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.