(Originally posted in 2014) “Perhaps being crazy is actually a good thing!” (Said I to myself, myself having been a square peg in a round hole pretty much from the get go, and BTW isn’t it interesting how we seek to validate our own beliefs about reality? Grist for yet another mill…)
Once the words had been silently spoken, I was compelled to find evidence that would transform the possibility into reality. The Internet, naturally, obliged.
My digging unearthed a few dubious facts (oh what a tangled worldwide web we weave), which I’ve married to my personal observations and those of online friends and fans, to produce this edifying, not to mention entertaining (if I do say so myself), octet of good reasons to go nuttily, crazily, crackers:
1) Crazy people change the world
Many people who become legends in their fields of endeavor or disciplines are/were considered crazy by their contemporaries. Galileo, Joan of Arc, Amelia Earhart, Richard Branson, and Margaret Moth are a few notable examples among gazillions of others.
Like all things, being crazy has a downside. Joan of Arc, for example, was burned at the stake at the age of 19. Little consolation that 25 years later she was exonerated by an inquisitorial court and declared a martyr. Sadly, an eventual verdict of not guilty isn’t much use when you’ve already been executed. On the other hand, the much-maligned-then-martyred Joan went on to be canonized (in 1920), and is now one of the patrons saints of France. So there.
2) Crazy people live fuller lives
It seems to me people who are just a little bit crazy also tend to take more risks, engage life more fully, and have more (and way cooler) adventures. They may not necessarily live longer (see Joan of Arc in 1 above), but they do live in bigger ways than the purportedly more sane among us.
CNN war-zone journalist and camerawoman Margaret Moth (one of my personal heroes) summed it up quite nicely:
“I don’t think it matters how long you live, as long as you can say: ‘I got everything out of life.’”
To get everything out of life, one must test the crazy waters now and then. (I recommend going for it now rather than waiting for then.)
3) Crazy people are happy and vice versa
In 1992 Richard P Intel at Liverpool University proposed happiness should be classified as psychiatric disorder. The author’s abstract says:
“…in a review of the relevant literature it is shown that happiness is statistically abnormal, consists of discrete cluster of symptoms, is associated with a range of cognitive abnormalities, and probably reflects the abnormal functioning of the central nervous system.”
In his proposal he further observes:
“Uncontrolled observations, such as those found in plays and novels, suggest that happy people are often carefree, impulsive, and unpredictable actions. Certain kinds of social behavior have also been reported to accompany happiness, including a high frequency of recreational interpersonal contacts, and prosocial actions towards others identified as less happy.”
Do you want to be happy? Of course you do. And that means, at least according to Bentall, that you will (by definition) be crazy too!
4) Crazy behavior inspires the same in others
This LOL TED talk by Derek Sivers on “how to start a movement” captures the inspirational benefits of “going a little crazy” perfectly.
Sivers’ main point is:
“The first follower transforms a lone nut into a leader.”
Wanna’ be a leader? Be a lone nut and/or be among a lone nut’s first followers. Watch the short, and suitably nut-filled video for the amusing explanation:
5) Crazy stuff makes for great conversations
How excited would you be at the prospect of hearing a story comprising a blow-by-blow description of an evening in front of the TV?
“I sat down, remote in hand, and didn’t get up, except to make popcorn, for four hours. There wasn’t much on, so I switched endlessly between channels trying to find something interesting. It was a bit boring to tell you the truth.”
A bit boring!? A whole lot boring!
In contrast, wouldn’t you want to hear more about someone’s first bungee jump, or the time they dyed their hair purple, or climbed Mount Everest for charity, or…(insert your favourite crazy behavior here)?
All of a sudden, we’re all ears, questions, and yes, engagement.
6) Being crazy keeps other people guessing
Well yeah. If you’re always doing something out of the box (which coincidentally was a former name of this blog), you keep everyone around you on their toes, wondering what the hell you’re going to do next. You might even keep yourself guessing if you’re good enough at being extra-ordinary. And that can only be a good thing right?
We all love at least some mystery, adventure, and anticipation in our lives (bet you have to watch the video in 7 below the whole way through 😛). Otherwise, what’s the point?
7) Craziness creates a joyful chain reaction
This just seems SO obvious to me. If you do stuff others don’t, you have different experiences. Different experiences create a chain reaction of more different experiences (revisit 4 above), which in turn create a fuller life (see 2 above).
Here’s a visual metaphor:
8) Being crazy is “natural” (see 3 above)
I put the “why go a little crazy” question to my online community, most of whom misinterpreted it (admittedly due to my poor phraseology), and responded with a litany of things that drive them nuts (that blog post to follow on the heels of this one when I get around to it). Others got my drift. They responded:
“Why not?” commented AmazingWomenRock FB fan Tara Fennessy. “Kids naturally go crazy when they’re having fun – why shouldn’t we!?”
My friend Erica des Roches observed:
“Because ‘CRAZY’ can be the new ‘NORMAL’! As long as we’re ALL doing it at the same time!”
Hey. There’s an idea. If 40 is the new 30, and 80 is the new 55 (OMG), and #PINK is the new black, surely crazy can be the new normal.
Go on. Live a little: Go crackers. Go crazy. Go nuts. Go for it! You don’t really need a reason, but if you want one, you now have eight from which to choose. Remember: The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do. So get cracking!
P.S. Got more reasons to add to these? Let’s hear ’em…