Office.”
Your weird trait: You delay gratification, look ahead, and keep your short-term decisions in line with your long-term dreams.
9. They were addicts.
Elton John struggled with alcoholism, drug abuse, suicide attempts, and eating disorders during his self-termed “lost years”. He has now been clean since 1990. Other former addicts include Robert Downey, Jr., Jamie Lee Curtis, and Jordan Belfort.
Your weird traits: You don’t believe that your current situation is permanent. You embrace the pain needed to change, and you don’t let the past get you down.
10. They had desire.
Nelson Mandela allowed the plight of the black people in South Africa to create in him a burning desire for their freedom, and nothing could stop him.
Your weird trait: You allow the negative experiences in your life to create a burning desire to make things better.
A Final Thought:
If you haven’t succeeded yet, it might be because you keep trying to “fit in”. Embrace your weirdness! Step into the flow of your life, and allow your passion to carry you toward success instead of trying to do it the way you’re “supposed to”.
Featured photo credit: Psychedelicological III / Derrick Tyson via flickr.com