We are all non-conformists! It’s in our DNA. There is a trailblazer within each of us just waiting to be expressed.
But it requires us to become a challenge to the established ways of institutionalized, dogmatic thinking. Being a non-conformist is not about you putting something on top of who you already are. It’s allowing your essential nature to come forward.
Authentic non-conformity simply comes from your being.
In my early 20’s I’d always try to do “stuff” to appear different or odd or whacky to the world. These were my early attempts in non-conformism. To show how special I was. Or for people to pay attention to me. And though the spirit of that passion was correct, its expression was not.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve discovered it’s not about doing or showing anything. You don’t have to try so hard. It’s about being. It just is.
The challenge of tapping into your own non-conformist self is that we are all anesthetized by popular culture. We’re all in a cultural coma. And what’s scary is we often don’t realize it.
We eat what we’re told to eat, wear what we’re told to wear, read the same books, listen to the same music, watch the same TV.
What if we consumed less? And thought for ourselves and created more?
William Goldman who wrote Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Princess Bride said that, “The single most important fact of the entire movie industry is that nobody knows anything.”
He talked about how Paramount Studios was the only studio to say yes to Raiders of the Lost Ark when every other major studio in Hollywood turned it down.
He continues: “Why did Paramount say yes? Because nobody knows anything. And why did all the other studios say no? Because nobody knows anything. And why did Universal, the biggest studio at that time, pass on Star Wars? Because nobody, nobody – not now, not ever – knows the least goddamn thing about what is or isn’t going to work at the box office.”
But this can be extended to everything. No one knows what’s going to work in publishing, in design, in music, in innovation, in science, in fashion, in technology.
It’s all experimentation. Trial and error. Attempt and repeat. Taking a Quantum Leap.
You weren’t put on this planet to conform. You weren’t put on this planet to tell the same stories that have been told for the last 50 years. You are here to tell your story.
Stop being so afraid that you might not be liked. Or that you can’t ruffle some feathers. Or that you’ll get rejected or denied or fired or let go. So what?
If you keep trying to change yourself for everyone who is asking, then what are you left with?
All the “experts” are going to tell you something different. That you need to do this and you must do that and it has to happen by a certain age and you have to live in this zip code and you need to look this way and weigh this amount and wear these kinds of clothes and get this degree and work for this company and know this person and go to that gym.
Be less concerned with what the experts say because the experts don’t know.
As Thoreau said, “If an acorn and a chestnut fall side by side . . . one does not remain inert for the other, but both obey their own laws.”
(Watch the video to understand what the picture below of Bruce Jenner means in regards to the Art of Non-Conformity!)