Embrace Your Inner Geek

As I was considering what to name this blog, I decided that I definitely wanted to incorporate the word “geek” somewhere in the title or tagline. Why? Because I openly admit to being one. I’m proud of my geekiness, and I think that embracing one’s inner geek is a path to success in life.

You might consider being called a geek to be an insult. After all, the term isn’t always used in a positive way (it’s kind of like nerd or dork in that sense). However, I don’t think the term geek need be derogatory, and that most people would admit to being at least a little bit geeky. Don’t you?

So what is a geek? Someone who is smart? Maybe. Someone who watches Star Trek and goes to Comicon? Possibly, not that there’s anything wrong with that (and I’ll admit to having a substantial comic book collection sitting in my parents’ attic from my teenage years). There are a lot of ways to describe what a geek is, but I believe that the essence of geekiness is passion. Geeks are people who are incredibly passionate about a particular topic (or topics). Perhaps overly so. In that sense, unless you are devoid of passion, you are a geek (about something).

Given the number of years I spent in school (and the three letters beginning with P and ending with D that I rarely ever list after my name), I most definitely have traditional geek credentials. But, I don’t think that’s what makes me a geek. I’m a geek because I obsess over and am extremely passionate about things that I’m interested in. Let’s use running as an example. I started running in 2007 to lose weight, but quickly found myself reading scientific journal articles about the sport. I began experimenting with footwear. I started writing about running shoes on my blog. As a result I then became obsessed with blogging. I started reading books about blogging and how to run an online business. My growing run blogging obsession paved a pathway out of academia and into a new career. I now even belong to a Facebook group called “Running Shoe Geeks” with over 800 like-minded souls (yes, there are that many of us!). We argue about the construction of shoe soles, the merits of the laces on the latest model. Most people could care less about such things, but to us they are a source of fascination.

Running and blogging have taken me places I could never have imagine 5 years ago, and it all started with a hobby. The hobby became a passion, and the passion became a career. I just let my inner geek lead the way.

You name the topic, and it’s likely you’ll find a group of geeks who are devoutly interested in it. It could be painting (my mom) or yoga (my wife). It could be Minecraft (my oldest son), American Girl dolls (my daughter), or dinosaurs (my little guy). Think about what you love most and embrace it. Write about it. Talk about it. Start a Facebook group dedicated to the topic. See where it takes you.

It’s OK to be a geek!

About Peter Larson

I'm a recovering academic, current high school biology/zoology teacher, blogger, and science geek with diverse interests (and experience) in the areas of zoology, anatomy, evolutionary biology, developmental biology, and exercise science. I made the fairly unusual jump from higher ed (10 years, including tenure, as a college biology professor) to teaching high school biology at Coe-Brown Northwood Academy in Northwood, NH. In addition to being a dedicated teacher, I'm also an avid distance runner - I write about running at Runblogger.com. You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+.