3Adolescence, Family and Opportunity

We need to stay in adolescence for the moment because it's here where our outlook on life can become crystallized – the die seemingly cast as we move from childhood into adulthood. Reject or be rejected by the clan here, and a lifetime of alienation – of life on the edge – awaits.

Partly, and excruciatingly, this is due to the unmentionable but oh-so-important changes taking place to our body. Puberty – the physical and hormonal arrival of adulthood – generates much of the disorientation that young outsiders experience. And it's not just the onset of puberty that matters. Its timing also plays a pivotal role in determining feelings of maladjustment and alienation.

Psychologists talk about ‘normative’ and ...

Get The Outside Edge: How Outsiders Can Succeed in a World Made by Insiders now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.