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The Most Important Skill in Life Nobody Teaches You: How *Not* to Fit In

by | Jan 17, 2022 | Life Hacks


Normalcy leads to mediocrity.

When your life doesn’t fit the narrative it’s called the good life.

If you fit in you blend in. If you fit in you’re easily replaceable. There’s nothing unique. You’ve accidentally become a sheep in the herd.

How often do you get told not to fit in?

Never.

When I worked in corporate everyone wanted me to fit in. They wanted me to say and do the right things. They even suggested what sort of suit I should wear and where I should buy it from.

When I gave a presentation the senior leaders had to review it to ensure I didn’t go off-script. When I taught LinkedIn to my colleagues it had to get done their way. The truth was they’d crush it on Linkedin if for the first time in their lives they started being themselves. I couldn’t say this. I’d get silenced.

I followed their rules.

I got stuck.

One day a farmer freed me from the herd and said “ stop trying to fit.” He saw my weirdness as a superpower.


Fitting in pays off in school. Standing out pays off in the real world — Ana Lorena Fabrega (former school teacher)

The most unlikely movie in history that shows us

Many people think J.K. Rowling is the devil.

I don’t care about her as a person. I love the Harry Potter world she created. Recently, I watched the Harry Potter 20-year reunion. My understanding of what Harry Potter is and why it’s so successful, changed.

On the surface the Harry Potter movies look like a crazy world none of us will ever live in. I mean wizards and witches casting spells just ain’t gonna happen. Because of that beautiful misdirection we’re able to easily access the story and get lost in it without logic taking over.

What hit me is many of the characters are misfits that are trying to fit in. We all feel like that at some point.

The Harry Potter stories made the feeling of being weird normal.

When you try to fit in you face a good versus evil battle inside your head. The good battle is fought by your internal version of Harry Potter. The bad is fought by Lord Voldermort.

At the end of the Harry Potter series of movies Harry and Voldermort become one. It’s a powerful analogy for what living as a misfit is like.

Harry Potter became a permission slip to millions of people that it’s okay to be a misfit. That’s what made the stories a giant success and turned J.K. Rowling into an outspoken billionaire.

We just haven’t realized that yet.

Or society has blocked the message from getting spread to force us to fit in. The lonely feeling many of us face is the result of trying to fit in. The most important lesson of Harry Potter is this:

Being a misfit cures loneliness.

Gif Credit: WiffleGif

Fitting in means your life is run by opinions

That’s not how it’s normally framed.

Imagine living a life directed by opinions. Many people do.

I’ve written online for the last 8 years and had parts of the journey run by opinions. People are quick to tell me how to write or what to write, yet many of them don’t have the courage to write themselves and share their stories.

I’ve fallen for their comments. I’ve believed what they said. I’ve hated myself for certain opinions. Then I realized what my ex-farmer boss told me:

Stop trying to fit in.

Who cares what someone else thinks? None of us is an almighty god that has all the answers and can heal the world from anything. That’s bible-network-marketing, not reality.

There’s no black and white on any topic. All of us are giant hypocrites. As Nicolas Goke says, all writers are liars. And we all write parts of our life down to share online or document in a journal.

Opinions aren’t fact. Opinions are trying to force you to fit in. Read that again.

Don’t dull your light so the darkness of fitting in sets in.


How *Not* to Fit In

1. The Todd Brison psychological trick

Todd’s a popular writer and Tennessee cowboy. He hates fitting in. His worst nightmare is engaging in small talk and having to talk about himself.

So when someone tries to make small talk, he turns it into an interview. He makes it his mission to find out everything he can about the other person.

The goal is to find something interesting about them and then go deeper on the topics. Todd’s met many interesting people in the process. He’s gone from trying to fit in by engaging in small talk, to having interesting conversations with some unique individuals.

Some of those conversations led him to interesting opportunities he would never have found any other way.

Weirdos don’t make everything about themselves.

2. Join a group of misfits

I’m probably the biggest weirdo you could ever meet.

I live in the outback. My favorite form of alcohol is water (I’ll get a squeeze of lemon if I’m feeling dangerous). I don’t have a conventional job with a pretty degree hanging on the wall. One of my all-time favorite songs is Creep by Radiohead. A sample of the lyrics are fitting:

But I’m a creep
I’m a weirdo
What the hell am I doin’ here?
I don’t belong here

I don’t care if it hurts
I wanna have control
I want a perfect body
I want a perfect soul
I want you to notice
When I’m not around
So f*ckin’ special
I wish I was special

I spent much of life making friends with societal sheep. The relationships never felt fulfilling. Then a random guy noticed my weirdness. He invited me to his group chat full of weirdos just like me. It changed everything.

I stopped trying to fit in when I found my version of weirdos.

The same is true for you. You’re only weird in certain circles. In others, you’re a badass waiting to get discovered and loved. Spend time looking for misfits like you. You’ll stop trying to fit in when you do.

3. Know why you don’t fit in

Self-awareness is key to not fitting in. Spend time thinking about why you don’t fit in then write it down.

Your goal is to make every one of these reasons stand out from now on.

In my case I spill my guts onto the page and turn my life upside down online to help people understand theirs. This is the big reason I don’t fit in, and will probably never be able to get a normal job ever again.

So instead, I’ve tripled down on this way of life. It’s where I spend the bulk of my career. I’ve learned it’s when I’m in my element. My life makes sense when I write weird stuff online for a bunch of strangers who are misfits just like me.

Know why you don’t fit in. Exploit it.

4. Date another misfit

The time I’ve felt the worst about not fitting in is while dating.

When I spent a year of my life going on Tinder dates, the pain of not fitting in became real. Most women were looking for a stable guy with a normal job.

As soon as I told them what I did they’d bizarrely start asking for the bill so they could leave. Any sexual adventure fantasies I had went up in smoke. Then they’d ghost me if I followed up like a good little salesman.

I couldn’t understand why. A lady friend told me why after she asked one woman what happened.

“The guy doesn’t seem normal. I could never marry him.”

Thankfully I didn’t give up. I found a weirdo. Her profile picture was her dressed in fluorescent orange tradie clothes playing the Ukulele. The photo caught my attention. We went on a few dates. Now we’re married.

If you’re like me and struggle to find love, start looking for misfits. They’re easier to date because they won’t abandon you for being normal.

5. Stop letting things distort reality

Social media apps have a ‘like’ counter. Let me explain what it is.

Likes measure how much a piece of content does or doesn’t fit in with the common narrative. If you get lots of ‘likes, ’ chances are you’re being a normie.

This is why so many people feel like dirt. They go on social media and see a bunch of strangers trying to make them fit in down in the dungeons of the comments. F*ck fitting in with selfies and empty ‘likes’.

Spend less time in newsfeeds. They tell your brain to be normal. You’re not. Individuality is sexier than a booty in a bikini or 6-pack abs.

Bring it all together

Nobody teaches the skill of not fitting in.

It should be mandatory learning for all humans. It would solve a lot of common problems.

Use questions to destroy small talk that makes you fit in, watch Harry Potter to understand it from the angle of not fitting in, join a group of misfits, find out why you don’t fit in and use it as an advantage, date a fellow misfit, ignore most of social media, and don’t let your life be run by opinions of others.

When you fit in, you destroy your potential.

Stop trying to fit in.


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