Overcoming The Stigma Of Growing Up Misunderstood
It's never a good thing to be misunderstood. Not as a child, when one's ability to express themselves is way more limited!
When growing up in Singapore, the whole idea of obedience was to take on a conformist attitude. Keep in step and in line, and don't ask silly questions about doing things in other ways. It made me feel weird because it seemed abnormal to ask about how I could potentially simplify a process or make it more efficient for others.
Trying to fit in was like cutting a piece of paper with a pair of scissors. Most scissors are designed for right handed people - try using your left hand on a normal pair of scissors and it wouldn't be easy to cut that sheet of paper. Even if the scissor blades were sharp. One actually needs a special pair of left-handed scissors to cut up things with their left hand. However, as the majority of the population is right handed, right handed people tend to take scissor usage for granted. As right handed kids, you may have teased left handed kids for not being able to cut things properly during art lessons.
Similar to that effect, if you were born and bred in a small rural township in the United States and spoke only English for the past 30 years, would you feel comfortable living and working the next 20 years in a rural village in China (or anywhere else in the world that did not speak English as their native language)? Would you find it difficult to live there and get used to their cultures and customs with zero aid from the local Chinese? Ditto if you were a native Chinese person going from a rural village in China going over to a rural township in the US.
Therefore, as a child, I used to end up wondering why people just couldn't see the inefficiencies of the systems around them, but still ended up conforming wholly to these inefficiencies. It was definitely highly annoying.
I used to voice out my concerns, and they'd get shot down with a "just follow the rules!" statement.
What I did, therefore...
I played it both ways.
The idea of looking like a conformist on the surface of my operations was crucial. I needed to play according to the rules of the system...
But behind the scenes, I was conducting my own machinations and manipulations of the system.
I don't like manipulating people, but I love manipulating systems.
I manipulated the credit card system to get me travelling around the world in first and business class for cheap.
As an Uber driver, when I was out hunting for dollars (more on that at Memoirs of an Uber Driver From Melbourne), I'd do Uber Eats deliveries when it wasn't surging, but I'd switch off Uber Eats and do solely passenger transport when it was surging.
As long as I adhered to the rules, that is.
I can manipulate the credit card system, but I MUST pay off all my bills in full. To the banks, I look like a great customer - I pay off all my bills on time. I earn my frequent flyer miles. I pay them exactly $0 in interest, though. And that's what keeps me from being a "perfect" customer. A "perfect" credit card consumer would be paying off the minimum on their bills each month and accumulating interest fees for the bank to earn on. In my case, they don't earn that much from me.
I can choose to accept or decline whatever requests that Uber sends me via the app. I do not cancel trips excessively, because doing so is grounds for them to remove my access to the platform. However, I am given a short window of time to decide if I want to accept the request or let it time out, and I will not be penalised for letting it time out. Therefore, there is no way for Uber to deactivate me, except for them to send automated reminders about increasing my acceptance rates, because low acceptance rates are not grounds for deactivation - we're independent contractors, after all.
Because all I need to do is to give myself an unfair advantage.
And proceed to exploit the heck out of it, until the loophole has been closed up.
That's how a rational type temperament works. It looks and considers various facets and snippets of information, creating a synthesis out of a thesis and an antithesis, and from there work on a useful solution to a problem at hand.
Unfortunately, these types are rare in nature, and hence they are more easily misunderstood, as this video on "5 Surprising Reasons INTJ Personality Type Is So Rare and Misunderstood" explains below:
While growing up, I wondered why I wasn't like everyone else and being able to readily fit into the system.
As I got older, I'm thankful for the skills that I picked up and honed to become a chameleon for all social and practical purposes. Also, the data that I picked up to synthesise my theses and my antitheses have been better ruminated upon and can be used to educate other people along the way.
Why not, eh?
It's much more constructive than shaking my fist at the world for being perpetually misunderstood, don't you think?
Joel Yong, PhD, is a biochemical engineer/scientist, an educator and a writer. He has authored 1 ebook (which is available on Amazon.com in Kindle format) and co-authored 6 journal articles in internationally peer-reviewed scientific journals. His main focus is on finding out the fundamentals of biochemical mechanisms in the body that the doctors don’t educate the lay people about, and will then proceed to deconstruct them for your understanding — as an educator should. Do visit his website here to connect.