Have you ever felt like an outsider, feeling that you don’t quite fit in with the group around you? That feeling, says science writer Olga Khazan, might actually work to our advantage.
A staff writer for The Atlantic and the author of Weird: The Power of Being an Outsider in an Insider World, Khazan well knows what it’s like to feel like the round peg in a square world. Drawing on her years growing up as a Russian immigrant in West Texas, Khazan studied why communities generally prefer conformity and what not fitting in can do to the odd person out. She writes, “If weird has a feeling, it is at once energizing and maddening, like trying to squeeze into a space where you might plausibly fit but don’t.” While the maddening part can be wearing, Khazan found in her research that those of us who look, act or think differently can harness the energy that comes from standing apart and uncover our hidden powers. Weird, Khazan says, is our potential.