Throughout millennia the misfit has been shunned, ridiculed and ostracized for being odd, for not fitting into the social mainstream of the day.
In the above image you see three carrots. Your eye is drawn to the one in the center. It is a single carrot yet its appearance is unlike that of the other two nor indeed that of other carrots. Instead of being one long and elegant “stick” the one in the center is a shape misfit. It’s tri-pronged half needs extra care to keep it all together.
You may suspect that it might contain a slightly different mix of chemicals, that it could be toxic which gives it the odd shape. Don’t worry, this is just a physical difference and yet you would still hesitate to pick this odd shaped carrot at any grocery store. So many times, the odd shaped vegetables are left unsold, or sold at less than half of the standard price. Farmers eliminate these misfits at an early stage because they have a far less or no market value at all.
Many years ago, Steve Jobs and his team at Apple wrote the following commercial:
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. 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 and vilify them. About 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 crazy, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
The Value of the Misfit
We are social beings. We do everything in order to behave as closely as other people to in order to fit into society. We are fit when we behave like others and think like others. We are fit when we copy other people because this is the sure way to be accepted without argument by the mass. If you want to deplete your creativity or originality, copy everything the mass is doing and leave almost nothing of your own. That is pretty much the meaning of the extreme side of being a “fit” person. You may notice the peril of the “fit.”
Since we live in a world of mass-media it is easier for us to copy other people’s ideas and actions from thousands of miles away. However, intrinsic value is in the “original” that was created by the misfit who thought differently and acted differently somewhere on this planet. The rest of people had just copied it.
Our copied world contains too much of other people’s ideas instead of our own. You go to any city in the USA or Canada, the scenery of the main street is the almost exactly the same as the next city’s main street. Hotels, restaurants, stores, banks, and all other service providers are chains of and built along the lines of the brand blueprint and so look exactly the same. We are living in a world of copies. Worse, we expect the same services no matter where we go. Even expectations are the same for different countries. Maybe we are living in a world where copied value has a higher weight factor than the original.
As humans we seek comfort and certainty. We look for a known outcome and conform to the known and trusted. Originality and uniqueness suffer at the hands of conformity. Soon our experiences bear a similarity no matter where we are. Mega brand stores, restaurants and theme parks can be found all over the world. Slowly we are lulled into living a life of the status quo, vanilla after all is still a tasty ice cream.
Is that what you want?
Are you willing to be a misfit in your life and create originals? To make sure you can live your own life, think about being a misfit to gain your human dignity.
The Misfits in History
History is filled with leaders who were considered misfits during their time. It was only after a long struggle and strife that they were applauded for their brave acts and unique innovations. This requires a great deal of courage, faith in self and a willingness to listen to your own inner voice. In the past someone left the following comment for respectable misfits.
“The creative adult, is the child who survived.”
From the moment we’re born, we’re negotiating a pathway between merger and separation: wanting to be close, to be part of the group, to be intimate and trusting, but at the same time wanting to be independent, in need of no one, autonomous, solitary, proud. When you don’t feel like you fit in anywhere, you’re often uncomfortable. When you get uncomfortable, you have a chance to grow. Consider that breaking away from the status quo is freeing yourself.
Observe and Embrace Your Inner Misfit
You were born unique within you. There are very few adults who retain or recapture their ability to think with the freedom of a child, the misfits. Don’t hide your bizarre obsessions, or anything that you can’t stop doing just to make yourself look reasonable. They are the very reasons why you were born into this world.
Misfits think beyond their perceived set of limitations. They take big risks and they play big. They speak their true mind. They are relentless. While their actions don’t always seem logical, they are intuitive. They are also unafraid of rejection and they will be persistent enough to keep asking questions until they get what they want. They know the field they are playing.
Independent people tend to be focused on their own priorities. For them, there simply are no rules. Rules can be seen as a distraction and their actions often reflect this. Many have large personalities or distinctive character traits that aligns them on a level of historical figures.
When we march to the beat of our own proverbial drum, we follow paths that are available only to us. Be the misfit carrot with three legs. With three legs you can run faster, do more and align with your goals and personal definition of success — true individualism. Congratulations! You are a misfit!