By Kristen Manieri

Embrace the Ways You’re Weird with Olga Khazan

How comfortable are you with breaking from the norm? How comfortable are you with other people who break from the norm? What is normal and why do we crave conformity so much? Today’s guest had me thinking a lot about what it means to belong and fit in while at the same time honoring who we are. And, it’s had me thinking about how much space I make for other people to just be who they are.

Olga Khazan is the author of the new book Weird: The Power of Being an Outsider in an Insider World. She’s a staff writer for The Atlantic, covering health, gender, and science. Prior to that, she was The Atlantic’s Global editor. She has also written for the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Forbes, and other publications. She is a two-time recipient of the International Reporting Project’s Journalism Fellowship and winner of the 2017 National Headliner Awards for Magazine Online Writing.

Here’s the thing, most of us have at some point in our lives felt like an outsider, considering ourselves too weird to fit in. But what Olga invites us to consider is not only the causes and consequences of non-conformity, but also the possible benefits of breaking from the herd. Drawing upon scientific research and interviews, Khazan shares how we can embrace our weirdness but also how we might use it to our benefit. Who knows, you might even have a “weird advantage,” as Khazan writes about in her book.

I invite you to check out the book, Weird: The Power of Being an Outsider in an Insider World, as well as Olga’s website, which is olgakhazan.com/.

FIVE TAKEAWAYS

  1. How are you weird? Maybe your differences or the ways that put you on the fringe are actually what make you really special and gifted. How about instead of trying to fit in all the time, and make everyone else fit in, we instead start wondering why we crave and demand conformity so much?
  2. How we embrace our weirdness, how we come to terms with the way we are each different and unique and persevere regardless, help us become more resilient and tenacious. We become bolder and braver when we go against the herd, even when it feels difficult and uncomfortable.
  3. You’re probably not as freakish as you think. If you stay totally focused on your differences, you might miss out on the chance or opportunity to discover or see someone who actually is like you.
  4. Rejection and being placed on the fringe can make us more creative and more resilient. When you don’t have to follow the rules anymore, what’s possible? It can be liberating to create your own rules and not have to conform anymore.
  5. This is a book about compassion and how we can connect better with people. Loneliness and social isolation is very damaging and can make us very sick. Part of our work to become a more connected, conscious and intentional human is learning to create more space and love for everyone around us.

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Stay well out there,

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