There Is No Normal

You have to know your preferences well, because no matter what you do, someone will tell you you’re wrong.
– Derek Sivers
Some Will Always Say You’re Wrong

Back when I was in Junior High School, my friends and I would play with an invisible ball at lunch. We decided it wasn’t worth being “normal” and so we acting in such a way that no one would even try to make fun of us — and they didn’t.  Obviously, we still wanted acceptance from one another, but at the same time, it freed us from trying to find acceptance from everyone at school.

While I don’t still play invisible ball with my friends, the ability to be okay when someone thinks I’m wrong or that what I’m doing is ridiculous has helped me to find my own path.  It doesn’t free us from peer pressure to fit in — everyone wants to be liked and accepted but it’s okay if people don’t like or accept us.

Sergey and Larry offered to sell Google to Yahoo for $1M when they got started.  Yahoo told them they were wrong. They were told: It’s not about search anymore, it’s about web portals.  Almost every successful innovation was started by someone who did something others thought was stupid or ridiculous.

This doesn’t mean that others may not have a valid point.  It does mean that we shouldn’t expect everyone to believe that what we are doing is right or normal, and we don’t need to convince them.  We won’t always be right, but we do know that we can’t find our path simply be following what others want us to be — there is no normal.

[If you haven’t read Derek’s post, it’s definitely worth the time]







2 responses to “There Is No Normal”

  1. Bill Gascoyne Avatar

    On the other hand:

    “Every successful person has had failures but repeated failure is no guarantee of eventual success.”

    “A man does not attain the status of Galileo merely because he is persecuted; he must also be right.”
    Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002)

    “They all laughed at Albert Einstein. They all laughed at Columbus. Unfortunately, they also all laughed at Bozo the Clown.”
    William H. Jefferys

  2. David Delp (@PilotFire) Avatar

    Well, sure Bill, but I think you are missing the point. It’s not that acting abnormal will automatically steer you in the right direction; it’s that trying to be normal is probably one sure fire way to lose your way.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: