Lizzo: 2019's "defining star", a rapper, a singer, an icon, and a pretty awesome weirdo.
I don't think many people like getting called a weirdo, a freak, an oddball, a misfit, a geek. Weirdos are the people you whisper about at the party or at the coffee machine. Weirdos – wearing their weird clothes, sporting their weird haircut, walking in that weird way – gather confused glares just walking down the street. They get excluded from prestigious organizations, hounded for their eccentric opinions, and rejected by those who are "in."
God bless 'em, those weirdos.
Actually, we should thank them, love them, and praise them. For all of the weird things they do that turn out to be unique beyond all measure, sometimes incomprehensible, sometimes life-changing, and always interesting.
Because a weirdo named Galileo convinced us the Sun is at the center of the universe. A weirdo named Friedrich Nietzsche changed the way we think. A weirdo named Freddie Mercury wrote generation-defining music. Weirdos like Franklin, Edison, Einstein, Dalí, Coltrane, Gates, Musk: they exceeded what was possible. They changed regimes, invented paradigms, created beautiful art, and improved how we all live.
There are weirdos you've never heard of that right this minute are working toward some insanely cool thing that may take years for people to "get." There are weirdos waking up at 5 AM to train for their 100-mile ultra marathon. There are weirdos who quit their sure thing job to finally write a play or hike across the country. There are weirdos starting trends, building companies, taking risks, changing lives.
In a world where we are taught that we should all go to college, sit quietly at dinner, buy the jacket with the logo, and follow the rules, weirdos are a tremendous inspiration for all of us who struggle to be ourselves. They unapologetically display their characteristic nonconformity and uniqueness. While some people think of their weirdness as a liability – locking them out of opportunities – it's really an asset. It's actually the source of their success, creativity, and genius. By definition, you can't be different from the rest, an outlier, or a prophet if you ain't weird.
Here's the best part: we're all weird. We are all unique genetically, with surprisingly strange characteristics about our upbringing and interests. Maybe some of us have repressed these weird tendencies out of shame or fear. But no matter how hard we try to ignore or "fix" our weirdness, it will always be there, itching to be expressed, a deep mine waiting to be explored.
To achieve goals unique to us and build genuine relationships with others, we must embrace our weirdness and cultivate the skills that accompany it. If we do, we can learn to radiate the same exotic energy that draws us to so many of the countless weirdos, punks, revolutionaries, and icons in our culture.