7 Steps to Becoming a Nonconformist

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


  1. Heather Wommack
    Heather Wommack

    Wonderful post! I decided when my daughter was born that I would not bother with TV and internet at home. She is 9 years old now and we do things as a family at night, instead of being sucked into Idol, etc. She is the top reader in her class and never complains that she is bored! Keeping up with the Jones’ is for the birds 🙂

  2. What I’m doing differently is embracing self employment.
    I’m a life coach and have chosen to create my own coaching program and design my own coaching style.
    It’s definitely the road less traveled, yet when I feel really overwhelmed I fall back on two mottos:
    1.) I love adventure and,
    2.) Never give up never surrender!
    Thanks so much for your well written article.

  3. @Heather,
    Nice to meet you Heather! I think you’re doing a great job with your child, and I hope she becomes a brilliant star when the time comes.
    However, I do think that the internet is a very important resource. There is a great wealth of knowledge that can be gained online.
    Thanks Susan! I’m glad to here you’re a life coach and helping others. You’re really giving value to people who need it most.
    You’re walking a path less traveled and making tracks that people will remember you for.
    You’re welcome for the post.

  4. […] to do things a little differently? Then take a look at John’s guest post on 7 steps to becoming a non-conformist. This is a great article if you’re interested in taking a different path in […]

  5. thank you very much for this post.I have given up watching TV,and decided to start reading personal developement books,to empower my mind to pass on to my little girl.I will also not ingage in any conversation were people are criticising,and condeming people.

  6. Great post BUT……4. Give before you get
    What about those of us that continually give and in the process lose what we are to expect back? I’m a HABITUAL giver….. I give and give and give and someday I am sure that I will not have enough give to give anymore 🙁 and lose one’s sense of self and self esteem?

    • Kim, I sense you are giving because you feel you “have to” or because you expect something in return. I think this is a very natural tendency; I don’t give enough because I’m too selfish and possessive and I would like to have the gift acknowledged in some way.

  7. Excellent post. 🙂
    I agree that being non-conformist is essential in today’s world – having an open mind to all opportunities and possibilities should be taught in schools rather than the strict “do as your told” mentality we get today.

  8. Your post made me smile, as I relate to a lot of what you wrote. I definitely don’t take the easy life route but sometimes find myself doubting it, only because the conformists around me don’t get it. Your post was a nice reminder that I’m doing okay.

  9. @John – Great change of your life, man. Don’t forget – simply reading personal development books are not enough. Test the subjects that you read in your everyday life. Make sure that what the authors say really works.
    @Kim – I understand what you’re saying. For those types of givers, I recommend that you give selectively. Don’t give everything you own away – you need to satisfy yourself so you can survive, right?
    Give once in a while, but when you DO give, give away your best stuff. Something you would be estatic to be given yourself.
    @Craig – Thanks for agreeing with my post. There’s just so much potential in all of us to try new things that are beyond our everyday, regular scope. To veer from the conventional path is extremely valuable and profitable (for the body, mind, and the spirit).
    @Tom – I’m glad I could be of service. The easy life really isn’t for those with bigger things on the horizon for them. Of course, the conventional life is only easy in the sense that everybody else is doing the same thing so we can easily ask for help.
    The unconventional life is of your own creation. You are responsible for how creative your live can be.
    Thanks for your comment.

  10. Aim realistically….I love that. I’ve often been told to get real but that’s something I don’t believe in.

  11. No television in the house; no reading or listening to the news; questioning if I’m doing something. Ecauss I like it or if society or someone else likes it.

  12. I got rid of cable. Grew my hair out. I swing for the fences. I do what I do and that is who I am.

  13. Following instructions to be non comformist. Sorry the irony is to great.

  14. Not all opinions should be valued equally. I mean, you can’t put the opinions of a Holocaust denier and a Holocaust survivor on the same level. Opinions stating that some races are inferior to others, or that it’s okay for the strong to take advantage of the weak, are not to be taken seriously or believed. There is such a thing as objective truth, and if you want to avoid doublethink or cognitive dissonance, you have to recognize that not all opinions are equally valid or based in reality or ethically okay.
    Keep your mind open, but not so open that your brains fall out.

  15. Thank you for this. .my whole life I have ALWAYS felt “different” “out of place” i always felt like I was searching for something, yet I didn’t know what it, or who was!! I never fit in, was always saying what was on my mind, not caring what people thought of me, as long as I treated people, how they treated me, I was fine! ! I say what’s on my mind, but I don’t purposely hurt their feelings, I don’t have friends, in the sense most people do, a saying I like, and don’t know who said it…I’d rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I’m not! ! I’m 51 yrs old and FINALLY during this last presidential election, figured out what I am..as people would call me a democrat, a liberal, conservative. .none of those sounded like me..than I looked up non conformist. .there it was!! All 7 points on your list..IS ME!! thank you I finally know who I am

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