“The Crazy Ones”
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 or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
We make tools for these kinds of people.
While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
That won’t work. You did it wrong. You think too big. You need to focus on something more specific. You can’t do it all. It would be better if you did it this way. My way will work better.
How many times do you think Steve Jobs heard this? What about Beethoven? Pablo Picasso? Amelia Earhart? Thomas Edison? Ansel Adams? Einstein? John Wooden (have to have at least one basketball reference)? What about the guy who came up with ESPN? Jeez. I’m 23 (almost 24!), not accomplished anything spectacular (thus far), and I hear it all the time.
Let me tell you what I do know. I am different. I am wired differently. I think differently. In Wisconsin, I talk differently (I put things up and I say pin when I mean pen and I say down instead of dowwwwn.). I eat differently (I eat my foods one at a time and don’t let them touch. I’m also incredibly picky.). I am different, not less (Thank you Temple Grandin).
And let’s establish some synonyms for “different” so that we can apply this in lots of situations: novel, divergent, contrasting, unalike, dissimilar, unusual, unconventional, exotic, uncommon, strange, weird. Feel free to exchange “different” for any of these words throughout the course of this post. It works.
I have friends who are different too. Maybe they move differently or speak differently. Maybe their brains work differently. Like Lizzie. She’s different. She shakes her head for “no”, clicks her tongue for “yes”, and blows kisses. She’ll tell you “Hey!” when you walk in the door and make you feel like a million bucks. She uses a wheelchair pushed by others to move. That’s not like you. That’s different.
Or maybe someone like Anthony. He used signs a lot when we got to hang out. But boy he could talk your ear off. He had this little gimp in his walk. But the best laugh. And one of the best smiles. I haven’t seen Anthony in many years now. He’s different from you too.
There are other ways to be different too. It can be as simple as a different taste in music, art, or hobbies. My sister is living in Colombia (SOUTH AMERICA!). Goodness knows people there see her as different.
Then there’s Avery (see buddy, I got you!). Avery is an amazing young man. He is actually responsible for Avery’s Project (click the link to go to his Facebook page and like it!), a project to increase autism awareness. Avery has Asperger’s, like me, and I give a lot of credit to him for encouraging me to step up and speak out. Avery is really intelligent. He may not have the nicest handwriting, but he has brilliant thoughts behind it. He uses straws to help him think better. If you have a question about animals, Avery is the one to ask. When we met at Braum’s this summer, I was simply astounded by the vast depths of his knowledge. He says, “I am Avery Downum, I have Asperger’s and I am not ashamed. I am valued and have purpose.” Avery’s different. He’s one of the crazy ones. He’s the round peg in the square hole. But he’s not alone. We’re different together.
Let me tell you what you need to know about different: Different is not bad. It’s not ok. Difference is mandatory. Without different, there is no change, no progress. Why do you think TIME devoted an entire issue to the “Secrets of Genius”?
I’m over winter and way over snow; that being said, snowflakes are undeniably pretty. And something else (I bet you can guess this one.)…They’re all different. Do you know why they are all different? They are shaped by their experiences. That sounds ridiculous huh? But it’s true. Individual snowflakes are affected by temperature, humidity, and turbulence after being formed from water vapor. It grows, melts, evaporates, and bounces into other snowflakes as it falls to the ground. Different is what makes them beautiful.
Some people are of the opinion that the label of “different” is an insult, a derogatory way to tell you you’re wrong, you’re worthless, or you’re dumb.
Let them call you different. Let them think it’s an insult. But know this:
Different makes you brave. Different makes you extraordinary. Different changes the world.