Speaker, Ironman and all round tall person, David Rendall has got the Freak Factor and he’s proud of it. In direct contravention of orders from his parents and teachers to quash his weaknesses by sitting down and being quiet, David is now in global demand for doing the exact opposite. People actually pay him to stand up, put on a show and talk as much as he possibly can! So, how did he achieve this and embrace his calling in life? He realised that you discover uniqueness by flaunting weakness.
Throw Away Your Cookie Cutter
David captivated the imaginations of the entire University of Dubai auditorium when he spoke in the UAE last week. You could hear the collective sigh of relief and physically feel the inner children of hundreds of people tentatively peaking out from their lifelong prison. He gave them permission to step away from the cookie cutters that society is constantly chasing them with. In fact, instead of continuously trying to minimize their weaknesses, he encouraged the audience to amplify them, crank up the volume and let them loose on the world!
The Freak Factor
The Freak Factor, David’s latest book makes you wonder how you’ve got it so wrong for so many years. But then you remember that societal conditioning begins from the day that you are born. The hopes, dreams and experiences of previous generations dictate what is acceptable, what is normal. Our parents, siblings, teachers, law enforcement, media, they all emphatically stress the importance of being normal. Normal however, is found in your comfort zone, giving you permission to cruise and pass under the radar unnoticed. Normal people will never be excellent, and it’s not because they can’t be excellent, it’s because they chose not to be. Be aware, society vehemently fights against excellence.
What Makes Us Weird Also Makes Us Wonderful
What Makes Us Weak Also Makes Us Strong
What Are Your Characteristics?
Which characteristics do you attribute to yourself? What would you say your strengths are? Does being thoughtful, realistic, enthusiastic, creative or organised resonate with you? And what about your weaknesses? Have you ever been called shy, critical, quick-tempered, disorganized or inflexible? Have you ever considered that no single characteristic is all positive and no negative? Superhero’s are the perfect example. They split opinion about whether they are saving a city, or terrorising it. Consider Ghandi and Charles Manson; very similar personality traits but utilised in vastly different ways. One was a prolific civil rights activist, the other a prolific serial killer.
The Best Characteristics
There are no characteristics that are all upside and no downside. The strengths and weaknesses listed above are in fact the same characteristics on opposite ends of a sliding scale. Thoughtfulness in excess can trigger analysis paralysis, needless introspection and shyness. Realistic people can quickly become critical, enthusiastic becomes quick-tempered, creative become disorganised and organised becomes rigid or inflexible.
So Why Do Our Emotions Become Exaggerated?
In our formative years, as we conform to the immense pressure and lofty standards of others, we attempt to squash our innate characteristics that are perceived as weaknesses. However, the human spirit is incredibly resilient and proud of your uniqueness. It refuses to be moulded as rudimentarily as you think possible. Psychologists call them leaky characteristics. The more you try to stuff them down, the more they will leak out and show up at the most inopportune times, normally in stressful situations. Instead, recognise these characteristics, nurture them and help them to flow. Surround yourself with people that draw out these unique traits and love you for them. Be that person for them too.
If you can’t find the right fit, create the right fit
If you are a librarian and you’re re-discovering your love for talking, this is an example of a wrong fit. Similarly, if you are pilot and you’re exploring your impulsiveness behind the
controls, wrong fit. Turn up the volume on your weaknesses, but be sure to also align yourself with things, people and situations that put a spotlight on what you have, not on what you don’t have.
Focus on changing where you are rather than who you are. Michael Phelps, the American Olympic swimmer is a prolific athlete but was in fact recognised as having ADHD at a young age. His mother had two options to quench his hyperactive nature. Either to quieten it with a lifetime of medication, or to position him in an environment that rewards his hyperactivity. The rest is history.
Shedding a life time of conditioning is a daunting prospect but an incredibly uplifting, liberating and nourishing one. Reflect back to when you were a kid, before you were taught the ‘rules of the world’. You believed your only limitation was your imagination. Your day was not defined by the right shoes, perfect networking at the sand pit or an organised toy collection. You had no inhibitions. Sit quietly for an hour and let your mind wander. If money was no object, how would you be living your life, what would be important to you?
Follow your inner passion and don’t be afraid to manifest it, the only person who has permission to judge you, is you.
Dave Rendall is the author of four books, The Four Factors of Effective Leadership, The Freak Factor and The Freak Factor for Kids. You can find more information about all of his upcoming events at www.drendall.com. If you would like our team of expert coaches to help you discover your strengths and weakness then please email email@example.com for a free strategy session.