Have the audacity to NOT conform, but rather question and lead
Somewhere in this world today sits a senior executive in a company boardroom secretly disagreeing with the popular consensus of the people in the room because he or she sees something that is morally wrong or unethical. Across their country perhaps sits a young graduate working on his or her secret aspiration to develop the next big software that could possibly change the world of mobile phones. Sitting at the desk in India, which was once popularly known to be a poor country, sits a billionaire working on how to take over an American corporation. Standing in a line up at the security check in USA, perhaps stands a father watching his young teen daughter being stripped of her basic dignity and being scanned through an intrusive x-ray scanner while people are watching her and thinks what can he do or say that could challenge the system and inspire them to develop a less invasive and more sensible process. On other hand biased opinions are perhaps been fed into unsuspecting minds by groups for personal and greater gains. In some form or other, we are either too busy conforming to popular thinking and behaviours or disputing them in our won ways.
No man can cause more grief than that one clinging blindly to the vices of his ancestors. ~William Faulkner
When it comes to thinking and absorbing knowledge we are basically of three types: 1) people who are passive non conformists, 2) those who challenge the popular opinions regardless of opposition or possible persecutions and 3) there are those who indulge in ritualistic and monotonous day to day living by conforming to popular norms and processes as dictated by those who they consider are authoritative figures, experts and intelligent people who know what they are talking about.
Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it – even if I have said it – unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. ~Buddha
People follow, reject or adjust their personal behaviours and opinions towards religions, mundane rituals, government policies, cultural norms, news, political views etc on daily basis. Often they do these without full understanding and without taking the effort to investigate the facts in order to from better educated opinions and beliefs. And this callus acceptance, adherence and thoughtless conformity to common ready-made and easy to consume information are often the cause for much social, political and personal chaos. This behaviour primarily prevails because we are often better followers than leaders. It is easier to follow and not question than to defy and lead a new way of thinking. Hence we are traditionally divided into groups of leaders and groups of followers. Some of us dare to think, question, change, progress, take responsibility of their own lives and lead while others chose to obey, adhere, conform and follow. Needless to say majority of the former kinds succeed and achieve lot more than the later. While the later get busy with the complaints, bitterness, negativity and feeling sorry for their perpetual victimized self.
In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted. ~Bertrand Russell
If one thing statistics, recent and past history has proved to us is that the popular opinions, democratic decisions and expert advice have often been more wrong than right that has resulted in severe and damaging consequences. If this was not true the economists would have foreseen and avoided the crisis that grips the world of finance today, doctors would not have misdiagnosed several critical cases and get sued for their gross negligence, there wouldn’t be contradicting studies from researchers over drugs and food, America would not vote the president for two consecutive terms who drove them to economic crisis and all corporations and their respective experts, authorities and top executives will not run their organizations to bankruptcy. These and several other such examples goes to prove that experts, authoritative figures, popular opinions, and majority decisions are not necessarily the right ones. If anything they have often proved to be grossly wrong and biased. Our dependency and reliance on such figures, people and decisions needs to be based on individual sensibilities, common understanding of morals, values and the responsibility to educate ourselves with unbiased facts before we make our choices and take decisions.
Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly. –Albert Einstein, in a letter to a professor emeritus of philosophy at the College of the City of New York, defending the appointment of Bertrand Russell to a teaching position
Great people, leaders, countries, communities, corporations and families are inspired by intelligent, educated and progressive thinking without prejudice. Weather they are political beliefs, religious or communal rituals, mundane processes, or authoritative decisions, we need to take the responsibility to examine, think . question, understand and learn the history, facts and reasons for them. We need to get into the habit to ask the “why’s? and Why not’s? ” before we form any strong opinions.
You only display poor thinking, limited knowledge and week wisdom when you blurt out biased and snap judgements. You may not be told but certainly you will leave a poor opinion about yourself with others when you pass uneducated statements and opinions that are not well informed or thought out.
Public opinion is a compound of folly, weakness, prejudice, wrong feeling, right feeling, obstinacy, and newspaper paragraphs. ~Robert Peel
So, before you conform to opinions and information blindly, it will server in your best interest if you take the responsibility to learn a little, educate yourself and take the efforts to form unbiased and intelligent opinions in life. It will make your life, better in many ways than you can imagine. You will think better know more, take better decisions, garner respect, feel good, be more successful and perhaps, just perhaps inspire others and lead as opposed to adapt to the herd mentality of follow unquestioningly.
Conformity is that jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth. ~John F. Kennedy