The Outliers by Malcom Gladwell | Teen Ink

The Outliers by Malcom Gladwell

March 26, 2014
By KatelynMcNeese GOLD, Brandon, Mississippi
KatelynMcNeese GOLD, Brandon, Mississippi
10 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"If you're ready doesn't matter, are you willing is my question"

Dear Mr. Malcom Gladwell:

I have recently read your book The Outliers. I must tell you, I thoroughly enjoyed your writing and I appreciate the way that you were able to validate all of your opinions and thoughts through facts. All nine chapters were very well written and very well thought out; however, there is one more chapter I would love to see appear as the tenth chapter. This chapter, I feel, should be about those terrible yet wonderful teenage years and how often teenagers fall into the pressure that they feel in life and how do we as a society deal with that.

I've done quite a lot of research and I have found that according to teenagers experience copious amounts of stress, particularity towards being perfect. There are 5 main areas this stress comes from (in order of greatest pressure to least): 1)School 2)Parents 3)Friends 4)Religious Leaders 5)Significant Others. This perfect I am referring to is the act of not making mistakes- whether that be making all A's, not doing the worldly idea of "bad" (I.e. sex, drugs, alcohol, cursing) , or even not coming to each meeting that is planned. It is not that all these things are necessarily good or bad, it is that when a mistake is made, there is no forgiveness or help given. The only responses to these mistakes (most of the time) is being told you are wrong and worthless in some way. A prime example being a girl in a relationship with a boy: they are dating and they love each other. They have each made a promise to be pure until marriage; however, the guy is hearing negative comments from his friends day in and day out to "do the deed" and the girl is told each day by her so-called friends that she is not yet a woman. Under this pressure, they make a mistake and lose that innocence they once had. The girl runs to her mom, confused as to why this happened and what to do. But rather her mom helping her, the girl is looked upon as damaged and dirty. There is no forgiveness and no help- just more stress to be perfect again. This is the pressure and stress I am talking about. What makes us want perfection so bad? And how do we respond to a mess-up? We don't know. That is why families, schools, any type of relationship falls apart, because we don't know how to respond to a mistake.

Also, according to USATODAY 98% of teenagers say that they often feel as though they do not meet the standard set for them by their world. 74% said that this "failure" effects their self esteem and self-image. This is a problem. Teenagers should not feel like they can no longer succeed in life because of one mistake or one problem. I feel as though, if there was less pressure to be perfect and more encouragement to strive teenagers would revive the motivation to do well once again. I understand that choices have consequences, but I also understand that while facing those consequences there should be some sort of encouragement to move on instead of dismissing the "failure" and regarding them as no longer able to succeed. That just isn't true and that is not the way the world should work.

I hope that you consider this addition to your book and that you will look further into pressure and forgiveness in the lives of teenagers. I hope that you find through my research that my point is valid whether or not you agree. I thank you for your valuable time as your read this letter, and if it is possible at please respond with your thoughts toward the information I have presented.

Thank you,

The author's comments:
This was an assignment in my English class to write to Malcom Gladwell, author of The Outliers, about what we would add to the end of his book. I really loved this assignment.

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This article has 2 comments.

on Apr. 5 2014 at 12:53 am
KatelynMcNeese GOLD, Brandon, Mississippi
10 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"If you're ready doesn't matter, are you willing is my question"

Thank you so much!

Janajames said...
on Apr. 4 2014 at 5:11 pm
Janajames, Brandon, Mississippi
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments
Great thoughts

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