Years ago, while we were visiting our extended family in Tampa, we were all gathered in my mom’s family room when an advertisement for some historical documentary popped up on the TV in the background. When I expressed excited interest in the program, one of my younger relations looked at me and said, “you’re a nerd!” For the first few moments, that comment stung a little bit, but then,…I began to more deeply consider the implications vs. the reality of being a nerd.
The world sees nerds as socially inept people. They’re criticized for not being hip (or whatever the current term is). They don’t dress “on fleek” (I had to look this up), they’re awkward, and they’re not up on the latest and greatest trends. They seem to focus on things that the majority is not interested in, therefore, they are ridiculed and often shunned by the “cool” people. Which raises a few questions like; who are the cool people, who made them cool, and why do we (or should we) care what they think?
Basically, to be “cool” means that one must follow in the same direction as the majority. Sociologists and investment advisors call this the “herd instinct”. Financial commentator, James Chen defines the herd instinct as “a mentality that is distinguished by a lack of individual decision-making or introspection, causing people to think and behave in similar fashion to those around them.” In other words, wherever the herd goes, you go, whatever the herd does, you do, and sadly, whatever the herd believes,…you believe.
After much consideration, I’ve decided that nerds are my heroes, and I’m happy to be numbered among them. Why would I feel this way? Well, nerds don’t mindlessly and sycophantically follow the herd (Ask a cow following a herd being led to the slaughterhouse how the herd instinct works for them). Nerds don’t do what’s popular simply because it’s popular, rather, they do what they like and enjoy it whether it’s “cool” or not. Others may think they’re “weird”, but who cares? They are comfortable in the skin they’re in and, generally seem to be at peace with who they are even though the majority has rejected them.
About that majority, Jesus said in Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” As the above-mentioned cow knows all too well, following the herd generally doesn’t end well. The Apostle Paul said it best in 1 Corinthians 15: 10 when stated, “By the grace of God I am what I am.” when he confessed not to be among the upper echelon of contemporary Christian leadership. Paul knew that the only person he had to impress and emulate was the risen Lord, Jesus Christ.
So, I’m okay with wearing the “nerd” label. I enjoy history documentaries, the occasional Star Trek episode (the Original Series), the 60’s Batman series (shout out to my bat-buddy, Alex Zsolt), and old comics. If that makes me a nerd, well then buy me the t-shirt. And, as a Christian, I know that the only crowd I need to follow is the one running to Jesus Christ!
 Chen, James, Director of Trading & Investing Content at Investopedia, investopia.com.