When people expect you to be a certain way, they’re casting a stereotype on you. You have three ways to respond to such bias:
- Beat them at their own game.
- Manipulate the stereotype so you can dupe them.
- Tilt in the direction of the stereotype and succeed in their expectations.
Proving people right or wrong is the business of outsiders.
Jackie Robinson was once an outsider. So was Helen Keller, and Spudd Webb. But they the flipped the color barrier, blindness, and the prerequisites for NBA stature on their head.
The outsider’s advantage is the chance to be first, to rise above the stereotype threat and to inspire others to follow along.
Outsiders can play the game too, redefining stereotypes.