Note: This is a guest post from John Anyasor of HiLife2B
Stop trying to fit in when you were born to stand out.
Seemly realistic expectations, assumed logical progression, and an overwhelming sense of entitlement: these are the traits that a nonconformist does not possess. While the rest of the world moves like clockwork doing the things they despise in order to get the things they want, the nonconformist focuses on his own hard and fast rules of life.
Nonconformists are rebels, nonconformists are innovators, and, most of all, nonconformists never give up: their ultimate dreams of success are at stake if they do. They also understand that hard work is universal because no matter what profession you take up (whether it’s a job you hate or a job you like), without commitment, no dream of theirs will ever come to fruition.
So at this point, you may be thinking, “Cool! I want to defy social norms to chase and achieve my dreams too. But John, how do I get started?”
That’s why I’m here, right? In order to become a successful nonconformist, you must implement and master 7 important steps. Are you ready for this?
1. Take the path less beaten
How are you going to stand out if everyone is on the same path? Millions of workers continue on in the rat race everyday, hoping for that sweet payoff history tells us that we’re going to get. Well, let me teach you a bit of history: times change. What worked in the past doesn’t work as well in the present. We go through the same stages of life (school, work, retirement) in the hope that we will one day reach our dreams, but we never do. That is why we must have the courage to do something else; to do something different and unique so we can achieve success that much faster.
2. Value opinions that are different from yours
Notable nonconformist, Friedrich Nietzsche, once said that we tend to value more those with similar opinions to ours than those whose opinions are different. Instead, we should have an open mind and value everyone’s opinions equally. It sounds crazy to a close-minded person that you can make thousands of dollars online instead of by working under someone else for years as an employee, but open their mind and it all becomes possible. It is better to think about what those differences in opinion mean instead of closing your mind altogether.
3. Find AND follow your passion
Most people don’t know what their passion is and decide early on that there’s no point in finding it. It’s unfortunate, because those that DO find their passion, eventually use it as fuel in their life’s work. Those who are the most successful not only find their passion, but follow it to the end. Bill Gates had a passion for computers, started following it early on and now he’s very well off. Tony Robbins had a passion for inspiring people, and now he’s successful as well. Get it yet? Find and follow your passion.
4. Give before you get
As I’ve said earlier, a sense of entitlement isn’t a good habit to cultivate. Whether you want a job, a business, or you just want a personal favor, you must always give before you receive anything. A lot of people tend to just blatantly ask for opportunities. Always follow the “giving mentality”: When applying for a job, what can you bring to the company? When starting a business, what problem can you solve? When asking for a favor, what have you done for that person first?
Focus on giving value, and the rest you seek will follow.
5. Aim unrealistically
When you aim high, the sky is the limit. There really is no downside to aim just a bit out of your perception. The onlookers will tell you that you’ll never reach it. But that’s a good thing. Let that drive your enduring effort to excel at your passion. Who knows? While aiming for the moon, you might land among the stars.
6. Embrace your uniqueness
By chance, let’s say that you disregard my advice and decide conforming is easier. But try as you might to conform, deep down you know that you are a different person. You must embrace the fact that you are different to truly stand out from the crowd. So what if you still have an obsession with Sesame Street? Say it proud and say it loud! In the end, the only happiness you can control is your own. It’s much more difficult to deny who you are than it is to accept yourself.
7. Take up responsibility for your own life
This is probably the most important step on this list. To accept responsibility for where your life goes means to accept all of your shortcomings as yours and yours alone. Do you want to live like the rest, working for money instead of working for enjoyment? Working for mere things, instead of experiences? Make your own decision and don’t let anyone else decide for you. Take the path less traveled where you’ll have no idea where you’ll end up; because you know where you’ll be if you follow the crowd.
What have you done differently than the rest in your life? Thrown away the television set? Done away with the iPod? Share your thoughts below.
John Anyasor is a college student (like everybody else) but he’s taking advantage of the opportunities he has there by pursuing his interests and testing assumptions. He writes on his personal development blog, HiLife2B. There, he gives challenges readers’ minds on life and its improvement. Follow him on Twitter.
Photo by *sean