Support Innovation and Creativity. Hug an Eccentric!
Eccentric? Weird? Creative!
Marilou 'Louie' Myrick
February 18, 2023
What about those distracted, aloof, nonconformist eccentrics in your daily life?
The ones who have always felt like they didn't quite fit - in their family, peer group, any group.
The ones who seem to change their minds on a dime, who trip over their own tongue switching from one idea to the next.
Who often start new projects while leaving former projects unfinished.
Who feel like a star-shaped peg trying to fit into a square hole.
Who often retreat into their own mental world - even while you're in the midst of baring your soul to them.
The ones who can be excited about a fun evening with friends, and change their mind at the last minute because they are in the midst of a new project, or finally making progress writing the chapter they've been struggling with.
Or more likely, just can't summon up the energy for an evening with people they don't connect with. [See introvert/extravert below]
Who are often socially awkward, and feel judged in situations where "small talk" is the norm.
Who often spend hours overthinking what they 'could have', 'should have' said.
And then there’s that pesky introvert/ extravert polarity…
Creatives are typically more introverted than not; it’s a scale rather than an absolute. It’s helpful to understand that introversion is not the same as shyness. Extraverts are energized by time spent socializing with a group of people. The opposite is true for introverts, who find their battery draining over an extended period of time spent socializing. The typical introvert needs at least equal time alone to recharge. For the creative process to flower, it is as necessary as breathing to spend time ‘in your head’.
Why "Hug an Eccentric?
"Support Innovation and Creativity. Hug an Eccentric" is intended to be a simple, memorable reminder to suspend judgement.
There’s a growing awareness that if we truly want innovation, we need to celebrate and support innovators - eccentricities and all. Anyone whose natural direction is to create needs the freedom to spend time ‘in their own heads’, and to follow their own path - whether in a social or corporate setting.
Keep in mind that the creative achievers we most celebrate from earliest times were highly eccentric. It was, and continues to be, a prerequisite for most creative high achievers.
Creatives are as diverse as the rest of the human race. It’s likely that few have every one of the listed eccentric characteristics. Most are likely to have some. It’s helpful if we don’t assume that people who are different should learn to conform to established norms.
Eccentric creatives are also hard enough on themselves. So consider honoring the next one you meet with a smile and a 'mental hug.' We can all use one.
For more info on the topic:
Shelly Carson, The Unleashed Mind, ScientificAmerican.com
Michael Alcee, Ph.D. The Creative Superpowers of Introverts and Artists. Reclaiming your imagination and introverted core. PsychologyToday.com