Here is the full transcript of life coach and internet comedian JP Sears’ TEDx Talk: Saying YES! To Your Weirdness at TEDxCardiffbytheSea conference. This event took place on May 12, 2017 at Encinitas, California. JP Sears is the author of the book How to Be Ultra Spiritual: 12 1/2 Steps to Spiritual Superiority. To learn more about the speaker, read the bio here.
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JP Sears – Life coach and internet comedian
Show of hands, who makes a conscious effort to be yourself? That’s a big mistake.
I think trying to be yourself makes you just like everyone else who’s trying to be themselves. My feeling is that you should try to be unique by trying to be like everybody else. And it’ll make you normal, which is good.
I do believe that the most dangerous liability in our world today is being yourself. Think about it: if you are being yourself, someone might actually find out who you really are, they might actually see you. You might actually find out who you are. People might make fun of you. They might reject you. They might actually accept you too. Which is probably worse. So that’s very scary.
So I really advocate a posture in life of being normal to help protect you from these great threats. Are you guys with me? At least this is what our imaginations say, for some reason. I mean, it sounds a little ridiculous. But I think what’s actually more ridiculous than how it sounds is the fact that we all act this out to some degree.
And it’s also a fact that I just called my opinion a fact. So it’s like scientific, which is great.
Another of my opinions is the most pervasive disease in our world today is being normal. It infects a lot of people. It infects 90% of people. The other 10% are also affected but they don’t know it, they’re silent carriers.
Are you okay? You look sad. Do you want some flowers?
To me, they’re really quite ugly, they just look like weeds. But I hope they cheer you up.
So I’m not a doctor, unless I’m in denial. How would you know if you’re a doctor? I assume like someone tells you. But anyway, it’s my opinion I’m not a doctor, yet I believe being normal, it’s caused by a fear-based mindset of self-rejection. It’s incredibly self-imposed, incredibly self-induced. It’s like, when we’re being normal and that becomes the religion we worship, we treat ourselves like the enemy. We reject ourselves because that ensures us nobody else is going to reject us.
If I reject me first, then you don’t get any of me, because I don’t bring me to the table, so you can never reject me as long as I’m rejecting myself. Which is pretty interesting. It’s like, I’ll kill myself, so that I don’t die.
Nobody else can kill me if I die first. Honestly, I think we laugh because it’s true. I can feel you’re telepathically asking me, “JP, is there a cure for normal?”
I believe so. To me, the cure for normal is your weirdness. Not someone else’s weirdness, but your weirdness is the cure.
Show of hands, who in here is naked under your clothes right now? Cool. So you’re all a bunch of naked weirdos. The cure is inside of you. You don’t need to go figure out how to be weird. I think the design team that makes us, they are way too intelligent to actually make us just normal. They want life a little more interesting than that.
By the way, that statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. It’s not food or drugs. But it is my position.
From my perspective, your weirdness is a big part of what makes you, you.
Does anybody in here know what the purpose of life is? Yeah. Oh, God. I guess that’s the purpose. We’re done, we just figured it out.
So aside from the one narcissist who actually thinks she knows what the purpose of life is, I don’t know what the purpose of life is. But if I was pretending to know the purpose of life, I think it would have a lot to do with you living your life. You actually giving yourself permission to be the miracle that you are, and expressing that, not hiding that. It’s kind of interesting how we’re given this life, which I judge to be something incredibly precious, and then I’m amazed at how much of my time I spend hiding this precious life that I’ve been given. I guess I was profound. We got some sighs.
So what if the purpose of your life was actually to be yourself? Can you slice through the psychological scar tissue of your programming that has you acting normal, so that the miracle of you can actually arise?
So what is weirdness? This stage creaks so much. Which is kind of normal for stages, when you think about it.
So to me, weirdness is something too far profound to actually be defined. So here’s my definition of weirdness. It’s the traits, the tendencies, the behaviors, the perspectives that help make you unique. Again, it’s nothing we need to acquire. I think it’s something we’re incarnated with. The question is: can you take off what you cover up your raw, naked weirdness with?
Some of us would be sitting here saying, “Well, JP, you know, it sounds cool to be weird, but I’m just normal. I wear a suit and I actually pay my taxes on time. And I like doing that. So I’m just a boring, normal person.”
What I hear you say is you’re actually in denial. Microphone check. Whoever invented this style of microphone should be executed. It’s like a water bottle company saying, “This water bottle is meant to be held by your ear.”
Which brings me to my next point. You’re weirder than you think. In fact, you’re probably weirder than you can think. That’s my opinion.
Question for you: who inspires you the most? Think of the person who inspires you the most. And yell out a name for me. What I’m hearing you all say is JP Sears.
Let’s go with who inspires you the second most, because I don’t want this just all to be about me. Okay, now, your names.
Myself. Okay. I like that. But I heard some of you guys saying Alan Watts. You can think of the cliche examples like Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, like whatever. Whoever inspires you the most, the question is: what about them inspires you? My delusional opinion is what inspires you about them is the fact that they’re weird. I guarantee nobody has ever inspired other people by excelling at normalcy. I’ve tried, it hasn’t worked.
And I think really what inspires us about inspirational people more than their weirdness is the fact that their weirdness actually delivers them to us. We actually – we get exposed to the surface area of who they are. Because they’re willing to risk being their unapologetically weird selves. And somehow, we get inspired when we see someone else being themselves.
We trick ourselves; we think we’re inspired because of what they do or what they have, but I think that’s just a delusion. I think we’re really inspired by them being willing to risk being themselves. And I might be the only one — but I might not be too. I think we’re all very thirsty to experience ourselves.
So when we see someone else drinking themselves — and again, not what they do, not what they have, but who they are, they’re ripping their normal clothes off and we see them being themselves — we say, “I want some of that.”
So what if you found out your weirdness is a gluten-free bread crumb trail that always leads you to you — to your authentic self? So I don’t like to worship weirdness; I love to worship where weirdness leads us, which was really hard for me to say just then. It’s a really abnormal sentence to put together, apparently.
So why I am a huge fan of weirdness is it’s my dogmatic belief, it always leads us to who we really are. Not who we think we are, not even who we want to be, but something far more significant — it leads us to who we actually are, if we’re willing to follow the scent trail of our weirdness.
So on paper, like being weird and not apologizing for it sounds kind of cool. So why do we constipate ourselves from expressing our unapologetically weird selves? Why do we do it?
Well, because there’s nothing but awkward silence meeting the question I just asked, I’ll give you my answer. I think we constipate the expression of our weirdness and therefore the expression of our true selves because we’re all approval addicts.
Why are we approval addicts? I’m curious, who in here has had a childhood? Cool. I saw eight people. The rest of you are in denial, which just means you had a very traumatic childhood, so the memory that you actually had a childhood will come back to you at some point.
I think one of the most fundamental human needs is the need for connection. And when we’re a child, this need for connection is incredibly raw. Babies can actually die from failure to thrive syndrome if they don’t have connection. And what’s the currency of connection we learn early on? My experience — it’s approval. When I feel approved of, I feel a sense of connection.