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The Perks of Being a Weirdo

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https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/04/the-perks-of-being-a-weirdo/606778/

theatlantic.com

The Perks of Being a Weirdo
Chris Crandall, a psychology professor at the University of Kansas, told me that people who are on the periphery of society tend to be freer to innovate and change social norms. "Fashion norms come from the bottom up," he said. Outsiders are less concerned with what the in-crowd thinks of them, so they have more leeway to experiment.

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Not fitting in

Not fitting in

Some people credit their creative successes to being loners or rebels.

Research conducted discovered that rejection and creativity were related, but only when participants had an independ...

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Circumstances that promote creativity

  • Creative types of people, such as artists and writers, are more likely to be considered "odd or peculiar" as children.
  • Being considered "weird" in your culture can also raise an elem...

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Dissenting viewpoints

Unusual viewpoints can boost the decision-making power of a broader group.

Experiments reveal that people are more willing to conform when they are in a group for fear of being seen as p...

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Dangerous advice

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Law-breaking advice

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TikTok

TikTok is reportedly 500 million users strong. It’s been a while since a new social app got big enough to make nonusers feel they’re missing out from an experience.

TikTok is an app for...

TikTok "tools"

Video creators have all sorts of tools available.
  • Filters as on Snapchat.
  • The ability to search for sounds to score your video.
  • It provides extensive reasons and prompts.
  • Hashtags play a large role as a functional organizing principle. 
  • It nudges you and makes it easy to come up with material to post.
  • Users are encouraged to engage with other users in two ways: Through "response" videos and through "duets" where a user replicates a video and add themselves alongside.

Fundamentally different

TikTok has stepped over the point between the familiar self-directed feed and experience based on algorithmic observation and inference. When you open the app, you don't see a feed of your friends, but a page called "For You" - It's an algorithmic feed based on videos you've interacted with or just watched.

It's not full of people you know or things you've explicitly told it you want to see. It is constantly learning from you and builds up a model of what you tend to watchIn short, it is like an Instagram centered entirely around its "Explore" tab.

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Hard Work Vs Good Fortune

Hard Work Vs Good Fortune

Luck is often a combination of the right connections, the right timing, and many other influences that cannot be predicted. Hard work typically gets better results...

Absolute Success vs. Relative Success

The absolute view is more global. What explains the difference between a wealthy person born in America and someone born into extreme poverty?

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You can only control the slope of your success, not your initial position.

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How Social Environments Influence Creativity

How Social Environments Influence Creativity

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How The Meaning of "Being Creative" Changed

In the 70s, creativity was thought of as a trait, something a few geniuses have, and the rest of us do not.

New studies show that ‘extrinsic’ motivators, factors outside ourselves, can influence our creativity. Competition, evaluation, level of strictness along with rewards and punishment play a huge factor in a person’s overall creative levels.

How To Kill Creativity

Knowledge that someone will check, evaluate and grade one’s work, surveillance, a promise of a reward, threat of a punishment, creative constraints, competition and motivating factors like power, money and fame can kill creativity.

Rewards generally provide the individual with a feeling of being controlled, but can also enhance creativity in some cases.

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An asshole

An asshole is someone who consistently makes the people around feeling humiliated, de-energized, disrespected, or oppressed.

Take responsibility

Some people are so thin-skinned that they think everyone is offending them when it's nothing personal. Other people are objectively treated like dirt everywhere because they're doing something to prompt that punishment.

We've got to take responsibility.

Consequences

Mean-spirited people need someone in their life to tell them they're contemptible.

In the very short-term, it might seem to your advantage to let someone feel like dirt. However, in most situations, we actually need collaboration and should be givers rather than takers. By being an asshole, you might be destroying your organization by driving out the best people, undermining their productivity, creativity, and so on.

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Athens during the Classical era

Athens during the Classical era
  • The city-state of Athens (5th and 4th centuries BCE) valued intellectual pursuits and open inquiry. That lead to the development of philosophy (the love of wisdom).
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Athens: The intellectual center

  • In the 5th century BCE, Athens housed a significant number of geniuses and innovators, such as the playwrights Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, the historians Thucydides and Herodotus, the physician Hippocrates, and philosophers Socrates and Plato.
  • Socrates is known for the Socratic method of inquiry, which uses questions to draw out critical thinking. Plato became the father of idealism and is often thought to be the father of Western political philosophy.
  • By the 4th century BCE, philosopher Aristotle was added to the luminaries of Athens. Athens also became home to the forerunners of modern universities, such as Plato's Academy, an institution of higher learning, and the Lyceum, a temple that served as a center for education, debate, and scholarship.

The Acropolis of Athens

The Acropolis is a distinctive feature of today's Athens that was built in the 5th century BCE. It is a cluster of buildings on a rocky outcrop. The famous Parthenon temple on the Acropolis was built to honor Athena and to serve the city's treasury.

Athens during the 5th century BCE was lively. The heart of Athens was its marketplace, or Agora (a place where people gather.) The structures surrounding the Agora's market stalls included stone benches, various altars, and temples, a building named the Aiakeion where laws and legal decisions were displayed, and various stoas or covered porticos.

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Restrict yourself

Research suggests placing self-imposed limitations can boost creativity. 

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Re-conceptualize the problem

Instead of thinking of a cut-and-dry end goal to certain situations, creative people sit back and examine the problem in different ways before beginning to work.

If you find yourself stagnating by focusing on generic problems, try to re-conceptualize the problem by focusing on a more meaningful angle.

For example: Instead of thinking “What would be something cool to paint?” rather ask, “What sort of painting evokes the feeling of loneliness that we all encounter after a break-up?”

Create psychological distance

Creating “psychological” distance may be useful for breaking through a creative block.

Try to imagine your creative task as being disconnected and distant from your current position/location - this may make the problem more accessible and can encourage higher level thinking.

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Haruki Murakami's world

Haruki Murakami's world

The surreal stories written by famous Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami are read by millions: The peculiarity of the plot developments dampened by an emotional flatness can feel...

Haruki Murakami - Key moments

  • Haruki Murakami was born in 1949 in Kyoto, and instead of moving into a corporate career, he opened a jazz club in Tokyo.
  • A few years later, at a baseball stadium, it occurred to him that he could write a novel. That led to Hear the Wind Sing (1979), which won him a new writers' prize.
  • He was more like a  black sheep in the Japanese literary world, partly because his books were too American-like.
  • Regardless of his critics, his commercial success continued to grow, hitting a high point in 1987 with Norwegian Wood, which sold 3,5m copies within a year of publication.

Daily writing routine

Haruki Murakami began to perfect the daily writing routine for which he is now as famous as for any single novel. He rises at 4 am to write for five or six hours, producing ten pages a day before a run of about six miles, and maybe a swim.

He believes that he has to be strong physically in order to write strong things.

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Joel Mokyr

“Technological progress requires above all tolerance toward the unfamiliar and the eccentric.”

Joel Mokyr

What society needs to be technologically creative

  • A social infrastructure: society needs a supply of creative innovators who are willing and able to challenge their physical environment in order to better themselves.
  • Social incentives: there need to be incentives in place to encourage innovation.
  • Social attitude: a creative society has to be diverse and tolerant. People must be open to new ideas and individuals.

Joel Mokyr

Joel Mokyr

“Invention occurs at the level of the individual, and we should address the factors that determine individual creativity. Individuals, however, do not live in a vacuum. What makes them implement, improve and adapt new technologies, or just devise small improvements in the way they carry out their daily work depends on the institutions and the attitudes around them.”

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