There’s More To Wearing Odd Socks Than You Think

Odd socks say more about you than you may think.

Recently I put on a pair of odd socks by mistake. They’d accidentally been coupled together in the wash. I didn’t realise until it was too late, and they were on my feet and in my shoes.

I felt uncomfortable.

Not physically. Psychologically.

Perhaps it’s a streak of OCD. Maybe it’s social conditioning. But I couldn’t stop thinking about my mismatching socks.

I was acutely aware that they looked odd.

And whereas some people wholeheartedly embrace regularly wearing odd socks (even deliberately buying them that way), I was experiencing inner turmoil.

So I took a philosophical approach.

Is There More To Odd Socks Than Meets The Eye?

Wearing odd socks is more than just having a quirky dress sense. It’s more than laziness, or losing items in the wash, or a nonchalant approach to footwear. It says a lot about you as a person.

What?

It begins with a pejorative.

What’s Wrong With Being Odd?

“Ha ha! You’re the odd one out!”

“He’s a bit odd.”

“Oddball!”

It’s strange how “odd” is seen as a negative, almost derogatory, term.

What’s wrong with being odd? Apart from not being divisible by two?

Well, actually, that could be the likely source of the problem.

The Safety Of Symmetry

We love things that are even. Symmetry is comforting. Just look in the mirror.

Two eyes, ears, arms, legs, etc.

Same number of teeth, toes, fingers, ribs, nostrils, on each side.

And anything singular is bang in the middle. Nose, belly button, naughty bits.

The things we see, day in, day out, are what we guide ourselves by. Symmetry and even numbers represent safety and normality.

That’s why odd is considered unappealing.

It’s safer to conform and be part of the crowd than risk standing out.

After all, isn’t it better to have balance?

A world where people know their place — in line with everyone else.

Easier to control.

We can’t have hordes of freethinking, free spirited individuals running wild in society now, can we?

That just wouldn’t do. It would be chaos.

Or would it?

Oddity Is Just Another Word For Unshackled Creativity

Take a look at a Picasso painting. Odd.

David Bowie. Odd.

Salvador Dalí. Very odd!

And yet, there’s little doubt that they were masters at their craft. Creative geniuses with a different world view.

It’s this distinctiveness that sets them apart from everyone else. That’s why they are memorable. Revered.

Because they’re not like everyone else.

They embraced being odd. It allowed creative freedom. And, as a result, it helped them stand out from the crowd and carve their own, unassailable, creative niche.

Stick Out Like A Sore Thumb

Negative idioms like this abound. Conformity is the message. Odd is not good.

Wrong.

Setting yourself apart IS a good thing.

Being the odd one out can be an advantage

Be contrary.

Have confidence.

Don’t be swayed by what other people think or say. It is merely an opinion.

It’s ok for people not to agree with you.

Don’t feel you have to shy away.

Be the odd one out.

Wear odd socks.

You’ll certainly get noticed.

And who knows where that might lead!

Gareth

 

 

Main Image Courtesy of Michael Wright on Unsplash

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Say “yes” more. Except when you mean “no”!

Yes written in grafitti

I’ve found that my default response when asked if I’d like to do/try something, go somewhere or meet someone new is typically a noncommittal “we’ll see”. Which in fact is a dressed-up “maybe”. But in actuality is an unequivocal “no”. I have decided, upon reflection, that I need to say “yes” more.

How many opportunities have passed me by? How many experiences have I missed out on? How many people have I failed to meet?

What is the total loss to the self, thanks to the unholy trinity of “we’ll see”, “maybe” and “no”?

I need to say “yes” more.

It’s important to say “yes”. But only in response to the right questions.

Only yes is yes written in chalk on a blackboard.

Since realising my love of “no” and disdain for “yes” I’ve started noticing similar patterns of behaviour in other people. It’s like waiting for a bus, and then two come along. Or spotting people glued to their phone screens as they walk down the high street. Or worse still,  scrolling through their feeds whilst out “socialising” with friends down the pub or in a restaurant. Once you notice it, you can’t un-notice it. You start seeing it everywhere!

People say “no” (or any number of the more passive utterances) all too readily. It becomes an instant reaction. Perhaps to buy time to consider what you’re being asked to do. Maybe because it’s become ingrained through habitual use.

I think it’s borne out of the fear of the unknown.

We’re scared to take risks.

New experiences, people, even opportunities, represent risk. And as an unknown quantity our immediate reaction is to shy away from them.

We are afraid of the unknown.

Will Smith described it best, recounting his confrontation with fear when skydiving in Dubai. We’re not actually afraid of the act itself. Once we’re there and experiencing it we commit and enjoy. It is the anticipation that frightens us.

“You realise that the point of maximum danger is the point of minimum fear.” – Will Smith

The build-up to an opportunity or new experience is scary. Because we have time to think.

Once we allow ourselves too much time to think, we convince ourselves not to go through with it. We psyche ourselves out. All of a sudden our brain has conjured up an infinite number of reasons why we should not be doing this thing that we will likely benefit from greatly. And that’s when it becomes easier to simply say “no”. That’s when we automatically make up excuses, reasons why “now is not a good time”.

The fact is, “now IS a good time!” If not now, when? This realisation has been a catalyst for me, and something which I’ve written about previously. It’s time to get out of your own way!

Don’t fear the unknown.

Say “yes” more. Unless what you should be saying is “no”.

Come again?

Let me put it differently.

How often have you said “yes” to a request (or a passive “ok”) when what you really ought to have said was “no”?

I do it all the time. Why is it suddenly so hard to say “no” when that’s exactly what you want to say?

How many times have you been asked to do something extra at work, when you’re already up to your eyeballs, and said “yes”?

Don’t be afraid to say “no”. You’re already quite good at it when it comes to opportunities for personal growth and experiential development!

Say what you mean and be clear about it.

Say “no” when you mean “no”.

Don’t be afraid of what the other person might think of you. You don’t need to placate them with “ok”. Be clear. Say “no”.

Similarly, don’t be afraid to take risks. Take opportunities when they present themselves. Don’t fall into the trap of always saying “no” or “maybe” and never doing anything. Say “yes”. And mean it.

The anticipation, the build-up, will be scary… The event itself will be exhilarating.

Say “yes”. Unless you really have to say “no”.

And remember… “No” still means “no”.

Buy try to say “yes” more.

Gareth

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Get Noticed. Get Out Of Your Own Way.

Silhouette of a man, standing in the shadows, desparate to get noticed.

It’s time to get noticed. Again.

I’m not the biggest U2 fan. I think their best music can be found in their earlier albums. However, they never fail to strike a chord (pardon the pun) lyrically.

There’s always a single or two on every album that has lyrics that really resonate. None more so than their recent release, Get Out Of Your Own Way.

It’s been a long hiatus. I haven’t written a blog post in years. And I’m pretty ashamed and appalled by this fact.

I don’t buy into empty New Year Resolutions or cliché New Year, New Me rubbish.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” ~ Aristotle

 

Actions speak louder than words. Just do it. Call it what you want. I haven’t been doing it. I haven’t been putting my words into action.

New Year is an arbitrary point in the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. January 1st in the Gregorian Calendar is an arbitrary starting point to the New Year (fashioned so that Easter falls at the same point in the lunar cycle every year). So, in an equally arbitrary fashion, I have decided that now is as good a time as any to get noticed again. It’s not a New Me. It’s just Me. I’m back.

I’m blogging. Posting. Sharing. Updating. Creating content that interests me. If it interests you too, great!

When I first launched my website in 2013 I had a fairly regular blog where I wrote about the creative process, explored the ins and outs of social media, commented on adverts that interested me and creative work that inspired me. That content drove traffic to my website. It helped me get noticed. It gained me followers. Clients. And, most importantly, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed writing. Creating. Sharing. And all the conversations and interactions that resulted from it.

Old garetalvarez.com landing page - Welcome to my workshelf.

Then I just stopped. I didn’t stop being interested, I just stopped writing about it. I didn’t have the time.

Sorry. What?

I didn’t make the time. So I stopped getting noticed.

And it’s this that I am going to change.

This is my plan to get noticed

One Minute Briefs Logo

Taking inspiration from One Minute Briefs (@OneMinuteBriefs) and Nick Entwistle from the Bank of Creativity (@BOC_ATM)and now Trunk Agency (@TweetsByTrunk) I plan to “get sh*t done” this year.

Write it down. Post it. Share it. Whatever it is. Just do it. There is no point in doing nothing. So let’s do something.

Create scribbled in pencil.

Nick once said, “there is nothing more important than the work you do, to get the work that you do noticed.” Or words to that effect.

And that’s what I plan to do.

This year I plan to spend more time promoting my work. It doesn’t matter what it is. It doesn’t matter whether people like it or not. You can’t please everybody. And if you set out to try to please everybody you’ll create nothing meaningful.

If you don’t take the time to work on promoting the work that you do you’re as good as invisible.

It’s not just good enough creating. Share what you create. Be visible. Get noticed.

And that’s my plan this year. I have a new website. It’s going to be cleaner and neater. I will update it regularly with new content. New posts. My latest work and endeavours.

Now is the time to “get sh*t done.” Do work to get the work that I do seen. Share more. Post more. Create More. Get back into old habits.

No more excuses.

It’s time to get out of my own way and get noticed! Again.

Gareth

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