Flaunting My “Freak Factor” with Dave Rendall

On Thursday, April 14, 2016 I experienced David Rendall‘s “Freak Factor” motivational speech at the American University in Dubai. This was just one of 21 presentations he will give in seven countries this month!

I’ve virtually known David since 2012 when I was an Associate Content Manager for the Business Segment at Lynda.com; this was my first chance to meet him in person. Anchored by the motto “what makes us weird also makes us wonderful; what makes us weak also makes us strong,” the nearly 90-minute presentation encouraged those in attendance to “think differently about being different.”

His intent was to help us understand our “Freak Factor” — the unique combination of our strengths and weaknesses that make us different and make us powerful. Presenting personal perspectives — including his experiences being 6 feet, 6 inches tall — David walked through seven steps that help us understand ourselves by thinking and acting differently about our weaknesses:

  1. Awareness
  2. Acceptance
  3. Appreciation
  4. Amplification
  5. Alignment
  6. Avoidance
  7. Affiliation

A nine minute, 15 second compilation of his full presentation follows:

In summary, David’s message is not that we need to turn our weaknesses into strengths, but that our weaknesses ARE our strengths; they’re what differentiate us from everyone else. Success follows when we focus on these unique strengths because they position us closer to our goals than starting from an entirely foreign area would. David also encouraged all of us to overcome negativity bias — when we see the negative in a situation — and instead look at the potential that our weaknesses present.

We should therefore turn up the volume on our weirdness and not allow ourselves to get stuck in a middle zone. Stop trying to fit in and we need to find out where we fit. Similarly, we should build relationships with people who support our uniqueness, just as we should do the same for others who are important people in our lives.

To learn more about David, visit his website or buy his “Freak Factor” book. You might also like a more complete version of his presentation, “Freak Factor: Discovering Uniqueness by Flaunting Weakness: Dave Rendall at TEDxMarinette.”


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Matthew A. Gilbert, MBA, is a marketing lecturer at Coastal Carolina University, where he teaches advertising, consumer behavior, personal selling, and principles of marketing courses. Research-oriented, he focuses on artificial intelligence, the sharing economy, and social media, with a burgeoning interest in sports marketing. He also facilitates professional development workshops and has delivered three TEDx Talks. As a consultant, he crafts marketing content, creates business curriculum, and composes professional communications.