Until you conquer the fear of being an outsider, an outsider you will remain.

C.S. Lewis, “The Inner Ring”

Taken from the collection of essays in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses, “The Inner Ring” is a rather short address written to a young adult audience. Lewis warns the young audience about the temptation to get on the inside, to be well liked by the people who “matter most” in society, to get in with the in crowd.

Lewis, considered by some as an outsider in the Oxford world, exhorts his audience to stay busy honing their own craft, to become great in their own fields and to essentially care less for what the so-called Inner Ring is up to and care more about your own work and your own friends. 

When one pursues friendship and happiness in this way, a strange thing happens. You end up creating precisely what you had previously pined for: an Inner Ring.