Some of the best advice that I’ve heard (in terms of growing older) is to never lose your childhood innocence, “it is the most important thing (Under the Tuscan Sun, the movie).” As a child, we become accustomed to our spontaneity and creativity–we’re encouraged to nurture these aspects of our true selves because we are children. Sometimes–somewhere along the way–we lose it. Some squelch it and let it die in its infancy, others simply forget that they ever had it. On the rare occasion that this infantile genius, which we all have, actually manages to survive past the beginning o our teenage years, great things can happen. Usually, these imaginative savants are declared visionaries because they are observed pursuing and carrying out their passion, and they they are publicly rewarded. In the Greek, the term is arête: he who is declared as being the best at a specific action and is then recognized as being the best by everyone. But what of those who don’t make it that far? What of those who, seemingly unknown, surpass all expectation and skill that is thought to exist?
There are those who deny statistical likelihoods and are therefore interesting; and there are those who fall short somewhere, but the point that I keep circling around is that, regardless of where we are currently–innovator or not–we all share the same baseline. We are all cut from essentially the same cloth and –if we remove the bits of our histories that ultimately make us who we are–we could logically arrive at the same outcome. The thing that makes the difference is application. Creative people and innovators generally recognize themselves as different, and quietly brilliant, at a very young age; and in contrast, non-creative/ self-proclaimed brilliant people see themselves in that way because they fear the risk and therefore do not apply themselves. What they fail to realize however, is that creativity and brilliance is not something predestined–it begins with a singular idea that gnaws at every fiber of the thinker’s being until he puts pen to paper and does everything that he possibly can to subdue it momentarily–to breathe, to think clearly–even if all he wants is to go home and is now sitting on a subway bench, completing his thought, all because he thought that it would be fun to have his own wheelchair after he weighed the cons of being publicly denounced, solving that problem by displaying a sign of the back of the chair that says, “I’m sitting by choice,” and then the pros being a great upper body workout, a physical alternative to walking, and it looking like a lot of fun–all to reclaim the negative connotations associated with being wheelchair bound.
It’s better to be eccentric.