From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur Pam's Blog Moved.

Embrace the naive, unconventional weirdo that lives within you

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I spend so much of my time hanging out with smart, creative, slightly crazy and rebellious people that I forget there are legions of folks out there who question their sanity when wanting to break away from convention.

Sonia Simone, someone I worship and adore, wrote a brilliant post about this on Copyblogger yesterday, Why being naive can make you a fortune.

Having been called naive by many hard-charging corporate types early in my career, I was raising my hippie fist with joy at her wisdom, excerpted below:

Naive does not mean stupid

I am not a big fan of the expression “Leap and the net will appear.” More often, it works out to “Leap and the floor will appear.”

Naiveté is about rejecting stupid definitions of maturity. It’s about brushing aside rules that no longer make any sense (if they ever did).

Naiveté is about seeing a bigger picture. About being brave enough to ignore conventional advice that doesn’t apply to you, doesn’t make you happy, and may not even make you any money.

Naiveté is not willful ignorance. It makes plenty of room for curiosity and learning. It makes lots of room for experimentation and thoughtful observation.

But it has no patience for ruthlessness (except with ourselves), jockeying for status, or trashing your conscience in the name of a paper success.

We need more reminders like this. We need more advice on how to embrace our inner weirdo and flourish, like Charlie Gilkey dispenses on a daily basis.

More of us need to build a body of evidence of Career Renegades, like Jonathan Fields does on his blog.

And we need to get the word out about truly useful books like the one Chris Guillebeau just released yesterday, The Art of Nonconformity. There are few people that can stand behind their story like Chris, since he practices every single piece of advice he dispenses. And he has a fascinating life and thriving business to prove it. Read Colleen Wainwright‘s thorough review of his book to see what I mean.

I love Sonia, Charlie, Jonathan, Colleen and Chris not just because they are smart (which they are) and supportive (which they are) and funny (which they are), but because they actively embrace the spirit of naive, unconventional weirdos and make it cool.

If you are feeling like the lone crazy one in your family or social circle, perhaps it is time to search out your own band of smart, funny, compassionate, hard-working misfits.

Convention is highly overrated.

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11 Responses to “Embrace the naive, unconventional weirdo that lives within you”

  1. Usama says:

    Clearly you understand the difference between being naive and being stupid. Thinking out of the box can only make you invincible in this world.

  2. [...] I spend so much of my time hanging out with smart, creative, slightly crazy and rebellious people that I forget there are legions of folks out there who question their sanity when wanting to break away from convention.Sonia Simone, someone I worship and adore, wrote a brilliant post about this on Copyblogger yesterday, Why being [...] Original post [...]

  3. Vanessa says:

    Being laid off was the best blessing in disguise. I literally felt like I was in cubicle hell. Well for a very long time now I have been researching findng my inner wierdo and researching how this journey might be. I loved this article, your book and I find comfort in knowing so many want to escape. But what many don’t realize is that they can leave at anytime. We don’t have to be corporate slaves. Somehow a door always opens when we face our fears of what’s the worst that can happen, imagine it and then move on. Not so scary if you take small but consistent steps.

  4. Thank you for this! I have often felt like the crazy one—refusing to accept “stupid definitions of maturity” like a 9-5 job where you spend most of your time talking about what you did on the weekend. I appreciate this redefinition of naivete—people’s reactions to me being an artist and making that my main priority, have often been “but what is you real job? and how will you make money?” as if I’m being naive about thinking it is possible to be an artist and make a good income. It is refreshing to hear the opposite being broadcasted and celebrated all over the internet.

  5. Kirk Kittell says:

    This post made me think of a line from Hunter S. Thompson in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

    What that line and your post both say to me is: once you strip away the assumption that you are required to mold yourself to convention, you can thrive — or at least get the opportunity to thrive — within the rules that make sense for you.

  6. Marlee says:

    Pam!
    Thank you for this post. I too think those fine folks deserve acknowledgment for paving the path toward awesome unconventional wisdom.

    Besides freedom, increased creativity, and the possibility of innovation, what would you say is the greatest benefit of going unconventional?

  7. Brenda says:

    All the FREAKY people make the Beauty of the world. Conformity is BORING. You can’t be an entrepreneur and be a conformist. That’s an oxymoron.

  8. Cheryl Dolan says:

    “Be yourself – everybody else is already taken” ~ Oscar Wilde
    Thanks Pam, for this celebration of the gifts in us all!

  9. JB says:

    Is it me, or does Chris’ last name look like it is pronounced like the word “gullible” would be, if one had a French accent? Along the lines of Phideaux (Fido).

    Or is that just my limiting beliefs popping up, telling me once again to fear that dangerous idea of non-conformity, no matter how badly I want the non-conformist lifestyle?

  10. The notion of being conventional was stated best by Mark Twain, “To be the first – that is the idea. To do something, to say something, before anybody else – these are the things that confer a pleasure compared with which other pleasures are tame and commonplace, other ectasies cheap and trivial”.

    Entrepreneurs dream of creating the break-though, disruptive, or game changing technology – to be the first with the out-of-the-ordinary product. They enthusiatically believe anything is possible and all obstacles can be overcome. Even when they are confronted by the naysayers, these entrepeneurs hold on to their ideas. In today’s economic times, the world could use more of the unconventional wisdom of these entrepreneurs.

  11. **I spend so much of my time hanging out with smart, creative, slightly crazy and rebellious people that I forget there are legions of folks out there who question their sanity when wanting to break away from convention.**

    Word. We’re very fortunate, ergo it’s incumbent upon us to remember a time when we were less so. Man, I used to feel like the freak of the week every ding-dong day. Thanks for the reminder to keep spreading the word. You’re good like that, lady.

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