By ◆ Juppie on Friday, August 6, 2010 @ 3:19 PM

My mother sometimes requests things from the library for me. Oftentimes she gets test prep books and things like that, which I try to avoid touching unless she bothers me about it. But this time she got me the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, a book I have been meaning to read for some time.

This book has made me see success in a different way. I have to say, I am like the majority of people - I like to hear those stories about a poor person who works hard and is talented and becomes successful (rich and happy). But really, you need more than talent to be successful.

What happens to you is shaped a lot by the kinds of circumstances you have. Sometimes it takes a lot of luck for you to become successful. In the book, there is a list of the 75 richest people in the world. Many people were wealthy because they happened to be royalty. But there were also quite a few Americans, all born at about the same time (around 1830's to 1840's). This was a good time to be born if you were going to be an entrepreneur.

I've been thinking how a person's experiences can also change their personality. My parents have said that I was placed in a combination class (meaning a class consisting of students of two different grades) because when I was in kindergarten I was thought to be mature enough for it or something like that. I'm probably more afraid to talk to teachers now that I'm older than when I was younger... It was a struggle for me, the time after one of my closest friends moved away, in fifth grade. I had other friends, but they had become closer to their other friends, and I didn't want to be a third wheel, a tagalong. I turned to books and to the Internet (and ever since I've been hooked on the computer...) and became rather reclusive. I didn't want to make friends, since I felt that I would lose them again, and even if I had wanted to, I'm not sure I would have been able to. I was losing my ability to communicate.

There was a time that I was angry at my friend for moving away, and at her father (because he had gotten a job elsewhere, and in order to keep the family together, they had moved). And then there was a time when I was really sad. But eventually I subconsciously had moved on, and I started to mingle again. (It was slow, though, and one of the friends I made that year moved away the very next year...) I guess there's a part of me that fears getting involved and attached to things because I suspect that I will lose them. But I hope I can become brave enough to overcome this.

I feel oddly peaceful nowadays, after having gone on a few walks by myself. I visited the recreational sort of place in my town. Unfortunately, it wasn't the quite oasis that I had suspected. The pool was quite loud since there seemed to be some kids from summer camps there. There were older people playing volleyball (meaning older than the kids swimming, not meaning senior citizens) and there was a group of adults walking over to some benches. (I kept wondering why they weren't at work. I mean, it was a weekday, after all. My mom says they were on a group outing or something like that.) But it was still nice to be by the creek. I'm grateful to photography because it has made me pay more attention to little things, and I appreciate the beauty of nature much more than I used to. And I can take my time thinking. I feel like I'm reliving my life, and returning to my old self. Or maybe I'm discovering my true self for the first time.

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