LETS GET WEIRD: HOW TO GET COMFORTABLE BEING THE WEIRD ONE

My first go at organized youth sports was with soccer around the age of 8 or 9. I’m not exactly sure why soccer was my sport of choice. I had never spent time kicking a ball out back with my Dad, practicing headers into the fireplace, or even watching it on T.V.

Maybe my Dad chose it for me because it’s the cheapest one a kid can first get into.

A few days before my first practice I remember picking up some shiny new cleats, shin guards, and soccer shorts. I was so excited that I slept in them that night.

It finally came, my first soccer practice. It felt like christmas day. I could hardly sleep the night before.

As my Dad and I pulled up to the field I could see tons of kids already running around, kicking soccer balls back and forth to each other, and having a good time. Everyone looked so good, like they already knew what they were doing.

I started to get nervous. I’d never played soccer in my life.

I got out of the car and started to walk down to the field. I looked around for someone who I could kick a ball back and forth with but everyone was already in a small group or with a partner.

Just as I was about to start kicking around a ball by myself two boys about my age started to walk towards me. I was excited because I didn’t really want to be the only one kicking around a soccer ball by themselves.

No one wants to sit alone in the cafeteria and no one wants to kick a soccer ball alone. #truth

The two kids stood in front of me and kind of looked at me for what felt like an eternity but it must have been about five to ten seconds.

“Look at this weirdo. He’s got his shirt tucked into his shorts and his shin guards on the outside of his socks.”

Yup, it was official. I was the “weird” kid at soccer practice. Apparently it was weird to tuck your shirt into your shorts or wear your shin guards on the outside of your socks. #butiownedit

Needless to say, my soccer career ended that day. I walked back to the car and told my dad I didn’t want to play anymore. I can’t remember the exact reason I gave my dad (if you’re reading Pops please chime in) for quitting my first organized sports experience in roughly 10 minutes but never-the-less it was over before it really began.

Today’s article doesn’t have much to do with soccer but it has a lot to do with being the “weird one.”

Being the weird one is hard. Especially when it comes to nutrition.

  • You’re the weird one when you pull out a chicken salad for lunch with your coworkers when everyone else is eating fast food.
  • You’re the weird one when everyone orders pizza but instead you say no thanks and pull out a bag of almonds that you have in your pocket.
  • You’re the weird one when everyone orders lasagna and you ask for baked salmon, hold the loaded baked potato, but could I get extra stemmed veggies instead?

If you want to make the changes that will help you to become the healthiest, fittest, and gosh darn sexiest version of yourself than you’re going to have to get comfortable with being the “weird” one.

Here’s how.

It’s Easier To Be In The Majority. But The Majority Is Often Bat Shit Crazy!

Some are born weird, some achieve it, others have weirdness thrust upon them. ― Dick Francis, To the Hilt

The majority of people in the U.S. are consuming (on average) the following amounts of food each day (PN):

  • 2.0 pounds of meat, dairy and eggs
  • 1.5 pounds fruits and veggies
  • 0.5 pound grains
  • 0.5 pounds added sugars, fats and oils
  • 4.5 pounds
  • About 3,700 calories per day

Most of these calories are coming from simple sugars, processed foods, and high caloric beverages. The highest source of energy are grain-based desserts from cakes, cookies, donuts, and yeast breads (1)

But here’s the thing. 68% of the population is overweight and out of shape. The MAJORITY of people are not getting nutrition right.

It’s much easier to go with the flow and join the majority than it is to break the mold and be different.

It’s weird when to go against societal norms such as:

  • Popcorn at the movies
  • Cotton candy at the amusement park
  • Beer and nachos at the game

When you challenge conventional wisdom and social “norms” you’ll be challenging people’s identities and character. This is when the fists usually come up and defense mode gets turned on.

In a recent article I read, The Psychology of Change: Self Affirmation & Social Psychological Intervention, authors Geoffrey Cohen and David Sherman write that when events occur that threaten self-integrity a common response is stress and defensiveness. The need to maintain self-integrity is heightened.

Picture this scenario. You go out to dinner with your friends and everyone orders 1/2 pound burgers, extra cheese, and bacon (mmmm, bacon). The burgers come with fries and everyone orders a round of beers or another alcoholic drink with their meal.

Then the waiter turns to you and asks what you’ll be having. You say…

“I’ll take Grilled chicken Caesar Salad with avocado, no croutons please, and could I have some olive oil and vinegar dressing on the side?”

“And to drink?” The waiter asks.

“Oh, how could I forget. Umm, I’ll take water with lemon please.”

The music stops, the entire restaurant is silent, and the crickets begin to churp. Everyone at the table might look at you like this, especially if this is the first time you’ve passed on the burgers and fries.

Haters Gonna Hate, Ain’ters Gonna Ain’t

It’s hard being the only one striving to improve.

The motive of self-integrity is to be just good-enough, the status quo, part of the majority. The minute you decide that striving for “good-enough” isn’t really your cup of tea, and that excellence and improvement is, the haters will come out.

Getting better and aiming for excellence is a threat. It can make people feel insecure and second guess themselves and what they’re currently doing.

  • Expect to be teased
  • Expect to be mocked
  • Expect to be judged
  • Expect to be pressured to break your habits. After all, one won’t hurt right?

If your going to get teased, mocked, and judged in one area of your life this is the area where you want it to be.

And in all honesty, it doesn’t matter what the heck you do. From changing your nutrition habits, to quitting your stable job in favor of becoming a nomad, to putting butter in your coffee. Someone is going to judge you, mock you, tease you, and try to get you to abandon ship.

But here’s the thing.

Haters typically move on and live to hate another day, you’re probably your biggest critic, and if you think about it you consider certain people you come across weird too. 

To judge is to be human. 

Weird People Get It Done

There’s a lot of weird people out there and I’d like to introduce you to some.

  • Charles Dickens is weird.This guy had to write and sleep facing North.
  • Ronald Reagan is weird. What was this 69 (just days shy of 70) year old man doing running for President?
  • American folk artist Grandma Moses was 78 when she started painting. What a weirdo, right?
  • Yoshiro Nakamatsu, who patented the floppy disk got his ideas by nearly drowning himself. He’d deprive his brain of oxygen by diving deep under water and write ideas that come to him in this state on a waterproof notepad.

Oh but there’s more:

  • Emilia Earhart. First female to fly solo across the Atlantic.Weird!
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Weird!
  • Elon Musk. His company SpaceX. Weird!
  • Edmund Hillary. Climbs Mt. Everest. Weird!
  • Gertrude Ederle Swims the entire English Chanel 2 hours faster than anyone. Weird!

Weird people make sh*t happen.

Dr. Eric Romero said it best, “there is no innovation without change (2).”

If you’re committed to chainging your health for the better than you’re going to have to embrace being the weird one just like those crazy weirdo’s above.

How To Be The Weird One, Confidently 

I’m not going to try to bullshit you here. Being the weird one may suck for a bit. It may even hurt.

Recent neuroimaging studies are providing evidence that show the neural pathway responsible for physical pain is also associated with social pain (3).

What this means is that sticks and stones may break your bones but words will hurt just as bad if not worse. In fact, some studies show that more people would rather experience physical pains than emotional.

Here’s what you can do:

Vaynerchuk it: Hat tip to James Clear for bringing this awesome example to my attention of how to handle the haters.

Gary Vaynerchuk is the author of the best-selling book Crush It. Now if you’re not familiar with the Amazon rating system it can be pretty brutal. Vaynerchuk received multiple 1 and 2 star ratings with comments to go along with them.

One comment in particular asked Gary how this book even got published.

Instead of writing this commenter back and providing facts about his book being a best seller or trying to defend himself, Gary instead wrote back an apology.

“Frank, I am sorry I under delivered for you. I hope to meet you and spend 15 minutes apologizing and answering any questions you may have. I guess I needed more details in there for you. I am so sorry.”

He also ended up calling the commenter to talk things over together.

After their call together the commenter wrote a follow-up message that said, “If Amazon had a people ranking system, I’d have to give Gary 5 stars. One can not help being impressed by someone who gets back to you so quickly and handles criticism so graciously.”

The big take away from Gary is this. If you’re getting hated on for changing your nutrition habits don’t try and defend yourself or give facts about why Paleo is the best, grains are bad, or why Vegetarian is the healthiest way to eat. Instead, ask them if they’d like to sit down with you privately so you can discuss the changes that you’re making, why they’re important to you, and why you feel this will make you better friend, coworker, husband, wife, or whatever role you play for them.

Who’s The One Judging You: If someone is giving you a hard time about your efforts to improve your health and well-being take a good look at the source.

  • Are they a healthy person?
  • Do they practice healthy habits?
  • Are they well-respected, honest, and sincere?

Family Is The Tough One: They just seem to know which buttons to press don’t they? You can’t control what they will say or do but you always have control over how you respond. 

Remember The Change Rule: When you change you’re asking others to change and most people don’t like change (well that’s a tongue twister). Change is scary, weird, confusing, hard, uncomfortable, and takes effort. Reassure them that the changes that you’re making are so that you can become the best version of yourself – and the best version of you is the best version for them.

They may say that they like you just the way you are. Be honest and say that you don’t and feel like you’ve still got some work to do. Hard hat time! 🙂

1/3 Rule: A nod and a wink to James Altucher for bringing this to my attention. In an article he wrote about dealing with haters James mentions that 1/3 of people will love you, 1/3 will hate you, and 1/3 just won’t care.

When you’ve decided to start building a healthier lifestyle for yourself you can expect this split. Lets not get caught up in semantics. It might not be a perfect 1/3 split – The point is some will applaud you for it, some will hate you for it, and some just don’t really care what you do.

Create More Positive Experience: Roy Baumeister says that we remember negative emotions more strongly than positive ones. In fact, he says that it takes 5 positive experiences to overcome one negative experience (4).

I can relate to this. I’ve had hundreds of positive comments to the articles that I’ve written here on Limitless but can not remember one of them to save my life. I can however remember word for word one negative comment that I received from someone on an article I wrote years ago.

Essentially it said that I was a dumbass and that the article was a crock of shit.

To create more positive experiences try gratitude journaling, having more experiences and trying new things, and spending more time with the people who support your changes.

Get Promotion Focused Not Prevention Focused: Instead of trying to prevent the haters from hating spend more time promoting your healthy lifestyle.

Invite people to go rock climbing with you. Take people with you to check out this new restaurant you found where you can get some pretty healthy grub. Let your newly discovered energy and happiness show.

A healthy lifestyle is an exciting lifestyle. When you’re the healthiest version of yourself all aspects of your life get better. Relationships, self-confidence, productivity in your career, and enthusiasm for living life.

Promote it!

Let The Results Speak For Themselves: The best response you can give to the haters is results. All the mocking, teasing, and jokes soon turn into, “how’d you do that?” and “What’s your secret.” Be their inspiration!

It worked for these guys and gals

Never Say This: When someone asks you why you’re doing what you’re doing never tell them that you’re trying to better yourself. They’ll infer from that statement that if they aren’t doing what you’re doing than that makes you better than them.

Always respond by saying, “I’m not happy with where my health, body, and mind is and I need to make some changes.” Then ask for their support because you know it will be a tough battle to fight on your own.

Where Are Your Priorities: A few months ago I sold my bed and started sleeping on the floor. People told me I was weird, and they’re right – I am totally weird. But I have a goal of paying off all of my school loans and that is more important to me than sleeping in a bed.

Now you might not need to go sell your bed but how bad do you want it? Can you put up with a little teasing, mocking, and “the haters?” Do you want it bad enough to be the weird one ordering Salmon and veggies for lunch, passing on the pizza and beers, pulling out your cooler of chicken breasts?

Now it’s your turn. Are you the “weird one?” How do you deal with the haters? Comment below.

Live Limitless,

Justin

P.S. Special thanks to James Clear, James Altucher, Mark Manson, and Julien Flinch for inspiring this article.

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