Outsider


In his latest article in The Atlantic, Arthur C. Brooks, a contributor, suggests his readers to Find More Ways to Be an Outsider.

Though Dr Brooks encourages people to be outsider, he warns that being outsider is not easy.

Being an outsider can be lonely and difficult, especially if all the strangers around you seem to know and understand one another. Your instincts might tell you that uprooting yourself was a terrible decision, that the benefits you sought are much smaller than the costs you are bearing. You might even wonder if you’ll ever be happy again.

he truth is, however, you almost certainly did not make a mistake. There is little evidence that being an outsider creates long-term problems for happiness or lowers your chance of success; on the contrary, people thrust between places and cultures tend to develop strength, flexibility, and resiliency. Being an outsider may be one of the best investments you will ever make, and you should embrace it, pain and all.

The followings are Dr Brooks’s ideas to incorporate an outsider ethos into our life:

Brooks: ideas to incorporate an outsider ethos

  • Remember that being an outsider is a feature, not a bug. “When you are new to a place or a group of people, you might be tempted to think of your unfamiliarity as a cost of doing business, and something to get over as quickly as possible. … while you are integrating is making you stronger and more resilient. No pain, no gain.
  • Find regular ways to be an outsider. “Given the benefits of bicultural experiences, don’t leave your outsider status up to circumstance. Find opportunities to be on the margins, looking in.
  • Make friends with outsiders, even if you aren’t one. “Look for the new people in your workplace or town, who are probably hanging out together. There’s always room for one more.

Source: The Atlantic

Recalling his own personal experience, Dr Brooks writes:

Being an outsider early in my adulthood was the most positive experience I have ever had. At 25, I moved to a foreign country where I didn’t speak a word of the language, and knew not one soul save for a woman I hoped to marry, but who spoke little English. It was brutal, but life-changing in the best way. After a few years, I had lost my fear of new things, whether it was an unfamiliar language, working with strangers, new love, or a community hostile to foreigners. That woman became my wife, and subsequently became an outsider in the United States.