According to psychiatrist David Weeks, the most significant characteristics of eccentric people include long-lasting non-conformity, creativity, immense curiosity, a sense of being different and idealism. Other qualities, such as intelligence, a preoccupation with numerous hobbies and being outspoken and non-competitive also rank high in the lives of those identified as eccentric.
Substantially more happy and physically healthy than the average person, eccentrics do not strive to be different, nor do they seek to fit in. Content just being themselves, they embrace a world of non-conformity through unusual ways of thinking and behaving from a young age. Some ways this can manifest itself include unique eating habits and living arrangements, social awkwardness, and a mischievous sense of humor, wit or whimsy. They generally do not need reassurance from society and are not particularly interested in the opinions or companionship of others.
Eccentric people often let curiosity steer their lives, leading them to engage in exploratory behavior punctuated by midlife changes in career or lifestyle. Slightly abrasive, eccentrics tend to feel different from much of society. They prefer to discuss thoughts with more frequency than feelings, generally assured that their opinions are right and that others are out of touch with them.
David Weeks asserts that only one in 10,000 people are genuinely eccentric and that an obvious family pattern of eccentricity exists in at least 36 percent of people who fit in this category.