I started reading a really nice book called 'Originals: How Nonconformists Move the World' by Adam Grant. It mentality fits like a glove on my personality, and I didn't think that being the 'black sheep' (in the family and at school) might turn out to be a good thing. I'm glad I didn't give up to my beliefs.
I always thought that all the so-called nerds as well as people who indulge themselves in the induced social beliefs are boring persons and they will never be able to come up with something spectacular. Something that would amaze people as well as revolutionize the world. They usually cast away their ideas and opinions as being inappropriate, as they aren’t easily validated by the current society. We all need validation from our social partners, right? Where does this come from?
Back in time, people were divided in tribes. So the tribe members, especially the leaders, had to make sure that anyone who is in the tribe, as well as newcomers, are great value for the whole fellowship, so they won’t get killed and eaten by some not so friendly life companions. So they had to struggle for social acceptance. And it was necessary an even bigger strain to reach a leading position. Doesn’t this whole thing sound familiar? Fitting in with those around him and pleasing those above him meant he could stay in the tribe. The worst thing that could happen was to hear people whispering about him that isn’t too much of a value, or worse, that he’s a troublesome component, which would lead to him being kicked out of it and eventually being eaten by some roary animals. Being socially accepted was everything. By then.
Nowadays, we are only left with the craving for social validation and a terrible fear of being disliked. Unneeded and harmful. This is the main reason why schools in some countries (here in Romania too) still have this ‘do what you have to do and shut up’ type of education. They don’t encourage you to be creative, to make mistakes, and maybe have a brilliant idea along with those mistakes. The people who think that this is the best way to go on through life, and teach others to be alike are the persons who were limited themselves. Individuals who are afraid to have a fresh idea that should stand under the ‘experiment’ label. They are afraid that they won’t be validated by the people above, and they will stay forever in the stream of darkness. In others words, following the footpath will always lead you to the destination, but in the end, those lands have already been discovered. This mentality is so dangerous, that it fences in some really powerful people who could help us grow socially or technologically twice as fast. It cuts down creativity and innovation. So we’re left with an adult brain that forgot what it’s like to make mistakes and be creative about it.
I think our main focus should be evolution, not finding new ways to make eachother miserable.
Going back to the book that I mentioned earlier, the author makes a parallel between the aptitudes of a non-conformists and a conformist. Extreme non-conformists are usually artists with a shadowy personality that won’t ever empathize with the world, their actions and contribution to the world are vaguely understood, the reach of their message is extremely narrow and misappreciated, but usually they tend to weigh pretty heavy in human evolution. Extreme conformists are the ones that run after the convenient, and aren’t too much into experiencing the new. If you want to build a business or lead a ‘different’ idea to reality and try to make a change, you have to place yourself in the middle. A bit of craziness for the idea and a bit of rationale in creating a product that will hold the user’s hand when stepping outside the comfort zone and convince almost everyone that it’s nice to reach the other side of reality.
It’s not that I don’t like challenges, but I enjoy more a real one. The one that helps us discover the world, discover ourselves, the one that helps us answer the real questions.
I have moments when I start thinking and empathizing with people all around the world, the poor, the closed-minded, the greedy etc., and I feel it every single time. We are incredibly weak. And we need more anarchists and revolutionaries. People to stand up for their beliefs, to leave fear away and embrace the change, the different, the new.
P.S. Here's a small token of affection: