is the New Sane
“History shows that the people who end up changing the world – the great political, social, scientific, technological, artistic, even sports revolutionaries – are always nuts... until they're right... and then they're geniuses.”
John Eliot, PH.D.
I only ask as I guess I've always been a little... different... to most people in some of the ways I think and act. I guess some folk just think I'm a little rogue, a little odd, a little different... a little crazy.
Whilst this has never really been a major problem for me, I've never really worn my uniqueness as a badge of honour, either. I am as I am, and I just always considered myself “normal”.
Until today that is. Today, everything has changed. Now, I shall revel in my inherent craziness and bestow upon the world all of the madness that resides within my mind...
You see, I just found out that crazy is cool. Being crazy is back in - in a big way.
In fact, if you don't consider yourself a little bit nuts, you should stop reading now – because the crazy love is only gonna get more intense and I don't wanna upset you by letting you know just how awesome crazy people are going to have it from now on.
Cool. You have been warned. Let's get on with the being crazy love.
Being Crazy – Back In Style
Today I was listening to the
for the book Overachievement by John Eliot (see quote above).
I've not read this book – in fact I'd never heard of it – but I'm sold now. There's loads of massive ideas I picked up from the 20 minute overview, but the one I'm absolutely buzzing about is referenced in the book as “nuts and geniuses”.
The quote at the top gives you all the info you really need, but to summarise, all uber-successful people are seen as being crazy, because they are different and they upset the status quo.
Then, when their “radical” ideas are finally accepted, they are seen as geniuses instead. So, to put it in the author Eliot's terms, people think successful folk are nuts, and then they accept that they are geniuses instead. A nice bit of validation, I reckon.
This got me thinking – in all the areas of my life where I hold “crazy” views, I feel like I'm ahead of the crowd. In the areas of my life where I think like most other folks, I feel like I'm treading water.
I've always kind of suspected that you have to be a bit different, and a bit bold, to really live life differently to the masses and create a life on your own terms, but reading what I read today totally sealed it for me.
Let's talk about the traditional “sane” notions of work to demonstrate the point.
Being Crazy & Work
We're all raised to believe in work as a place where you go to trade your time for money - it's pretty much that simple.
We go to an office / restaurant / warehouse, etc, put in a shift, and then get remunerated for the amount of time we donate.
If we're super lucky, we might get performance related pay on top of our hourly rate / salary. Most don't get this luxury, but even those who do are often heavily taxed and penalised for “being different” to the norm.
If you don't want to participate in this rather soul-destroying rat race and work from the age of 20ish – 60ish, your options are actually rather limited:
You can either go on welfare / the dole, or you can starve. Neither are particularly empowering options... But there's simply no other way to go about it...
… Well... at least that's the way “sane” people think about work.
I reckon they only think like that because they see 99% of the population acting that way, scuttling off to work like good employees, donating 40+ of their most able-bodied and able-minded years to a cause they rarely believe in, often in jobs they can barely tolerate – or even downright detest.
Their parents told them this was “how the world works”. Everything since from school, to TV shows, to the behaviour demonstrated by their friends and acquaintances, have reinforced the view that the only way to make money is to go and get a good job. The longer you work, the more you get paid. This will bring you the security of a regular pay-check! Simple.
I can see why sane people are getting duped in such record numbers. Until a year ago, I was 100% sane in this regard too. Anyone who told me any different would just be being crazy.
I saw the world like everyone else did... However I didn't like what I was seeing, so I went on a little adventure to see if there was another way.
Some Crazy Ways to Look at the World of Work
Crazy folk see a different option. For example, “being crazy” enabled me to imagine that there might be a different way – I might be able to earn money even when I wasn't at work.
This, you may be thinking, is crazy enough.
Next, I figured that life is too short to be doing anything other than you truly love. I was told by MANY people that this was a super-crazy idea. As long as your job is well-paid Carl, they told me, that's more than enough.
Really? Then why did I feel so dejected all the time? Why did I struggle to pull myself out of bed in the morning? Surely there is more to life than this...?
Well, actually, there is.
I started to view work and my career through the crazy lens. I figured that being sane was driving me mad anyway, so being crazy might be worth a little bet.
I decided to think crazy out of the box, and soon “the universe” started giving me opportunities to capitalise.
First, I gambled on a 3 day per week sales job, with a tiny salary but a high potential for large commissions. I worked hard for those three days, but I certainly didn't break my back.
The result? After a couple of months of struggle, I was earning upwards of $20,000 per month. FOR THREE DAYS WORK PER WEEK. I'm rather proud of this. Hence the capital letters.
Do you know how many people supported me when I announced my plan? 3 or 4 of my closest friends, and my girlfriend. That's it. Everyone else warned me that what I was doing was “insane” - or pleaded me to “think about the recession”.
Well, er... I prefer to think crazy from now on, thank you very much. It was crazy to think I could treble my earnings working half the time, but whenever the human brain can imagine something, I'm convinced that it can be actualised.
Now, I work for myself from home on this website, writing about things I love. I'm steadily (and slowly) getting my income back up. I'm convinced I can make a full time living writing about something I'm passionate about. Needless to say, there's lots of people who are telling me I'm being crazy again.
What do you think? Should I go back to the rat race...?
(Nah – not a chance)
I just wanted to give you this quick example to get your mind racing about ways you can start being crazy a little more of the time. I know it can feel a little alienating to do things differently to everyone else, but trust me when I say that it is so much fun. I'm having the time of my life.
My mission now is to see how many socially-imposed “traditions” I can break down on my quest for happiness and success. So... are you going to join me?
Over to YOU
It's over to you now. Here's some questions to get your mind going:
In which parts of your life are you just behaving like everybody else?
In which parts of your life are you being crazy and thinking differently? Can you notice that these are the parts that make you happier and feel more alive?
Are there parts of your life that you could start to crazy-up, to think outside the box so you can generate extraordinary results? Can you imagine how much fun you could have if you did what you loved to do all the time?
Do you have any crazy dreams for your life? Are you doing ALL you can to make them a reality?
And, one last thing: are you crazy enough to trust yourself while the whole world thinks you're a little nuts? As Brian Johnson summarizes in the truly awesome
Philosophers Notes Course
- “this is the essential ingredient of overachievement”.
So... do you want to be a sane underachiever or a crazy overachiever? I know which one I prefer...
Just learn to trust your own craziness. Being crazy is the new sane. You heard it here first.
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