Let’s face it. There were times when we compromised on our values to fit in.
For athletes, it could be giving in to a couple of late-night drinks before an early morning training the next day. For some of us on a quest to shed those extra pounds, it could mean slipping back into our old habits of binging on junk food. For students, it could be as simple as choosing to stay silent as you watch a group of students picking on a fellow student.
As we grow older, most of us would find ourselves faced with greater dilemmas that’ll leave us feeling as if we’re constantly at a crossroads with the looming question of Which way is the right way to go?
In some of these encounters, we find a surge of supernatural courage to take the road less traveled because our hearts are too convicted to go a certain way.
Other times, we hesitate and even forgo the ways that our individual conscience leads us on because the price to pay is too much; There is simply too much, at that point of time, that is at stake.
One example that most of us would be able to relate to is the dilemma of pursuing our passions and dreams over settling down into a life of stability to fulfil existing obligations that come with adulting.
So, how do you know if you’re actually a conformist or not? Here are 3 signs that you’re actually a Non-conformist:
#1: You put facts over your feelings
“Facts don’t care about your feelings”. This quote by American conservative political commentator, Ben Shapiro, appositely highlights the difference between what the absolute truth is and how we actually feel. More often than not, we can get so caught up with how we feel towards a certain situation or person that we start to act on our emotions, completely negating the need for logic and objectivity.
In this multiplex world, filled with numerous issues that have fragmented society, it becomes easier to take sides in order to feel a sense of belonging to a particular group or community.
Non-conformists understand that the way to navigate through complexities requires them to maintain a degree of detachment from their personal feelings and to turn to facts in order to arrive at a fairer assessment of the issue at hand.
#2: You always seek clarification
Following instructions and getting tasks done is often an easier path to take as it can mean having all the necessary steps and procedures set in place for us to follow; as long as we follow them diligently, we need not have to worry about the end result of things because our role is solely to do what is required.
However, non-conformists always make sure that they are clear about why and what they need to do because they see the importance of knowing what their actions will translate into. They also desire to find the best, if not a better way, to get something done as they believe in the value that they can bring to the table. A job or task at hand is no longer just a means to an end for them and unless they know the reason for their actions, they will seek thorough clarification before getting involved in it.
#3: You know what you stand for
In his book titled ‘Originals: How Non-conformists move the world’, renowned psychologist and bestselling author Adam Grant breaks down the difference between Conformity and Originality. Conformity, as stated, means “following the crowd down conventional paths and maintaining the status quo” while originality, on the other hand, involves “taking the road less travelled, championing a set of novel ideas that go against the grain but ultimately make things better. What sets originality apart from conformity are 2 things: A conviction to effect change in an area of society and the will to persevere through in finding a way to do so.
Non-conformists understand that though they may not be able to change the whole world for good, they will not give up their personal convictions even if it means being the only one in the room with such values and beliefs. Holding on to what they strongly believe in supersedes the need for all kinds of external validation.
It is without a doubt that there have been many moments where the pressure to conform in behaviour or to compromise on our values burned so strongly against our shield of moral conscience.
While there were times when we’ve found ourselves giving in, causing us to feel deep regret and guilt, they serve as constant reminders to never make the same mistakes again. Yet, a growing understanding of the complexities in our world soon leads us to the realisation that one decision made today can affect the ensuing days, months, and even years of our life and the lives of those around us. As such, we start overthinking about all the possible things that can go wrong and get so consumed and fixated on the potential distractions and roadblocks that we can possibly encounter that we wind up feeling burdened by the heaviness of probable failure.
Ultimately, it is important to note that one is not born a non-conformist nor does one become a non-conformist overnight. Being a non-conformist is a choice that one has to actually make and it starts with the little decisions of our everyday life that eventually adds up. If you feel that you are conforming more than you would like to, take that step of courage forward and start asking yourself why do you feel that way? In due time, you will know the right questions to ask, and before you know it the answers that you have searching for will be revealed to you.
Remember, growth is a lifelong journey of discovery!