The Advantages of Being an Outsider

Throughout my childhood, I struggled to adapt to the ways others expected me to act. I felt that I lacked what others had naturally – an automatic understanding of what I was supposed to do next. I had to begin analyzing human behavior, always looking for subtle clues in speech and body language to reveal a person’s unconscious expectations. This is part of what started me on my obsession to understand the many ways people could live with each other on our planet. Eventually, I learned that I could beat them at their own game, mastering social adaptation and targeted communication.

Those born at a disadvantage respect the details that others take for granted, bringing greater perspective. This is the unique power of the human race. We can expand our psychological selves through knowledge and practice. Through conscious death, the social, emotional, and mental obstacles to expansion are removed. Then comes rebirth. When you make it a point to learn as many of the rules of life as possible, you stop being slave to them. They start to work for you because you can pick and choose how to apply or ignore them. You gain a freedom of choice beyond that of ordinary men and women. You are liberated enough to begin to shape the world around you the way you want it, instead of it shaping you for its own needs. That is the power that lies on the other side of death and rebirth. You become a creator.

It’s often said that people die shortly after retiring. When they retire from the tasks they’ve spent their life performing, they lose their place in the narrative of life. Maybe they take a year or two to loaf on the beach or play golf at their leisure. But with nothing left to make demands upon their time, their assumed identities start to crumble. They cannot figure out what to do with the freedom life affords them. They’ve never had to choose what to do without any other obligations.

Lifestyle design is about taking the control you have and forging a path tailored to your own satisfaction. To be a conscious designer of your environment, you must know what will enable you to thrive. You must know the fundamental limits to who you are. These are the limits we test time and again through inquiry into ourselves and exploration outward to the unknown. When you survive your worst, you have a perspective that very few ever achieve. You have freedom that is rarely ever known.