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the powerful advantage of being an outsider

advantage of being an outsiderfor much of my life i felt like an outsider.

don’t get me wrong, i was always kind of cool enough to be invited…about half the time. but being invited didn’t help me from feeling somewhat different, you know, like i didn’t get the punch line. {i’m sorry, what??}

for a long time i felt kind of bad about that. kind of left out. kind of uncool.

maybe you’ve felt that way too. {sigh}

well that’s about as sad as i’m going to get in this post because i’ve learned that being on the outside is actually a pretty cool place to be. and i’ve learned to harness my inner-outsider and you know what? she kind of rocks.

believe it or not, there’s a big advantage of being an outsider.

here are a few lessons i’ve learned as an outsider that can really make you SHINE.

1. freedom.

outsiders don’t have the intense pressure to fit in and go along with everything the group says, does, thinks and believes. they’re free to stand apart. they’re free to be themselves. in a world mass-producing human carbon copies, individuality is a really powerful thing.

2. perspective.

because outsiders stand on the periphery, they’re able to see what groups are doing more clearly. they are able to observe, listen, and process what they see and hear without having the overwhelming demands to participate. this allows them to better understand the nature of groups and groupthink – and make decisions based on their own dreams and desires.

3. self-reliance.

many outsiders are inner introverts even if we have learned the ability to “turn on” extroversion when we need it. as a result of our innate personality, coupled with our outsider status, we learn to like ourselves. we’re comfortable in our own skin. we like hanging out with our thoughts and we’re not afraid to be alone. in fact, we actually kind of like it. it’s super convenient when one of your favorite people to be with is YOU.

4. grit.

because this world is a lot about who-you-know, not what-you-know, outsiders learn how to work. they learn the value of dedication, persistence and good old fashioned grit. and when the who-you-know that they need to know comes in their path, they’re ready. because “luck” isn’t really about being lucky at all. it’s about being prepared for the opportunity, and outsiders have that dialed in.

so the next time you’re feeling bad about not being invited to the latest, coolest party or you feel like you’re kind of uncool, remember this: outsiders don’t shine because they happen to be standing in the right group of people, outsiders just plain SHINE.

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Heather Hodgson January 29, 2014, 5:19 am

    Thank you for sharing this. I have been feeling very out-of-place and a bit outcast in a new city, even after 18 months. Your post is an excellent and timely reminder of what is important and what God has written into my soul. Thank you so much! I’m definitely looking forward to reading your blog in the future 🙂

    • Tammy January 30, 2014, 4:40 am

      i’m so glad it resonated with you heather. welcome here – we’re glad to have you. 🙂 blessings!

  • Zoe April 11, 2014, 3:53 am

    Great post!
    I read that immigrants undergo massive neural change, second only teenagers and postpartum mothers.
    I moved to another country, underwent massive neural change, was most definitely an outsider and agree with all you said. Deliberately embracing your outsider (or immigrant) status most definitely help you shine your own way!
    Love your pins! Zoe

    • Tammy April 15, 2014, 2:25 pm

      Wow, thanks Zoe! I never thought of the immigrant perspective when I wrote this…but wow! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Audra Silva October 26, 2014, 5:58 pm

    I love this perspective. Sometimes it feels lonely being an outsider, but I’m learning to accept it. 🙂

  • noni December 8, 2014, 7:21 am

    I don’t feel shiner at all… I feel like the perpetual third wheel. I’ve no connection to these people. Any people. I am not comfortable in my own skin. I make small talk and people give me weird looks. I am one of those hard working will give you the shirt off my back if I hear you need something I will try to help so I get includes out of obligation of if there is work to be done. Yes I get invited at times. I suck at small talk. Only thing being the outside gets me is a feeling of worthlessness and unwanted.

    • Zoe December 15, 2014, 7:02 am

      Oh Noni!
      Have you looked into getting some help?
      Feeling connected to self and others is fundamental to experiencing happiness. From what you’ve written you’re clearly a kind and generous person. Having felt like you do in the past and feeling like I do now, I urge you to consider getting help- whatever is most appealing (or least offensive) to you.
      I really believe that everyone in this world should shine and that getting help is a genuine sign of strength.
      Best wishes! X

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