Most people have been told to “go with the flow” and “don’t rock the boat” their whole lives, but that advice isn’t always appropriate. History has shown that change is often brought about by the people who stand out and are abnormal—those who march to the beat of their own drum.
As it happens, being abnormal is a good thing. This list looks at how being abnormal can make your life better. It turns out you shouldn’t be like everyone else if you want to live a happier and more fulfilling life.
10 Nonconformity Lets You “Be Yourself”
Our whole lives, we’re told to fit in and conform to the group — to not be different or stand out from the crowd. In some cases, this is good advice. Still, it has one major flaw: it prevents you from being yourself, and YOU are an individual who deserves to stand out for the things that make you different.
Nonconformity isn’t easy because the group mentality always pushes back against it, but that doesn’t make it wrong. The people who stand out as different tend to stand out in positive ways. Think of how Stefani Germanotta’s career flourished after she stopped conforming to the cookie-cutter standards of the music industry by spreading her wings to be who she truly is: Lady Gaga.
People have been standing out for all of history in this manner. A lot of them have enjoyed the benefits of expressing themselves for who they are. When someone has to hide the things that make them different (for fear of bullying or cancellation), they deny their individuality, which can be dangerous for their self-esteem and mental health—and dangerous for society!
Be who you are, even if that means you won’t be like everyone else. At the end of the day, that’s a good thing. You are a unique person, and everything that makes you who you are is special. Embrace that, and you will enjoy your friends, your family, your work, and your life in a much more enriching way than you have before.
9 Abnormality & Leadership Go Hand-In-Hand
If you think about the type of people who take leadership roles within a given group, they probably stand out as somewhat abnormal. Leadership is all about putting the group’s interest above your own, and that’s an antithetical viewpoint for most people.
The U.S. Army has a saying, “Lead from the front,” which essentially boils down to putting yourself in the line of fire to protect your Soldiers. Lead by example and ensure your Troops’ welfare is taken care of before your own are common phrases in the military. Still, not everyone can become a great leader.
It takes an exceptional person, or someone others may call “abnormal,” to become an outstanding leader. History is filled with inimitable leaders like General Saint Joan of Arc, George S. Patton, Gustavus Adolphus, Frederick II of Prussia, and many more. Every one of them stood apart from the rest and are remembered as brilliant leaders.
Of course, leadership doesn’t begin and end in the military. There are plenty of CEOs, politicians, managers, and people in other positions of leadership who stand out for being both abnormal and for being outstanding leaders. Odds are, you’ve worked with or for someone who fits that description at least once in your life.
8 You Can’t Replace Abnormality
When it comes to working within a group, being abnormal can bring job security. Suppose everyone within a group is the same. In that case, everyone in the group is easily replaceable with someone who shares those same traits. That’s not true of the person who stands out as being different.
If you spend your time going through the motions of your job without making any attempt to stand out, then you’re not someone the management necessarily wants to keep around. A great example of this comes from an unlikely source in the movie Office Space.
In the film, the main character stops conforming (and doing his job), but instead of being terminated, he’s promoted. Now, that movie isn’t grounded in reality. Still, it does show how nonconformity and an embrace of abnormality help an employee stand out.
If you are unique in your job, then you aren’t easily replaceable. You ensure job security and will likely improve your chances for promotion, so it’s always better to NOT be a cog in the machine. Stand out and stand up! Ensure people know just how abnormal you are and why your uniqueness makes you an asset to the organization.
7 Abnormal People Are Successful People
The word “abnormal” has some negative connotations. Still, if you think about the most successful people in the world, they are often abnormal in some way. Think of innovators like Elon Musk or entertainers like Cher and Elton John; every one of them is different in their own unique way, and they’re all successful.
Success for abnormalities isn’t limited to superstars and billionaires either. Thanks to sites like(the free speech alternative to YouTube) and others, everyone has a platform that allows them to succeed because of what makes them different.
One of the best examples of this is Jeffree Star, who gained fame on the internet by being extremely different. His Youtube channel lets him show off what makes him different. He’s acquired a massive number of followers and succeeded in side-business ventures that wouldn’t have been possible had he not expressed himself as extremely different from others.
Star is now a millionaire, but had he not found an outlet to express himself, he wouldn’t have been able to stand out. Most people seek entertainment from people who don’t follow the rules, which can prove fruitful in and out of the entertainment industry. As a side note, unfortunately Mr Star made comments a decade ago that some people now consider were “racist” and while he has apologised publicly he may be next on thechopping board.
6 Abnormal People Walk Their Own Path
Being abnormal typically means that a person doesn’t do the same things everyone else does. This leads to breaking the norms of society, which can be good or bad, depending on the situation. If you stand out for being different, there’s a good chance you won’t do the same things other people do.
An article in Forbes titled, “Being the Odd One Out—Survival Tips to Being Different” explains this rather well:
“The mega-successful don’t play by the rules. They don’t conform to all of society’s norms. They don’t follow what everyone else is doing. They do their own things –- in their own ways. They make decisions that work for them. They set goals for where they want to go. They think out of the box firstly because they aren’t standard issue, and can’t fit into the regular packaging… but mostly because they like to.”
These traits tend to lead to success. Instead of going out every Friday night, you might be at home researching or working through a problem. You walk a different path, and when you do so according to your abnormality, you might just find yourself succeeding while the “pack” is left behind.
5 Abnormal People Are Often Emulated
When everyone within a group is the same, there is little room to grow. If someone transcends the group to stand out, it can lead to progress and evolution, but it can also lead to emulation. When an individual stands out for being different, their abnormal traits are often copied by the people in the group.
There’s a reason so many people have read Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules For Life or Franklin Covey’s The 7 Habits Of Highly Successful People. The book spells out seven habits successful people have employed and why they should be emulated. When those habits originate from an abnormal individual, and they almost always do, it’s not unusual for folks to copy them.
If you are that person leading the way with a new trait, you can expect others to copy you. These people are the trendsetters, and they are some of the most successful and abnormal people in the world.
What you want to do as an abnormal person is to bridge the gap from trend follower to trendsetter. Doing so isn’t easy (by any means), but embracing the thing that sets you apart from the rest of us will certainly help.
4 Abnormal People Have Abnormal Ideas, And That’s A Good Thing
Whenever a situation occurs in a group that requires a solution, people put forth their ideas on how to overcome it. When an abnormal person gets involved, they tend to provide solutions that are best described as being “outside the box” or having “colored outside the lines.”
You’ve heard the cliche more than enough, and everyone is told to try and come up with solutions that think outside the box. The reason for this is simple: thinking outside of the usual way of problem-solving offers up new ideas and concepts (or revives) that might lead to improvement.
This is often pushed in businesses, but it also works for individuals. Entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs have proven, time and time again, that thinking outside the box offers better ways of getting from point A to point B. Suppose you’re willing to solve those problems by trying something completely different. In that case, odds are you will benefit in the long run.
Creative problem-solving can take a concept like a video rental business (Blockbuster) and advance it with mail-in rentals (Netflix). Because Netflix managed to try something new, it successfully upended a business model that succeeded for decades. Because of that, Blockbuster is down to a single store, and Netflix became an international business superstar.
3 Abnormal People Make The Best Teachers
Throughout our lives, we are taught by a plethora of people. Unless you’ve been homeschooled your whole life (which is), there’s a good chance dozens of people had an opportunity to shape your young mind. When you think back on all of those teachers, the ones who stand out are probably a bit… abnormal.
The best teachers are often the ones who employ different teaching methods or are utterly antithetical to the progressive teaching norm. Most of us have enjoyed a teacher like this at one time or another, and they don’t just teach us; they make a difference in our lives.
Abnormal teachers are all over pop culture in films like Dead Poet’s Society. Still, education isn’t the only place an abnormal teacher can shine. Training programs and motivational speakers often draw abnormal people, and they can inspire and lead others to follow similar paths.
Think of every motivational speaker you’ve watched online. They are all led by innovative people who stray from the pack. Folks like Tony Robbins and Oprah Winfrey all use the things that make them different to help others achieve success and happiness.
2 Abnormal People Change The World
Throughout human history, change has often been initiated by people who don’t follow the rules. Those in society who are different and strive to make change can significantly impact the people around them.
The standouts in history are often abnormal in many ways. Think of people like Nikola Tesla, Leonardo da Vinci, Oscar Wilde, and others who managed to alter the landscape of science, art, and literature. They each did this by breaking the mold, straying from the path, and being different.
Advancement often comes upon the backs of abnormal people whose work changes the way we view the world. Copernicus’ findings certainly did this in the 17th century and in our own time the likes of Keto advocate Gary Taubes (video above) is doing the same. While he has been much vilified by many for his work (mostly due to political and not health reasons), he’s helped us realise what a huge mistake the McGovern committee made and what a horrific health disaster the government’sis (more on that in another up and coming list!)
It takes a lot of courage to stray from the path in this regard, but the people who have done it successfully are the ones we often remember as those who changed the world. If they’ve taught us anything, it’s that keeping on the path and being like everyone else doesn’t leave an indelible mark on history.
1 Accepting Your Abnormality Can Be Therapeutic
If you’re an abnormal person, there’s a good chance you’ve spent your life hiding it from other people. When we’re children, we hide much of our personality from our peers, and this carries into adulthood. This can create severe psychological problems leading to anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideations.
Getting through childhood is never easy, but some adults have found a way to embrace the things that make them stand out, and it’s often therapeutic. While attending a convention, Star Trek actor Wil Wheaton was asked how he handled growing up and being called a “nerd” by a young fan in the audience.
He explained that while it isn’t easy growing up different, it does get easier as an adult. Wheaton has also discussed his struggles with anxiety and depression but has noted that his acceptance of what makes him different has helped him overcome and thrive.
When someone accepts who they are without conforming to the expectations of others, they often find that their lives are easier than they were before. Projecting who we think people want us to be instead of who we actually are is mentally exhausting (beware!) While making that change is never easy, it’s often therapeutic.