In Praise of Peculiar People

Today, let’s celebrate peculiar people. It’s officially Peculiar People Day, though no one knows how this one got started or why. It seems to be a nod to a group of faith healers formed by Englishman John Banyard, “Peculiar People,” in 1838. Or maybe not – the two events simply share the words “peculiar” and “people.” The peculiar and slightly murky beginnings of this day make it peculiar enough to celebrate, though you know I’m going to dig a bit deeper for you, right?

While most of the world’s institutions, including family units, religion, schools, and governments work to enforce conformity and societal norms, it feels a bit rebellious to celebrate peculiar people. First, just who are these people we’re celebrating today? People like:

Albert Einstein.

Frida Kahlo.

The first woman to experiment with blue and purple dye in her hair.

Mark Zuckerberg.

Nikola Tesla.

That Chinese man who wore 140 pounds of bees as head and torso covering in 2014.

Leonardo da Vinci.

Irène Joliot-Curie.

That friend of yours who was Goth before Goth was cool and then moved on and invented steampunk.


You, too?

Peculiar people are the ones who saw things the way they thought they should be and followed their vision. They followed the vision even when they were ridiculed by their peers – Leonardo was illegitimate and arguably gay at a time when both were frowned upon, Frida Kahlo was a brilliant artist who shocked the world with her raw art and raw life, and Mark Zuckerberg who wears the same outfit every day and went through a phase of only eating meat from animals he killed. Yes, in the 21st century!

When you look at the list of peculiar people, you see people with inspired vision – scientists and artists and creators who could see the status quo and chose to push the boundaries instead of conforming to what was considered “normal” or “acceptable” or “known science.” The world moves ahead due to the efforts of peculiar people so of course we should have a day to celebrate them. Yes, even the beekeeper who set the Guinness world record for bee-bearding. While I’m not really sure what good that does for society at large, he’ll probably inspire someone somewhere to their own little walk on the weird side. And if you need a little help giving yourself permission to celebrate your own peculiarities, there’s help in the world’s second-shortest podcast.

Limiting yourself? There’s a Tiny Bite for that!

Need a reason to pay attention to strangers? There’s a Tiny Bite for that!

Think only peculiar people meditate and you don’t need to? There’s a Tiny Bite for that!

When you need a quick tip to help you out of a tight spot, check out the Wellbeing Wisdom Tiny Bites podcast. It’s 90 seconds max, shows up daily where you listen to podcasts and on the Center for Workplace Happiness website, and it’s a quick, science-based way to more wellbeing, success and happiness. If you like it, please subscribe and share it with your friends.

How will you celebrate Peculiar People Day? And can you open yourself to being more “peculiar” in your everyday life so that you, too, can push the boundaries of art, science and life? Let us know in the comments, and I hope you have a most peculiar day!

Wags, Sandy Weaver, Program Director, Center for Workplace Happiness

PS... Want more peace of mind and health of body in 2023? Check out the Mind, Body, Soul Sessions podcast – something for your whole self, just $7 per month.


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