You've Got to Be A Little Crazy
indpendant obsession rocky strangeness training warrior spirit
You see it all the time in movies where the protagonist takes on a big challenge. The Rocky movies are a good example. Rocky is faced with a seemingly impossible task, something grand and earth-shattering, something that most would shrink from. But he takes it on. However, in order to be successful, he has to pick up some weird habits, and the training montage demonstrates that his goal has become an all-consuming obsession.
I've come to the conclusion that best was to excel in life, to stand out, is to be more or less nuts. You don't get to accomplish great things by first living up to all the expectations our modern lives impose on us. There isn't time in the day to be a 'model citizen', so I say it's better to just march to the beat of your own drum (improvised and syncopated, of course). Do what matters to you, and don't worry about the rest. Certainly don't worry about what other people think.
You have to sleep when you feel like it, instead of at the approved hours and certainly not during the day. You may be downing a glass of raw eggs in the morning, if that's what it takes, or punching sides of beef. You have to refuse to eat the government-approved American diet and just go with what makes you feel good. You have to bunk the standards of 'how things are done' and instead just cut to the chase.
I feel like most of the great people in history were considered eccentric in the early stages of their careers. Once they become recognized as great, their eccentricities were excused or accommodated, and in many cases set trends.
The problem with doing what matters and not worrying about the rest is that others will tell you that everything you're ignoring is important. They will tell you that you can't just ignore all these things, because...well you just can't. At some point, you'll end up estranging people who put a lot of value on living up to social expectations (though hopefully your real friends will stick around), and you may find yourself thinking that you're crazy. These are all good signs.
Someone who practices Karate every spare moment is obsessed, but is well on his way to developing a new style and becoming a true master. You don't write a novel without some weirdness, whether that means staying up way past a reasonable hour or scribbling frantically on coffee shop napkins. And who spends so much time storytelling anyways? Obsession leads to breakthrough, but it also makes people strange.
When something excellent and grand calls me to live up to my potential for adventure, I find myself standing at that precipice of strangeness. The only way to really get somewhere with many arts is to abandon all pretense of social normalcy and throw myself headlong into my endeavors. That mere act is itself alienating.
But when you're taking on the challenges worth living for, people better be looking at you funny. Otherwise, you've probably not making big enough waves.