Normal is not something you aspire for … it’s something you run away from! ~ Jodi Foster
We live in world of conformity. Being different, being … “not like everyone else is or like your supposed to be” – is is too often bad. Because if you’re different, then you’re unpredictable. And most people need predictability. Their minds aren’t programmed to understand, or even accept these “outliers.”
It’s the creative people, the out-of-the-box thinkers … who are ones who push the boundaries and shatter the status quo. They tremble at the words – normal, or conventional. These are the “Weirdos.” The ones who don’t conform, the Albert Einsteins, the Steve Jobs, the Truman Capotes and the Orson Wells. These people “scare” other people. They scare the normal people, the ones who do what their parents did. The ones who are “politically correct.”
When this country has made strides and moved ahead – it’s the “Weirdos” that blazed the way for others to follow … often to much prejudice and ostracism. But we forget that those proverbial roads we often take for granted – were the result of the chances they took … and not us.
It’s easy to point to successes of the people I mentioned above and recognize them for their accomplishments. But what about the “Weirdos” close to us. The guy down the street with the dreadlocks. The Goth girl who always keeps to herself writing … always writing. Or even the boy next door that his teacher is “hell-bent” to get him on ADHD meds because he doesn’t sit still (through her boring detached lectures). These “Weirdos“ could be the next Bill Clinton or Jennifer Lawrence, both of which were bullied and looked at as outcasts. But too often instead of embracing them – we brand them with a Scarlett Letter.
Two years ago at the 2015 Academy Awards, Graham Moore, winner of the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, gave an inspiring acceptance recounting his adolescence where feeling ‘weird’ almost drove him to suicide. These are the exact people we need to nurture … not ostracize and shun.
They say, “all politics is local.” So is misunderstanding. So is prejudice. What you do to accept the “Weirdos” in your community, whether young or old, will help construct the flavor and individuality of your community.
The key to making all this happen is not through existing channels and the status quo – but rather through a network of outliers. Outliers have always been the ones to make change, to innovate and move society to the next level. But the answer is not to tear down. The solution is creating a new system, a new society, that runs parallel to the existing one … “a society within a society.” This new society will be the ones of ideas and inclusion, not one of maintaining the existing power structure. This new society of outliers is us, Community 3.0. By uniting ourselves and those around us – we will be able to create a community that is inclusive and built for and by everyone … not just those tasked with protecting the status quo and those embedded in it.
This “society within society” built around its Front Porches is the agenda and purpose of Community 3.0.