Share Your Passion and Be a Nerd
Tony Robbins says “Live with passion!”
Hunter S Thompson says “Anything that gets your blood racing is probably worth doing”
Vincent van Gogh says “I would rather die of passion than of boredom”
Our passion is our strength. Passion is the oxygen of the soul. Passion drives perfection.
Your passion is your personal priorities for your interests and hobbies.
Your passion makes you unique. Your passion is where you are a nerd.
When I was a kid, being called a “nerd” was an insult, on par with being called a “dork” or “geek”. These words were used to segregate the cools kids from the outcasts. At times, I was called a nerd or dork and cast aside. I was ridiculed and bullied for acting geeky, because I didn’t fit in with the crowd. Being excluded hurt my feelings, but most times I didn’t want to fit in with the crowd. I had a passion for something and I didn’t care what the social norms said about it.
As I aged, I noticed “dork” has generally remained an insult, but in the last 20 years in the rise of the digital age, “nerd” and “geek” have taken on new meaning in popular culture.
With the popularity of “The Big Bang Theory” sitcom, success of comic book movies, and growth of video game streaming, Nerd Culture has become a thing in pop culture. People have embraced the word Nerd and let their Nerd flag fly sharing their passion with others.
What is a “nerd”?
Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary says a “nerd” is an unstylish, unattractive, or socially inept person, or a person who is slavishly devoted to intellectual or academic pursuits, or a person preoccupied with or devoted to a particular activity or field of interest.
That last part is relatively new and has been kind of stolen from the definition of geek, though both words are really not that old. Around the same time period as when geek and dork were first used, nerd was coined by Dr. Seuss in his 1950 book If I Ran the Zoo, where it happens to be the species name of an odd looking creature. Not really the same as it was used in the 80s and 90s when I was growing up.
I think I just went full nerd on the word “nerd”…
Anyway, simply stated, a “nerd” enjoys learning and does not adhere to social norms. Their passion leads them to learning. Their passion leads them to break from social norms, which can make it difficult to fit in with the crowd or to feel included with your social group.
I’m a nerd for science, physics, philosophy, Star Wars, board games, video games, football, and, you may have noticed on here, Toastmasters. I’m just getting started being a nerd for karate.
I nerd out thinking about how to make a real lightsaber or how the Force could be real in our universe through String Theory. I nerd out over how I can apply Yoda’s wise words to my own life. I nerd out strategizing in a board game or video game. I nerd out watching football and analyzing player technique and play-calling. I nerd out at Toastmasters learning all the facets of the program to recruit and coach new members. Each of these are outside social norms.
Usually, if you want to share your passions with others, you have to find other people in that same niche, because your normal social circles just don’t understand what you are so excited about. In the niche group, you will find likeminded friends, but you will also encounter people who will attack your passion, because it differs from their own in some way. Your unique perspective can be illuminating for some and decisive for others. It is hard to find places where no one is excluded.
Earlier this month, I went to Epic Nerd Camp, a 5 day camp for nerds to get together and bond over numerous activities and nerdy things. It is an amazing experience of people from all walks of Nerdom, bringing their unique passion to share with others and make many new friends. I’ve been itching to write about the experience, because of the inclusion everyone feels being there.
It is insane to think of how many friends I have made at Epic Nerd Camp just based off seeing their passion for something and learning something new from them. Breaking from the social norm of excluding people because of their obscure passion, Epic Nerd Camp is an inclusive safe space for any passion.
Why is it so different? What makes it inclusive to all?
Honestly, I think it is the individual behavior of the people there. Everyone that goes is looking for a place where they fit. Because they are looking for a place where they fit, they are more receptive to other people looking for that same thing. They make room for those people. They look out for people not being included and suck them in.
I feel seen and heard among my Nerd Camp friends. I make sure others are seen and heard. In the game room or cafeteria, I feel I am welcome at any table and I reciprocate that by inviting everyone to my table. No one’s passion or nerdiness is viewed as definitive or divisive. Instead, they are strengths to learn from, conversation starters or propagators, and a small step into our hearts.
What do you love so much that you feel you have to know everything about it?
Don’t hide it. Ignore those that exclude you because of it and find the people who include you no matter what your passion is.
Live your passion and share it with others. Be a nerd.