Why Everyone Wants to Be a Non-Conformist, But Hardly Anyone Is

Having an unconventional personal moment in the Himalayan mountains.

Writing and Photography by Conni Biesalski Follow me on Twitter and Google+ & Facebook.

Non-Conformity is dead.
It’s superficial, vague and unsubstantial.

Sorry, if this comes as a surprise and disillusion to you. But I thought you should know.

I have read all I could find on non-conformity and being a non-conformist. And believe me, I know this whole research business inside and out.

The result? Extremely dissatisfying. So I have decided to untether from the concept of ‘Non-Conformity’ altogether.

Whatever Chris Guillebeau is doing over at The Art of Non-Conformity is great and I still enjoy reading most of his writing and thoughts on life. But as much as I support many of his ideas, I feel there is more to life, more to my life. And there needs to be more to this blog.

Yes, of course, I do enjoy doing things differently. I like to challenge the status quo. And I’d like to identify as unconventional and not part of the mass (but who doesn’t, please? Anyone who chooses consciously to be average?).

  • Individual acts might deviate from strict expectations and conventions, entire biographies rather not.
  • Individual deviations do not lead to a non-conformist life.
  • In some way, everyone deviates from the statistic medium, as well as from typical expectations. And for those sort of deviations, no medal is awarded anymore.

But let’s be honest, at the end of the day, wouldn’t life be pretty exhausting if one tried to live up to non-conformist standards and ideals 24/7? 

Non-conformity is very limiting. It doesn’t cover everything I believe in and stand for. The concept itself doesn’t come from the heart – see what does below.

As a non-conformist, you might run into the danger to think you’re better than everyone else. To think that your way is the only true way to live life. (And I have to admit, I cannot declare myself entirely innocent.) On this matter, I trust and agree with old Freddy:

“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

And when is something unconventional or non-conforming anyway? Who draws those borders, who defines the meaning?

If it is just about doing things differently, then what is different? Different from what is expected from us as an obeying, responsible citizen? Different from the mass, the mainstream? Different from how something was done in the past? Different…what?

On top of all that, conformity and social conventions are set and expressed in countless ways around the world. What might be conventional in New York, might be unconventional in Bentonville, Arkansas. Wearing certain clothes might make you a conformist in Germany, but you might stand out with them in India. (In my reasearch for this post I came across this website that is a collection of wordlwide customs and traditions, do’s and don’ts – highly impressive and interesting collection)

So, really, who am I to generalise about screwing non-conformity? After much thought, my friends, I have come to realise that I cannot do the concept justice. In essence, it is only part of a bigger picture that I see: freedom, liberation and independence.

There are three ways I can talk about the concept of freedom from my own experience: By living consciously, by travelling extensively and by doing work you’re passionate about.

I call them the “3 Pillars of A Life of Blue”.
They come from the heart and from experience.

LIVE UNCONVENTIONALLY:

TRAVEL EXTENSIVELY:

WORK PASSIONATELY:

  • Finding the dream job.
  • Making a living off your passions.
  • Ethical business.
  • Changing the world. 

I want to tell and write from experience. Because, as Ev Bogue said once: “When I’m not experience telling, I’m bullshitting. I’m making stuff up. I’m theorizing about something that I know nothing about.”

When we talk about anything else that is not something we have done or are doing, we are wishing and dreaming. We realise that what has happened and is happening is not as exciting and worthy to talk about than what we are going to do or will happen in the future.

I realise that everyone might have a different concept of freedom. Obviously, mine is different from someone who is sitting a life sentence in prison or a woman who is forced into marrying someone she doesn’t love. It still might be very different from you reading this. That’s cool. Differences are good. It keeps discussions going and ideas evolving.

So, when the sun has set and the day comes to an end, I’m gonna say this:

Non-conformity is dead. Long live freedom through unconventional, simple living and world travel.

Yours in liberation,

Conni

 

P.S.: The tagline of A Life of Blue might have changed, but the mission and the spirit will stay the same. I just finally saw the light of what I want this blog to be. 

P.P.S.: A point that is equally important as any that I made above, but couldn’t tie it in properly: If we really want to be unconventional, can we please start changing the world, for everyone and not just for our self-realisation-seeking egos? Can we start thinking beyond our own little horizon? Because, if you missed it, I want to live an awesome life AND make this world a better place. Not just for me, but for people who would really, really need and appreciate that. And I want to save the oceans. I freakin mean that. I can’t believe there are still people with no access to clean water or proper education in this world. And I can’t believe we keep exploiting the oceans and wiping out amzing underwater species. It’s fucked up. I would like to know that there are more people out there who would like to make a difference and actually BE REMARKABLE. If you are one of them, hit me up, I would really like to talk to you!

P.P.P.S.: I need your help: I really want to grow this blog by spreading the word about it. Every single reader matters. Here is how you can help: Share this post (or any other that you like) via Facebook, tweet it on Twitter or post it on Google+. The buttons are just up there to your left. It would really mean the world to me. Just as your thoughts and comments, so leave them below!

{{{ And lastly, I will take down my little ebook “Beauty & Wisdom – Inspiration for Non-Conformists” tonight at 11 PM CET – if you still want to get your hands on it, sign up to my newsletter now! }}}

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6 Responses to Why Everyone Wants to Be a Non-Conformist, But Hardly Anyone Is

  1. Ricky Ferdon says:

    “…can we please start changing the world, for everyone and not just for our self-realisation-seeking egos?” Great post Conni! I like your quote and it sums up a lot of your point. Personally, I would like to study more on my Buddhist path, but have too much work to do changing the world, as you put it. :o) Namaste!

  2. ALliott says:

    “Love is real, real is love
    Love is feeling, feeling love
    Love is wanting to be loved

    Love is touch, touch is love
    Love is reaching, reaching love
    Love is asking to be loved

    Love is you
    You and me
    Love is knowing
    We can be

    Love is free, free is love
    Love is living, living love
    Love is needing to be loved”
    John Lennon

    Love is conformity
    Love is non-conformity

  3. Janet says:

    you already know i’m on your side. ;)

    “If we really want to be unconventional, can we please start changing the world, for everyone and not just for our self-realisation-seeking egos?”

    I COULDN’T agree with you more!! And that non-conformity is dead, etc. I always felt like a heretic growing up. Non-conformist. Unconventional. Whatever. But I hated the idea of non-conformism sometimes because the act of non-conforming is in itself, a kind of conformity! Especially with AONC ‘movement’. Much respect for him and I still want to be at his World Domination Summit one of these years.. but yeah.

    On my blog right now I’m asking how I can help people.. Good timing, because I’ll tweet this post right now!!

    • Conni says:

      Yeah, I feel ya with the AONC ‘movement’…as much as I like some of his ideas, I don’t see him to be particularly ‘non-conforming’ apart from the way he makes a living and getting other people to do the same, which is becoming less and less of a novelty as well. I recently came across this guy who is on a trip to visit every country OVER-LAND – now that’s what I call unconventional. CG’s carbon footprint is pretty massive after flying around like a maniac to spend a couple hours in a country to tick it off. Yeah sorry, I think I’m disillusioned, but that’s ok. ;)
      So thanks for sharing this post and for looking beyond your horizon! Happy to have found you! :)

  4. OL says:

    You know only rich people can travel abroad right? Rich, privileged white folks?

  5. Karren says:

    Hi.

    Been going through your archives and late to this post. But I wanted to comment here and say, when most people say “non-conformist” (like Chris Guillebeau) what I think they mean is they don’t work the 9-5 traditional system. That’s all.

    There is nothing non-conformist about Chris Guillebeau. He still defines himself by his age and gender, he has a girlfriend, he seeks approval – how is this different from any conformist life?

    I think those who work online like him want to draw attention to themselves by saying they’re non-conformist, when they’re not.

    This isn’t Chris Guillebeau bashing. But like you, I too am I tired of the “rules of non-conformity”. Why are there rules, for something so abstract?

    Keep doing your thing

    Karren

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