How to Be a Misfit

What does it take to be a misfit? Well, where does the misfit try to fit? We tend to assume it is a group, which leads us to wonder about every person who spends time alone. We are taken aback by loners who seem to fit very well in the real world, but prefer not to socialize.

True misfits say they want to do things with others, but don't know how. They could do lots of things, except whatís the point of doing things alone? They feel alone at home, at work, or in a crowd.

In other words, what they have trouble fitting in with is everything.

The reason is, they have things backwards. They want first to find friends to fit in with, and then figure something to do. They assume you get to know people by talking to them, and when you get comfortable with people, you agree on things to do. But misfits never get comfortable. They know what people say, but not what people might do.

That's because you cannot get to know people by just talking to them.

When newlyweds make that discovery, we say, "Ah! The honeymoon is over." The happy couple is finding that the way they said things in courtship is not the way they do things in living. They are learning that conversing with people is the way to find out how they converse, and doing things with people is the way to find out how they do things.

Talk can express thought, which is an element of action. It is the controlling element of action, but not the only element. There is also emotion, skill, style, and many other elements. Knowing what I think will not by itself tell you how I act.

If all you need to know about somebody is what they think, then is the steering all you need to know about an automobile? What about the acceleration, the power, the braking, and the oversteer on a turn? Just as you have to drive a car to judge it, so you have to do things with people to get to know them.

The point of doing things is to get things done. Since cooperation often gets things done better, joining with others is a natural way to get things done. Engaging in a common endeavor brings people together. They get to know one another. They fit in, because they have a common goal.

The way to be a misfit is to put people first, accomplishment second. The way to fit in is to choose a goal and join others in pursuit of it. If you grow passionate about the goal, don't be surprised if the issue of fitting in fades to insignificance.

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