What is it about eccentric personalities? I’ve known my share and liked most of them. When I met a person once who was to become one of my best friends, he didn’t immediately strike me as an eccentric. It was only over time that I found he marched to the beat of a different drummer. I admire people who can do that and get away with it, but having known many people with eccentric personalities, I’ve found most don’t really get away with it. They may march to that different drummer, but they pay a price for it. They get to maintain their marching beat, out of time with the drum major, but they are looked at with skepticism by their community at large. Whatever that community may be. They seem vaguely suspicious to everyone who values marching in step. You might even say they can be the outcasts of society.
Some professions welcome eccentric personalities. Why? They tend to be original thinkers and come up with inventive ideas. Academia is one such profession. Original research is required in academia. Inventive ideas are a necessity in order to excel and even to keep one’s job in all but the smallest of colleges. Even there, inventive teaching ideas are welcomed. That slightly (or not so slightly) out of step marcher is welcomed. Think Stephen Hawking to call upon an extreme example.
Some industries, at least those that actually invent products which are rare in the U.S. these days, welcome eccentric personalities as they tend to think big and develop the products that are cutting edge. Think Steve Jobs and Apple Computer. Steve Jobs was certainly an eccentric and imagine someone never having conceived of Apple products.
I haven’t seen that churches particularly welcome eccentrics. Church goers seem to enjoy like-minded people. There hasn’t ever been much room for different ideas or ways of looking at things in my experiences. Or for people who march a bit out of step.
Artist’s colonies. Eccentrics with tendencies toward the arts – writing, painting, sculpting, theatre – are often comfortable in artist’s colonies. There are some artist’s retreats to be found and even some permanent artist’s colonies. Fewer and fewer that I see.
There are Stephen Hawking’s and Steve Job’s everywhere you look. Many people just don’t give those who march to the beat of a different drummer a chance. They laugh at them. Pretend to look down on them when they may actually envy them for going their own way. Even try to make them throwaway members of society for not fitting into the cliques, clubs, and gossip circles. All because their marching speed or steps are a little different than theirs. Think of what others may be missing by not knowing them. Think of what the world may be missing. Shameful really.
Copyright Rosemary Carlson 2017