If you're reading this blog right now because you have nothing better to do, then this entry might be for you. Don't despair, though, I aim to show you how being an outcast or even a loser is one of the greatest things that can ever happen to you. Bill Gates, Stephen King, Lady Gaga . . . All these people had rough starts. They sat alone during high school lunch periods. They were the last picked for sports. Now they're the most prominent names in their fields. Why? Because losers are more creative and make the world not only go 'round, but they also change it. Don't believe me? Believe science.
Aliens and self-identity.
Some of us go through periods during which we feel like losers. However, some of us feel like we're always losing. Either way, this is great news.
Most outcasts have a very strong impression of themselves. In the case of writers like me, it shows up on the page as a variety of different characters. Whenever someone is strong willed and independent - meaning, one does not rely on others for support - they thrive in the face of adversity. In short, we're inspired by out failures and our attempts to overcome our fears, let downs, and pasts.
A forthcoming study from Journal of Experimental Psychology called “Outside Advantage: Can Social Rejection Fuel Creative Thought?” reveals exactly what it means to be a loser. Once we're outcasted repeatedly, we long find our own unique identity and remain outside of the inner circle.
In the study, participants were asked to draw an alien. To read more about the details, check out this article. In summary, those who had been outcasted drew a more creative alien than those who had not. Most aliens had two eyes, a nose, ears, etc. While it seems like all these qualities are necessary for another living being, it's important to note they are extraterrestrials. They may not need eyes or even have the sense of sight. They might not need to breathe either. The outcasts created aliens that slightly resembled humans with a few of their characteristics, but were definitely unique. Some of the drawings were creative in the simplicity of the mouth being towards the forehead and the nose under the mouth.
If you're creativity is very humanoid, it might suggest you are too concerned about what others think. Everyone knows what the caricature of an alien looks like. Paul the movie does a great job with poking fun at the generic design of an alien head. The less human you can imagine something, the more creative you are, because you aren't too concerned with common trends and impressions.
So this is great for revolutionizing the world. The only problem is, the world doesn't want new ideas.
Corporations are crazy.
In the story "Sleep" from No-Injury Policy, the tale starts off with a man on a quest to find a job. The only problem is he's not qualified for anything, not even in his field. He's the creative loser type, desperate to succeed or, for once, to fit in.
What I hoped to convey at the beginning of this story is the constant request for the same type of employee by almost every business. They want followers, not leaders. Yes Men. They want sport-minded individuals for competitive reasons. Even if they want "creative types", they really want individuals with the same backgrounds, skills, and personalities. Every law firm wants a new lawyer from Harvard, right?
So yes, the people could be ideal employees. However, when you don't take a creative look at you own business and only hire the same type of people over and over, it's destined to fail. As with the alien example, outcasts have faced a lot of adversity, and they think a little differently from everyone else. This is good for companies that a looking forward and not drowning in the past. Sure, a creative graduate of NYU is ideal for many creative companies, but perhaps someone from the middle of nowhere would be better. They had to be more creative just to land the job interview. A business could really benefit for outcasts.
And as for the sport-minded individuals, there's nothing wrong with an athletic mentality. It's good. It's competitive and useful. But having this as your sole mindset means you'll contribute nothing new to a company, and your job will consist of the same mundane activities. Everyone stalemates.
While there's a push for more "creative" employees, the aforementioned study suggests companies really haven't grasped the idea. In my mind, this is because its current employees are too focused on found business methods and the old way of doing things. Good for them, hiring creative types and such. But - uh - they really should focus on employees with more unique backgrounds. They might just provide some winning ideas that could propel the company or at least keep them alive for another generation.
And now for the catch-22.
The ultimate paradox is that of the loser. Even in my stories, the outcast's goal is to succeed. But to be an outcast you have to face rejection, right? Ideally, the best creative types are accepted the very least. Hmm . . .Well now, doesn't that just suck?
The good news is, losers are more creative. They approach almost every situation differently, not matter how mundane. But most of all, losers are motivated to succeed and will. So if you're a loser, don't sweat it. It's because you're actually a winner. The story of a loser who becomes a winner is the best of all. Thanks for reading. I'd love to hear anyone's story of rejection and/or success.
You Might Also Enjoy:
Life After College: Is It Your Fault?
Are You A Bit of a Loser? Don't Worry, You're Probably Really Creative.
Getting Lost in New York
Subjective Job Hunting
Creative writing major ignores profs, publishes
Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.