Leiderschap is ook je anders durven gedragen dan je omgeving.

Ja, maar wel op zo'n manier dat je gemakkelijk te volgen bent, waardoor je gedrag aanstekelijk werkt.

Leiderschap is standing out

The paradox of 'fitting in' and 'standing out'

Geschreven door: 

Als we niet slechts kennis stapelen, maar ook durven te leren door te ervaren, in het leven stappen, komen we tot een fabelachtige groei van binnen uit. Onderstaande tekst werd jaren geleden geschreven door een 16 jarige scholiere. Ik heb het voorrecht geproefd haar te mogen begeleiden. De tekst van deze 16 jarige dame is zo illustratief voor de resultaten die onze deelnemers boeken, dat ik niet begrijp dat ik dit niet eerder met u deelde. Tijdens het lezen ervan ervaart u vast waar ik op doel. Veel leesplezier.

"What exactly is fitting in and what makes a person fit in with the crowd? Is it the way they look, the clothes they wear, is it the people they hang out with and call their friends or is it all about personality? What does it take to get accepted by our society? And in whose eyes do you need to fit in, when you are happy with being just who you are?

Most teenagers know all about the high school system of ‘fitting in’. I am quite certain that a whole lot of us, were very unsure about what to wear on our first day of school. We always claim to judge another person by his or her personality, but we all know this is not always true. For if we do not know someone, what other than appearance can we base our first impressions on?

When I thought of the verb “standing out”, I came to the conclusion that it can mean a lot of things. For Standing out can also mean fitting in. If someone is extremely good-looking and nice, he or she stands out, but also fits in with the crowd.

But the girl with the glasses and the exceptionally high grades who is always hidden behind a pile of books also stands out, but does she fit in? 

When you fit in and you are then selected to be part of something special, for example when you get the leading role in a movie. You might turn overnight from fitting in to standing out. But even though you used to fit in, your life changes, you become different from your classmates and what you say might sound weird to your friends, since they are in a different situation. This privilege of becoming a star might have a negative effect on your social life.

Even though we say otherwise, our society is somewhat superficial. If everyone wears pink, then who are you to wear blue? The one standing out….the one who changes blue into the new pink or the one laughed at and talked about.  This herd behavior in our society is very much influenced by the media. We constantly change our behavior to what is appropriate at that moment, we always adapt to fit in.

But what happens when you cannot adapt to fit into the new standards. Why change when you are happy with who you are and what you believe in? For example when you have a certain religion; If I give you a situation where there are two people applying for the job of pilot and one of them is Muslim. Who do you think is more likely to get the job? I thought so too….the Muslim is very likely to be restraint from doing what he really wants, because he doesn’t fit into this picture ‘we’ have in mind, this picture created by the media. We all saw what happened last week with that plane, the bomb and the Muslim. To most of us the words “Muslim” and “pilot” don’t match, they don’t fit.

When will standing out also be fitting in? What makes someone a leader, while someone else with the same idea is seen as an outcast. I think it is the way you present your idea. If you wear those new shoes, that no one has, with self-confidence and with a bit of flair, your idea is more attractive for others to follow. But when you are uncertain about yourself and attack someone who dares to say something about your new shoes, people will raise their eyebrows and react negatively.

It would be jumping to conclusions if I would say that the more self-confidence you have, the less effort you’ll have to put in to get the same result, to fit in. Since we also have to take morals and values into account. If for instance wearing black-tie is applicable and you come wearing a jogging suit, although you might be self-confident, you probably won’t fit in. Of course this is an overstatement, but it does help me to make my point. Fitting in is not a problem, when we take the people around us into consideration and respect them. Standing out is also not a problem. The trick is to stand out and still be able to fit in. It’s very important to grow personally, to develop, and fitting in should not restrain you. When you are yourself, you will attract the people that fit you, they will stand out."


In de Engelse taal geschreven door een

Zestienjarige Nederlandse scholiere, 5e klas tweetalig VWO

die kennis- en ervaringsleren combineert.


Written in English by a

16 year old Dutch student, understanding and experiencing