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Let Your Quirks Define You

I’ll talk to an impassioned diesel mechanic about carburetors, rack and pinion steering, and engine block cubic centimeters all day long. But I become bored in seconds if I am forced to converse with someone about their cars, house, clothes, and CD collection.

In life, it is the things that we do that define us, not the things that we buy. It seems social pressure bears down on us to fit within certain brackets of categorization. However, by not conforming, one only finds himself conforming to a different group of would be nonconformists. Sure, you can work in corporate America and decide to not conform to the standard dress for success norm by wearing black, dark eyeliner, and jack boots. The only problem is, you now fit into a new group called Goths.

I was once shot a sideways glance when I pointed out to an art director that he seemed to have purchased his black turtleneck and designer glasses at the art director clothing store. Needless to say, he didn’t like the comment. I had lumped him into the very group he had tried to distance himself from, the group called conformists.

It comes down to this: nobody cares how we dress. Nobody cares what we drive. Nobody cares where we live or whether or not we like Miles Davis and Eric Clapton. People are drawn to passion, zest for life, and genuine kindness. Do you have quirks in your personality? Throw away the turtleneck and wear them instead. What do you like to do? Play Dungeons and Dragons? Skate in the roller derby? Cook French cuisine? Compete in Reno on a bowling league? Paint? We don’t care what it is, as long as you DO, we can see past what you BUY and get to the true traits that define you.

Next time you get in a conversation with a friend and are tempted to talk about how you are paying a landscaper artfully place granite boulders into your yard, remember, nobody cares—that is unless you are doing the landscaping yourself.  Next time you meet up with an old friend and think he might want to hear about your new BMW, quickly remind yourself that he doesn’t care—unless you are restoring an old BMW in your garage from the ground up.

Those who do, create, love, share, and invite define themselves with these traits. Those who buy, wear, consume, take, and collect need a hobby.