6 June 2011
A recent Yahoo News article discusses the findings of a book entitled Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth by Alexandra Robbins, namely that what makes you an outcast in high school can actually serve your future success as an adult. When you think about it, this makes perfect sense. New ideas are rarely – if ever – born out of conformity. When you’re always worried about “fitting in” or being considered “cool,” you tend to stick to what everyone else is doing.
While most of us tend to move away from the need to be “cool” as we grow older, Robbins found that conformity can still be an issue, particularly among teachers, who at times display the type of cliquey behavior one would assume is specific to the students they teach. When the behavior of teachers reinforces the fit-in-or-else behavior of students, it can be particularly difficult to navigate the hallways if one does not fit this mold.
Thankfully, Robbins found many cases of people who were marginalized in their youth, but went on to experience great success as adults, namely Bruce Spingsteen, Lady Gaga, Angelina Jolie, and Steve Jobs. Think about it: could Apple possibly exist in its always-innovative state if Steve Jobs had been a conformist? There was a time when we didn’t have iPhones, LCD televisions, Dyson vacuum cleaners, and even automobiles. Surely the inventors of these technological feats weren’t fixated on what’s been done before.
Popular culture seems to be hopping on the “geek” bandwagon these days as well. Look at the success of popular television shows like Glee and The Big Bang Theory. Maybe it’s time that you embraced your inner Lady Gaga (sans dress made of meat, of course!) and realize your full potential as a student, parent, or community member. You could be one of those great success stories we’ll hear about in the future.