The fitting in question

‘Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.’  Oscar Wilde

Creating legacy and (not) fitting in

From a very young age, we’re told we have to fit in. Whether it’s our family, our classroom, our peers – the messages we get are usually about comforming to the crowd rather than standing out.

In Australia, they have the term ‘tall poppy syndrome’ to refer to someone who stands out and is therefore taken down by their peers; the lesson there is not to stand out too much or you’ll be taken down.

Creating legacy may make it difficult for you to fit in

Now, the trouble is that if you set your sights on creating legacy, chances are that you won’t be fitting in too well; you’ll be the tall poppy that others will want to take down. And if your legacy project does not become successful in the conventional sense of the word (i.e. bring you money, fame, and lasting glory), people will enjoy making fun of you even more for having dared to do something different with your life.

So, if you’d like to go down the path of creating legacy, you’ve got to seriously consider the consequences of your decision for your ability to fit in. There are of course legacy creators who seem to fit in despite following an unconventional lifestyle. Elizabeth Gilbert, for example, author of Eat, Pray, Love talks about how she tends to immediately make friends no matter where she is and what she is up to. But most of us legacy creators don’t manage to make our unconventional lifestyles as inconspicuous. So we stick out like a sore thumb.

Ask yourself this question

The question you’ve got to ask yourself is: is creating legacy worth the risk of not fitting in? There is no right or wrong answer; it depends entirely on you. But it’s probably best you ask yourself this question before you begin on the path of creating legacy, otherwise you may find yourself constantly zig-zagging between trying to fit in and making the tough choices that creating legacy often requires.

Do you think that creating legacy makes fitting in difficult?

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Alexa Ispas

I am a social entrepreneur, blogger, and talent scout, interested in helping people who want to create legacy. I have recently completed my PhD thesis in social psychology at the University of Edinburgh, and am originally from Romania. I am writing a daily blog on creating legacy, which you can find at