Are You An Eccentric?

“That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of our time”.

— John Stuart Mill, On Liberty.


A profile emerged with fifteen characteristics that applied to most eccentrics, ranging from the obvious to the trivial. We found that an eccentric may be described in the following ways, more or less in descending order of frequency. (Quoting from research by Dr. David Weeks)

Characteristics of Eccentrics

  • Nonconforming

  • Creative

  • Strongly motivated by curiosity

  • Idealistic: wants to make the world a better place and the people in it happier

  • Happily obsessed with one or more hobbyhorses (usually five or six)

  • Aware from early childhood that he is different

  • Intelligent

  • Opinionated and outspoken, convinced that he is right and that the rest of the world is out of step

  • Noncompetitive, not in need of reassurance or reinforcement from society
    Unusual in his eating habits and living arrangements

  • Not particularly interested in the opinions or company of other people, except in order to persuade them to his – the correct – point of view

  • Possessed of a mischievous sense of humor

  • Single

  • Usually the eldest or an only child

  • Bad speller

The first five characteristics listed here are the most important and apply to virtually every eccentric. Nonconformity is, of course, the principal defining trait of the breed.

A profile emerged with fifteen characteristics that applied to most eccentrics, ranging from the obvious to the trivial. We found that an eccentric may be described in the following ways, more or less in descending order of frequency. ( Quoting from research by Dr. David Weeks)

  • Less likely to be addicted to consumer culture than the general population.

  • Very unlikely to be substance abusers or alcoholics. Dr. David Weeks “fewer than 30 of the more than 1,000 eccentrics he sampled had been substance abusers or alcoholics.”

Nonconformity, extreme curiosity and irreverence for the strictures of culture continually resurface as the most distinguishable eccentric traits, and these are indeed qualities that most of us consider admirable.

  • They’re permanently non-conforming from a very early age, and there’s a great overlap between eccentric children and gifted children. They develop differently, though.

  • The eccentrics become very, very creative but they’re motivated primarily by curiosity. They have extreme degrees of curiosity, and they’re very independent-minded.

  • Their other motivation is fairly idealistic. They want to make the world a better place, and they want to make other people happy.

  • They have these happy obsessive preoccupations, and a wonderful, unusual sense of humor, and this gives them a significant meaning in life. And they are far healthier than most people because of that.

  • They have very low stress. They’re not worried about conforming to the rest of society, low stress, high happiness equates with psychological health.

  • They use their solitude very constructively, and physical health, because of that.

  • They only visit their doctors perhaps once every eight or nine years, which is about twenty times less than most of us do. (David Weeks)

  • “Time and again, the eccentrics in our study clearly evinced that shining sense of positivism and buoyant self-confidence that comes from being comfortable in one’s own skin.” Dr. David Weeks

Read the entire article at http://www.gnomesondope.com/eccentric.htm

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5 thoughts on “Are You An Eccentric?”

  1. sure, in a way, sometimes.

    I think that there are certainly levels of eccentric personalties that simply wouldn’t give a rats ass about if they fit a list of characteristics.

  2. I hate being called that word cause it labels me. and I hate any list that contains negatives toward me or limits me in a situation. People should try to understand the motives not a label.

  3. This is useful and interesting. I would suggest, however, that a distinction needs to be made regarding the meaning of “eccentric” in England as compared to the U.S. In England, eccentricity is valued. It is seen as applicable to exceptional, even gifted people. Oddities of behavior and living style “go with the territory” and are accepted as features of the difference between those with special talents and others In the U.S.,eccentricity tends to make people apprehensive, even suspicious. This is seen in the passionate rush to embrace fads and trends,to regard with skepticism anyone noticeably different. Unfortunately, such a reaction indicates a kind of national fear of individuality often commented on.

  4. Definitely believe that which you stated. Your
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