Photo: Jan Von Holleben

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Why What Sets You Apart Actually Helps You Succeed
Once upon a time, there was a girl named Taylor. When she sat down to eat lunch in her school cafeteria, the girls she'd once called friends stood up and moved to another table. They had cast Taylor out of their clique because instead of going to parties with them on weekends, she'd stay home and write songs on her guitar. The outsider landed a development deal with a record company and moved with her parents to Nashville. She would go on to become the first artist since the Beatles—and the only woman—to record three consecutive albums that spent six or more weeks at number one. Taylor Swift (maybe you've heard of her?) is still writing songs and is a spectacular example of what I call quirk theory: the idea that the differences that might make young people feel alienated are often the ones that win them admiration and respect in adulthood.

—Alexandra Robbins

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