So what if you're weird? The science behind non-conformity
And, more importantly, why it can be the basis for belonging.
DD HQ here. Be honest with us for a moment: Have you ever felt like a misfit? Like you don’t do things the ‘normal’ or expected way? Like a secret part of you is eternally weird?
As people who want to reconnect with their natural, creative DNA and push the status-quo in the process - we imagine this group might be a bit biased 🙃 But, no matter if non-conformity is a tiny feeling you’ve suppressed as you tried to navigate the ‘normal’ world, or it’s a major element of your identity - we’ve all experienced a moment or two where we felt like we haven’t belonged.
Here’s the thing: as much as we may pretend that we don’t care, we humans are constantly trying to ‘fit in.’ It’s how we’re wired - we strive to connect, to look for patterns, to sort through what isn’t like the others. That, in part, is our creative brains at work.
But the issue, from our POV, isn’t our natural craving for inclusion and connection - it’s expecting that we have to exclude, supress or conform in order to belong. And, feeling like a square-peg-in-a-round-hole is no joke; being excluded can feel as intense and harmful as physical pain.
So, what if things could be different? What if being ‘weird’ or different wasn’t a flaw, but actually the basis for how we create and connect?
Making space for all parts of ourselves - even the weird - is the foundation of how we’re building community at Daydreamers. And the range of ages, backgrounds, comfort levels with creativity and interests in the DD Universe still 🤯 our mind, in the best way possible. Because, you know what connects us instead? Feeling comfortable enough to use our creative brains, together.
We’ll explain the science behind why this is so powerful in a moment, but if this message feels like it’s speaking to you, this week you’re in luck - we made some exciting updates to our Early Access process for a really short time and the first 50 people to join by the end of the weekend will be welcomed into our community with a special creative fulfillment session from Katina, our co-founder and Chief Well-being Officer!
Let’s be clear about one thing: Fitting ‘in’ isn’t some high-school craving we had; it is (and always was) fundamental to our survival.
We humans are a social species, and we have an evolutionary need to be part of something. Since the beginning of our human existence we’ve had to cooperate, copy and in turn, conform. Our sense of belonging is so integral to our well-being that scientists think we may be the only social animal that follows others in order to fit in.
But, this beautiful element of our wiring can also be detrimental.
In a world driven by accolades, awards and status (we see you Linkedin 👀), we conform without even realizing it. We buddy up with people who went to our college, or like the same clothing brand as we do. We congregate around the same shows and social media platforms. Even worse, we may judge others who don’t ‘fit in’ to ‘normal’ standards.
And majority of the time, our conformity is subconscious (research shows that conformity manifests in children as young as two years old!). This happens, in part, because our brains are lazy - we try to do the least amount of ‘work’ possible, so when we see something that we know, we gravitate towards it. That’s is how unconscious biases work; and whether we like it or not, we all have tendencies to judge or exclude.
But, all hope isn’t lost - and it’s exactly why cultivating openness and curiosity is so important. These emotions aren’t just the basis for our creative brains; they’re the foundation for collective belonging.
That’s because when we’re brave enough to go against the status quo - whether in real life or in our own minds - we enhance psychological safety for ourselves and others. By approaching the world with a curious perspective instead of a binary one, we allow others to feel a sense of trust that they won’t be judged when they step outside the norm.
This isn’t just good for the world; it’s core to our well-being, too. Based on the ‘Broaden-and-build’ theory (one of our favorites at Daydreamers), the more that we feel curious and inspired, the more that we broaden our psychological and social resources. The safer and more connected we feel, the open-minded, resilient and motivated we become. Even more, we then have space to look for humor, creativity and solutions.
The coolest part? We have control over it all. Getting into the creative flow consistently not only decreases our self-consciousness, but helps us practice feeling more open and alive. And, research shows that when we express the inner-workings of our mind - regardless of how others respond to it - we foster feelings of trust, empathy and belonging. Creative flow is our basis for acceptance.
So maybe (just maybe) we can begin viewing our collective weirdness as extraordinary instead of out-of-the-ordinary. As Nick Cave says: “[Art] is the distance we can travel away from our own frailties. That’s what is so awesome about [art]: that we deeply flawed creatures can sometimes do extraordinary things.”
We’re here for all the weird we can get 🛸 With us?
Katina + Dupi
and the entire team @ DD HQ
Our Early Access sign up process might look a little bit different (better?) - but it’ll only be like this for a few days. Take a peek and remember, if you’re the first 50 people to sign up, you’ll get a creative fulfillment session with our co-founder and Chief Well-being Officer 🧠
An idea to noodle on 💭
Everyone is weird to someone 🙃
THINK ON THIS: Weird (or ‘wyrd’ if we’re getting ancient) originally meant ‘in control of one’s own destiny.’ That sounds like the most empowering definition of being a non-conformist, status-quo-pusher or misfit, no? When we are most authentic and creatively fulfilled, we often associate that with high environmental mastery, or personal freedom. Seems like the Scottish were onto something!
…MAYBE NOT THAT: Just because we don’t conform doesn’t mean we can’t belong. In fact, those who consider themselves ‘different’ often are predisposed to openness and creativity as traits. We already know the more open-minded we are, the more we create space for authentic belonging. So, embracing difference is actually at the root of connection. Cool, right?
Inside our brains at DD HQ 🧠
Speaking of fighting against biases, this is the best kind of library we’ve ever seen. Want to activate your Daydreaming mind? Go on a walk. Okay kind of creepy - is AI really moving too fast? We’re amazed by this visual of the radio spectrum (can we say, it’s beautiful?!). An important read - how Carl Sagan helps us process the unthinkable. The real info behind the Internet’s ‘favorite’ stress hormone.
What’s new in the DD World this wk 🛸
So, the secret isn’t out yet - but, we’re gearing up to launch something exciting to our DD Early Access community next week. Here’s a hint: it’s the laziest way to be creative (but trust, it’s still good for your brain 🧠).
If you want first dibs, and to talk to our founders about it next week when it launches, join the crew. We can’t wait to have you + share more soon.
Normal people scare me.
I have a button that I wear on my jacket that says that. Most people don’t get it. I love by that.
Curiosity is the under appreciated way to get out of our stock perception of reality and bend what we would normally think is possible. To get ideas from places that have nothing to logically do with what originally the perception came from. Curiosity puts us back to innocence, to exploration, outlandish dreams, infinite possibilities.