My résumé makes no sense to most people. How did I jump from a pool-cleaning business to Wall Street? Why would I give up a lucrative trading career to start an obstacle race company? How did I manage to succeed at any of it, much less all of it?
Here’s my secret: I’m weird. I don’t think inside the box. I don’t live near the box. In fact, anytime I see the box, I take it to the curb for recycling.
To me, living inside the box is what’s weird. It’s like bio-engineered plants grown in a hothouse. It’s not natural or mentally, spiritually, or physically healthy. Have you ever eaten a hothouse tomato? Blech. It’s flavorless and missing a lot of the great nutrients you get with an organically grown tomato. Even the color is wrong. So give me natural foods—the wild stuff—and a life to match.
The simple truth is this: Innovation breeds success. In a world of conformity, it’s quirkiness and ingenuity and a willingness to be weird that stands out. If you find a cool new way to do things, you’re going to get noticed, stay passionate about what you’re doing, and significantly increase your odds of success.
I admire a company called Method, a maker of nontoxic, non-stinky, really effective, and totally green cleaning products. At Method, they call their scientists “green chefs.” Every employee covers the front desk, no matter his or her job title, at least one day per month. They have weekly Monday morning huddles in their futuristic lobby with a different employee leading the meeting every week.
That’s all fantastic, but here’s my absolute favorite thing about Method: The final job interview question is, “How will you keep Method weird?” That is super-cool.
Jim Morrison once asked, “Where’s your will to be weird?” I know where mine is. It’s on full display every day of my life. Because weird is fun, weird makes us better, weird breeds success.
If you dare to be different, the world will beat a path to your door.