Dr. Leonard Felder is a licensed psychologist who has written ten books including The Ten Challenges. In this rousing work, he explores the large emphasis in American society upon fitting in and how those who march to the beat of a different drummer can find themselves thinking they are from a different planet.
All of us have negative feelings when we are excluded from our family circle, ostracized by an in-group at school, or ignored at a party. Felder explains that the yearning to belong is probably a hangover from early societies where being part of a group was necessary for survival. He shows how creative and thoughtful individuals who have their own way of doing things can succeed on their own terms. After all, plenty of loners, rebels, and independent souls have carved out a niche for themselves. The author presents stories about Betty Friedan, Viktor Frankl, Faith Hill, Alex Haley, Antonio Villaraigosa, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, Charles Schwab, Yo-Yo Ma, Ang Lee, and Oprah Winfrey.
You can start this exploration with a quiz to see how much of an outsider you really are. Felder explores the benefits of being positively different, the biggest mistakes outsiders make, breaking through at work, coping with cliques and close-minded groups, finding peace with you family, how to react when people aren't ready for your ideas, and how to be an effective mentor, ally, or source of strength for other outsiders. For those who falter and doubt themselves, Felder suggests the following reminder:
"You are a unique and amazing part of creation. You are an original. There is no other individual quite like you. You have nothing to apologize for. You have an amazing capacity for goodness, creativity, warmth, and wisdom. Don't forget who you are and don't stop looking for ways to express the positive gifts and insights you have been given."