Today I celebrate the nonconformist. The one who thumbs their nose at convention. The one who doesn’t follow the crowd. The one who blazes their own trail and never looks back. It is this sort of person who creates innovation and brings new ideas to life. Without the nonconformist the world would be a boring place indeed.
It is understandable to want to blend into the background. It is safe there. Away from attention and possible controversy, judgement or dislike. I’ve spent most of my life in the shadows hiding from the light. But that is a lonely existence hiding away behind a wall and not showing your true face to the world. You not only deprive yourself of the world, you deprive the world of yourself.
Don’t do this! Stand out and be proud for being yourself. As my friend and mentor Dr Seuss once proclaimed;
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
I often liken the world to a garden and people to flowers in that garden. Through diversity in nature we find strength and resilience. This reminds me of the Potato famine in Ireland in the 1840’s. One in eight Irish people died of starvation during this horrible famine. It was a lack of genetic variation in Irish potatoes that contributed to its severity when blight wiped out the potato crop in which the people’s diet was so dependent on. This devastated Ireland’s population and economy. Evolutionary theory tells us that relying on a mono-culture is a recipe for disaster.
When we are all the same, we as a people stagnate. New ideas are not formed and our garden of humanity is in danger of being wiped out when the inevitable crisis occurs and no new solutions can be found. I don’t think our culture encourages diversity of thought as much as it should. People are led to believe the fallacy that in order to get along we must conform to rigid social norms that leads to a group vs group mentality which in turn leads to exclusion, misunderstandings and unfortunately, at times…violence. They say that birds of a feather flock together and I see this time and time again.
Everyone has their own song to sing and each one is different and beautiful. We must learn to respect the songs of others and see the loveliness in our diversity. We must also see how valuable we all are to each other and know that everyone can contribute; not just those whose personal philosophies align with our own. Lastly we must learn to recognize our own wonderful uniqueness and not be ashamed to show it to the world. The more people that do this, the more such differences will become acceptable. So if you already haven’t done so–find your own unique and beautiful song. Sing it loud and sing it proud.
Have a wonderful day!
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
– Apple, “Think Different” campaign
“The saving of our world from pending doom will come, not through the complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority.”
- How To Be a Nonconformist: 22 Irreverent Illustrated Steps to Counterculture Cred from 1968 (brainpickings.org)
- 1845 Great Irish Famine (leehannahg.wordpress.com)
- The Circle of Nonconformist Bloggers (morganrossblog.wordpress.com)
- Why is Bio diversity important? (globalissues.org)
- The Great Famine–Ireland (wikipedia.org)
- The Waltz of The Flowers (youtube.com)