The Art of Non-Conformity

Most people who know me, know my deep fear of mice. While I won't get into that or any traumatic childhood stories I will say that they scare me to no end. Out of all of the mice in the world there are only two that I can tolerate and their names are Pinky and The Brain. You have to love the determination they had in there quest to take over the world. At some point we all think about our life's purpose and ways to take over the world. Hopefully, I am not just speaking for myself here. Sometimes it is hard to imagine what the future will be like. You begin to wonder whether or not all the work you are putting towards your goals will really pay off. I've always been the kind of person who follows the rules in fear that something would go terribly wrong if I didn't. It may not be the most adventurous way to live, but it has worked for me thus far. I recently had an epiphany, or what Oprah calls an "Aha Moment". When you live life according to "the rules" you are not really living at all. I've found myself just going through the motions of living without putting much thought into my actions. Almost like a robot. While doing my usual web-surfing I stumbled across a website about The Art of Non-Conformity. The site's author, Chris Guillebeau defines non-conformity as, "a lack of orthodoxy in thoughts or beliefs” or “the refusal to accept established customs, attitudes, or ideas." This is a pretty standard definition of the word and it makes sense. When you play life according to the rules, you learn that things don't always work out as you think they should. According to "the rules" the course of life usually goes as follows: Birth, Primary School, Secondary School, Marriage, Death. If these are the rules does it mean that anyone who does not follow them will live inferior lives to those who do? Not necessarily. If the recession has taught us one thing it is that following the rules will not always get you far. Imagine yourself being a college graduate in a time like this. You took out loans to go to an overpriced school because you were told that it would be the only way to get a good job. Now you've graduated with more than $50,000 in loans to pay and have no job prospects. Welcome to the School of Hard Knocks. Maybe it's time to skip some of the rules and learn The Art of Non-Conformity. In a nutshell this art involves focusing on your unique passions and interests while directing your time towards activities that will improve your quality of life and allow you to see the world. It all sounds so peaceful and kumbaya-ish (yes, I just made that up), but it might just work. Before you go crazy on the theory of non-conformism I will caution that in order to break "the rules" you must first understand them. There are ways to be a non-conformist without being obnoxious about it. Especially if you follow the site's philosophies below: 1. You don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to. 2. If you don’t decide for yourself what you want to get out of life, someone else will probably end up deciding for you. 3. There is usually more than one way to accomplish something. 4. You can do good things for yourself and help other people at the same time.

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