Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

Is Your Story Weird Enough?

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We Are All Weird by Seth Godin

In his book We are all Weird, Seth Godin describes how strange the world is becoming.

I agree.

His point is that in an information age, we are able to connect and find common ground over the weirdest things. Whatever it is you are in to, chances are there is somebody who has  a website or a blog devoted to that same hobby regardless of how weird it might be.

The power of connecting over a common goal is incredible.

The World is not Weird Enough

But I would also have to disagree with Godin. Yes, there is some unprecedented levels of weirdness today, but I would argue that the world isn’t strange enough.

For most of us, our goal in life is to be normal. Normal is ingrained in our way of thinking. It is a basic need that seems almost impossible to overcome.

We want to fit in. We want to be like everybody else, perhaps just a touch better. We pursue the same interests and hobbies. We let others determine how we spend our time and how we spend our money. We let others write our stories for us just so that they can be completely normal.

When you purchase new clothing, chances are you are more worried about how others will perceive you in it than whether or not you like it.

When you publish a new blog post, you are more concerned about how many people will like it than whether or not it is your soul coming out on the page.

When you start a new business you have to make it look as normal as possible just to get a loan, and so that your friends and family won’t tell you how crazy you are.

Normal avoids risk. Normal is comfortable. Normal plays it safe.

Normal is about finding personal security because everybody else in the room looks and acts and talks just like you.

Normal is Boring

Fitting in makes sense, if you want to tell a boring story.

When you go to the movie theater, you aren’t hoping to watch something completely normal happen. When you open a book, you want anything but the usual day to day events to take place.

The world needs you to live an incredibly weird story.

We need for you to contribute through your own unique personality and set of gifts. We need you to inspire the rest of us find our own inner weird and to be brave enough to tell our crazy story.

Normal is average, and average is mediocre.

Weird Enough?

At one point what we now consider to be normal was very weird.

  • Flying
  • Using computers
  • Living in North America
  • Watching television (too bad this has become so normal)
  • Clean water and good sanitation (this is still weird for much of the world)
  • Curing cancer

But the individuals who started the journey down these roads did not let the weirdness of it deter them.

How can you tell if your story is weird enough?

Other people should be questioning your sanity. When you tell them about it, they should turn their heads and ask if they heard you correctly.

You should be questioning your own sanity.

Your story should fill you with both excitement and fear.

The easiest way to let our stories become normal is to let somebody else tell it for us. We let the desires of what other people want us to do and to be determine the path we choose for ourselves. And when we do this our stories are no longer unique.

They will become completely normal.

How weird is your story? Are you trying to play it safe?

Give us an example of a weird story in the comments.

About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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10 Replies

  1. Your post reminded me of the book Weird by Craig Groeschel.   We haven’t been called to live normal lives and to blend in.   I recently read the account again of King David dancing naked in the street.  That’s not normal and people questioned his sanity.  But the joy of knowing and following Christ should provoke  us to do things the rest of the world just doesn’t understand.  

  2. I haven’t had the chance to read Groeschel’s book yet, but I thought of it too. David is a great example. Dancing in the street in your birthday suit as a king, that is weird. But it’s a story that keeps being told thousands of years later.

  3. Jeremy, this is great! I just want to shout AMEN! Often decisions we make as Christians on faith make people around us think we have lost our minds. My question to them (if they are Christians) is what would we think of God, and what would life look like if God never asked us to step outside of the ordinary? … We would never open our eyes to see his great power and get to see Him do GREAT things!

    I have made of few of those types of decisions in my life … but not without battling fear of man and worry of the outcome, but looking back, God is so faithful and SOOO BIG! Each time my faith is built, and each time I am more in touch with my creator.

    Thanks again for this post!

  4. My story was really, really normal, until  6-7 months ago when I had a nervous breakdown. I never thought I would be thankful for a nervous breakdown. I guess I might be a little weird now :)

  5. I agree. The God we describe and the way we act do not always correlate.

  6. The nervous had to be awful in the middle of it, but you survived (are surviving). Keep going Jim.

  7. Thanks, I’m doing really well now. I appreciate it Jeremy.

  8. You’re so right…normal is boring. Especially in a story :) I think that’s why in my historical fiction novel(in progress) I’ve added angels and demons…besides being a mystery I’ve upped the ante:)  Love the post!

  9. I’m glad you didn’t say vampires. They are becoming normal.

  10. Hi Jeremy. Thanks for writing this post, and for the summary of Seth Godin’s book.
    My story in brevity: I am a follower of Christ, and I am a criminal. I coach & mentor men, volunteer at a non-profit, yet traditional employers won’t touch me. I look normal, have three college degrees, but I challenge people, organizations, and the limited thinking we rest on. I am a loving father & husband, even though convicted felons aren’t considered stable enough to support others. Perhaps I am a walking contradiction, but my goal is to encourage others. Is that weird? 

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