Actually being eccentric means you are fully living. Most people learn to stuff that part of themselves down. Why? Because we are taught early on in life to conform, and to listen to what others think. There are times when we need to conform aznd follow the rules, but what is important is knowing when it is time to break the rules, to have a voice, to speak up, to be different and not be afraid of what others think.
It can be scary, but also exciting. When we live authentically we will choose to do what is truly us, and even though we might be afraid of not being approved of, we do it anyway because it is exceptionally ourselves.
I have had many experiences throughout my life where I went against what society or friends were telling me to do and they have absolutely been the right decision for me. Having dyslexia and ADD, I struggled in school. I was told by a few teachers that college was not for everyone, that not everyone can be successful.
However, there was one teacher who truly encouraged me to be better, to find a way to learn that was not in the traditional way. I would meet with her at lunchtimes and it was not just what she taught me learning wise, it was what she installed in my mind. To think outside the box and to not let others determine my future and that I can be successful. She allowed me to see a picture of myself that no one else was able to give me. A picture of trusting myself and finding ways to do and be who I want that may not conform to societies norms.
This picture was given to me again when I was in my thirties and I wanted to go back to school to become a therapist. Most of the people I knew thought I was crazy as I had a good job that paid well, so why would I want to do that? Along with the constant messages that there are too many therapists, it is a lot of schooling and that being successful in private practice is very difficult.
I started listening to these people until someone said to me, if this is what you are passionate about you will be successful at it no matter how many therapists there are out there.
I signed up for school the next day and have never looked back. It is now 17 years later and yes I am in my own practice and yes I am successful even though there are many therapists out there.
Why? Because this is who I am, it is my calling, it is my authentic self. To be me I had to be willing to be put down, told I am wrong and be looked at as a little eccentric.
So, as Steve Jobs said, “here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them, because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
I will leave you with two questions: How are you going to let your eccentric part explore the world from your authentic self, and who are you going to encourage in your life to be their authentic, eccentric selves?
Contact Dr. Zavala at [email protected] or DrZavala.com.