Thursday, December 12, 2013

Outliers Are The New Normal

Normalcy is both overrated and under appreciated. Unlike most children my age, I began flying at 4 months old. At eight months old, I was already at the other side of the world, having breakfast with the Genie and Minnie Mouse. Flying and traveling felt normal to me. However, little did I know, not all kids my age flew as early or as frequently as I did. I remember them growling at me as I reached the middle of my story about going to Disney Land and eating princess-shaped gummy bears. I remember them commenting on my stationary, which had mostly come from Michael's, an arts and crafts store in the U.S. Clearly, I was and am still a very awkward outlier.

How do we Glow in the dark?

Sitting in the car today, on route to JFK airport, I realized that everyone is an outlier. There was no shame in being one. There was no need for self-deprication. Seriously. If everyone is an outlier, why do only some of us become weirdos? Why do only some of us get the raised eyebrow? As many things in life, there are different types, reasons and degrees of being an outlier. For instance, to be a beauty can be lauded in certain cultures, while prosecuted in others. Within her family, Cinderella was an outlier. Her beauty became one of the main factors that drover her stepmother and stepsisters to enslave her. On the contrary, I know many gorgeous ladies who reach impressive social heights for their looks.

We all fall on a bell curve. Other people's treatment depends on where we fall on each type of bell curve. Our geographical location and the society we maneuver also influences how we see ourselves and how society sees us. All of these factors would culminate into a particular image, which would then, in some way or form, shape our outlook on the world.

How does each pebble differ from the other? What makes an outlier?

As I think about these things and process the different experiences and stories that I have heard, I became fairly interested in the notion of how being different can be both a weakness and a strength. Additionally, I grew curiouser and curiouser regarding how our quality of life largely revolves on our status as an outlier.

Admittedly, I believe in coincidences, instead of "the reason". We are who we are because of a myriad of factors and events, which shapes us in different ways and degrees. A split second can change our outlook on a particular issue or experience. The world, as defeatist as it sounds, boils down to coincidences. Based on the assumption that, yes, we are made up of coincidences, how do these uncontrolled factors impact our decisions?

So many questions from just a single ride to the airport. Phew! Fingers crossed I will return with an explanation or two.

*Author owns rights to all photos above

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