A person whose behavior or attitude sets them apart from others in an uncomfortably conspicuous way.
This is one definition of the word "misfit". It's also my abbreviated professional bio.
I've always been different. Even when I wasn't trying.
For some of us, and I would say most practicing entrepreneurs, we just don't fit in. And thank God. No matter the amount of outside influence the world projects on us from family values to religion to education to politics ... each of us are uniquely different. For just a blip.
And despite our one-in-billions original identity, we rapidly begin to turn into something other people want us to become. All of our physiological, psychological, physical, emotional, spiritual and financial traits begin to be shaped--and limited--by the humans we were entrusted.
How else do you explain 70,000+ people simultaneously making pig noises, intentionally, at a football game? Or every single county in your state voting for the same (fill-in-the-blank) presidential candidate?
Imagine a world that valued and rigorously defended individuality? Surely it would lead to anarchy! People would marry their pets! Cannibalism would reign!
Or would it?
I guess we'll never know. Not in my lifetime. In the meantime, I am co-rearing (is that a word?) three gifted children to be the humans they were created to become. Their mother and I are in complete agreement that our individual world-views are not theirs. Our faith, our politics and our beliefs ... even our tastes in music, art and literature, are ours and ours alone.
While we expose our kids to what we value most, we have made it clear to them that our job is to help them determine for themselves who they truly are, what their limits are, and what kind of life they will lead.
Yes ... you read that right. We all have limitations in our quest to live life to the fullest.
When it comes to business, you won't be surprised to learn I have chosen a career (or better said, I a career chose me,) that demanded I be myself. And I have surrounded myself by people who too, classify themselves as misfits, too.
People that look different, talk different, walk different, write different, think different, act different.
People who in their youth were told they were weird, nerdy, odd, difficult, even arrogant.
People who were lucky enough to have at least one person in their life consistently celebrate their misfittedness! (I'm pretty sure that's not a word either, but who cares. I'm a misfit, right?)
The next time you observe your child, or student, or your childish business partner or employee, ask yourself if you're encouraging them to live a life of intentional individuality or if you are unintentionally expecting them to act like everyone else in the micro-universe you live in.
For the sake of the human race, try your best to be yourself as often as you can. Allow others in your sphere of influence to do the same. The world needs to celebrate and empower misfits. We're the only thing standing in-between a world-gone-mad and the impossible.
Or as I like to call it ... progress.