Thought leaders see the world differently than most. They’re passionate, visionary rule-breakers. They’re trailblazing pioneer disruptors that drive change and move us forward. It’s no surprise that they’re also eccentric. What kind of eccentric habits? Here are a few habits of 5 great thought leaders.
Benjamin Franklin: Cold Water Swimmer
No thought leader article would be complete without referencing American Founder Ben Franklin. One of his many quirky habits included daily swims in the London Thames river. He wasn’t alone in his belief that chilled body submersions are healthy. Ancient Greek Hippocrates noted that doing so combats physical and mental weakness. Today’s science supports the theory that a cold shower, swim, or ice bath invigorates the brain by sending fresh blood to the vital organs.
Steve Jobs: The Cryer
Apple founder Steve Jobs, who changed the world, first with the Mac and then with the iPod, turned to tears in times of extreme emotion. Whether out of frustration or happiness, Jobs cried incessantly. He described these episodes as “purity of spirit”. Science tells us that crying reduces stress and leads to greater mental clarity.
Bill Gates: The Rocker
The founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, rocks. When Gates is deep in thought, he rocks back and forth in his chair. According to his staff, the pace and enthusiasm of his rocking reflected his passion for the topic. Gates was known to rock, even at Harvard. While never publicly shared, many believe that the rocking strongly indicates that Gates is neurodivergent. His rocking habit, monotone speech pattern, and lack of eye contact all point towards Autism. Many visionaries, from Einstein and Michelangelo to Newton and Tesla, are believed today to be autistic.
Mark Zuckerberg: Solo Outfitter
The founder of the giant social media platform Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, never changes his clothes. Well, he does, but he wears the same outfit daily. You’ll see Zuckerberg sporting the same gray t-shirt, with a hoodie if it’s cold, every single solitary day. Why? Because, according to Zuckerberg, he doesn’t ever want to have to think about making a choice about his clothes. He believes this simple act helps him optimize his time by eliminating less critical daily decisions. His belief is sound, especially for those who lead billion-dollar businesses and have a lot on their minds.
Jeff Bezos: Two-Pizza Rule
Amazon’s founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, is known for many quirky habits—from working at a desk made from a door to insisting that all proposals follow a very specific, short form template. Bezos also adheres to what he calls the two-pizza rule. He never schedules or goes to a meeting where two pizzas cannot feed all attendees. Bezos believes that only with smaller, intimate groups with specific objectives can you effectively move forward.
While each of these thought leaders’ habits could be considered quirky or eccentric, the truth is that there’s a legitimate reason for their seemingly odd behavior. Since each thought leader is historically successful, perhaps the rest of us mere mortals will learn a thing or two from these eccentric habits.