This article is meant to help you understand crazy people! And if you don’t think you work around crazy people, then you may very well be the person I’m talking about! This article is for your pure entertainment, because every now and then, we need to take a break from being so serious and stressed out. Work can drive you crazy! So let’s just relax our minds and try to understand in a non-critical way how to better understand and communicate with…eccentric people.
The term “crazy” can be interpreted in many ways. Dictionary.com defines it in three different ways:
- mentally deranged; demented; insane. 2. Senseless; impractical; totally unsound. 3. Informal. Intensely enthusiastic, passionately excited.
For all intensive purposes of this article, we’re going to heavily reference #3—the informal, intensely enthusiastic, and passionately excited individual…who may sometimes come off as senseless, impractical, and totally unsound.
We’re ignoring #1. If you can relate to #1, stop reading and go get help!
Defining the Norm
In order for someone or something to be impractical, there needs to be a cultural norm within the workplace. The head of the company generally sets this up. If you want to understand a company’s culture, then you need to understand the vision of the founder and/or CEO.
The mission statement and vision is going to set the expectation for every employee in that company. This alone is going to establish what is exactly “normal” for that work environment. For instance, closing down work early every Friday to start happy hour might be normal for one work environment, but totally inappropriate for another. An employee who is familiar or comfortable with such circumstances may find that work environment a little informal and depending on their social background, impractical—maybe even a bit offensive.
In such an instance, that person may appear senseless and totally unsound to the environment and sees nothing wrong with happy hours in the workplace. While each viewpoint will see the others as odd or wrong, it’s going to be the majority that sets the norm, whether it’s right or wrong.
Out of these two differences, someone will probably be perceived as crazy.
Some of the Best Ideas Come from Crazy People!
Look, as a creative professional, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a little crazy (as long as it relates to definitions 2 & 3). Thinking outside the box is what creative professionals do! How can you expect to get anywhere professionally if everyone thinks conventionally? The only reason why there is a “normal” order of things is to prevent chaos. Yet, every now and again, if a “crazy” idea or concept gets introduced into society—an idea that actually benefits in the progression and advancement of mankind, then suddenly that person turns into a genius!
Some Examples of Crazy Geniuses
It can be said that there’s a fine line between being a creative genius and being plain crazy. Yet, it could be said that the line is only drawn if that person fails! Let’s take a look at some of the geniuses of old and modern times.
- Albert Einstein
I don’t think anyone going to argue the notion that the Theoretical Physicist Albert Einstein was a genius. His very name is synonymous with the term. Yet, Einstein was known for having some quirks and going against societal norms in order to accomplish his life’s work. One of his earliest papers was about the spirit of learning and creative thought being lost in strict teachings that he referred to as “rote learning”. Back then, Einstein might have been considered impractical…and maybe even a juvenile delinquent because he reportedly dropped out of that particular school.
Known for his immortal sculptures of David, Madonna and Child, and work in St. Peter’s Basilica, young Michelangelo could be considered another problem child of his day. In early 1488, Michelangelo was reportedly sent to Florence, Italy to study grammar, but had no interest in learning the traditional education, showing more interest in chiseling marble. He turned out OK. People to this very day will spend good money to travel across the world to look at his chiseled creations.
If his disinterest in academia doesn’t convince you that Michelangelo may have been a little informal for his day, he was also known for not being very hygienic—even by 15 Century standards! Now that’s crazy!
OK, so maybe lack of bathing and a disinterest in education isn’t such a stretch in being crazy even for today’s standards. However, the overall idea is about going against societal norms. So no matter how big or small the impracticality is, it will be less favorable—unless, of course, it somehow benefits the majority.
Bear in mind, the majority of people are usually pretty skeptical. So if you consider yourself a creative professional, prepare to undergo a considerable amount of scrutiny with whatever idea or creation you present to the world.
On the Other Hand…
You might also be part of the majority of people who rejects anything that’s not conventional by your own standards. If that’s the case, you’ll probably be looking for all types of faults to dismiss the new things that don’t fall into your idea of normal—unless it works for you of course. See the loop, here?
Let’s look at a couple more crazy geniuses…
- Nikola Tesla
If you were coined as the person who invented the 20th Century, having been responsible for the creation of the electricity and radio—who also attributed to computers, robotics, and nuclear physics, and someone took credit for all of that, wouldn’t that drive you a little batty? It is said that Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison had been feuding over the rights to these inventions.
Whoever you think deserves the credit, think of the type of person you’d have to be to invent something that society had never seen before. It would be next to impossible to live a “normal” life like everyone else. You’d see and understand things differently, perhaps even act weird. To even be involved in such creations, one must have to be intensely enthusiastic and passionately excited about his or her endeavors. If no one shares that passion, it’s understandable how one might be perceived as a little…off—crazy even!
It is said that Tesla had an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. His was reportedly a germophobe, needing everything clean and tidy, doing his best to stay away from dirt. Telsa would love today’s invention of the hand sanitizer!
- Steve Jobs
Apple Founder, the late Steve Jobs is responsible for taking what Tesla did to the next level and beyond. Being responsible for the PC and iPhone has certainly made him a peculiar soul. Two motion pictures were produced about him, and his idiosyncrasies certainly made him an oddity even by some of his professional peers, but you can’t deny the product. Many of you are probably reading this article through an iPhone or Apple PC right now!
- Kanye West?
Well, why not? Hate him or love him, there’s probably at least one of his songs you like. I could be wrong, but since the guy is a self-proclaimed musical genius who has also threatened to run for president, why not throw him in the mix with Michelangelo? He is an artist and like Michelangelo, he has rubbed shoulders with political officials, and his career isn’t over yet! You just never know…
Crazy or Creative?
The fact of the matter is creative professionals might be viewed as crazy simply because they see things differently than the societal norm. When their ideas and creations are socially acceptable, they’re seen as eccentric. However, up until then, they might be seen as a little crazy. It’s all a matter of perspective, really. So, if you think your co-worker or boss has lost his or her mind, just be patient and listen a little while longer. You might be talking to the next Steve Jobs or Michelangelo…and there’s only one Kanye, so it’s not possible to talk to another one of those!
Written by Zorina Frey
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