Conformity will not work

Most of us are not mavericks by nature. We will not be caught sporting purple hair — nattily attired wearing a kilt. This is true for both men and for women, though I feel that ladies are far more adventurous when it comes to sartorial elegance. We like conformity. This extends to our private time, as well. After a few years of personal liberty and exotic travel, we settle into a life of quiet acquiescence and perplexing surrender. The result is an existence filled with regret and bitterness, in many cases. Where does the grumpy-old-man syndrome (1) come from? This does not have to be the case, but it is for most human beings. Why I ask? I attribute this, en masse, to a lack of reflective thought — to a dearth of critical thinking. This seems absurd, however. No one wants to squander their life in a state of perpetual drudgery and, modern-day, economic slavery.

To forestall these consequences, we must act as quickly as possible to remove ourselves from “the herd,” from conventional behavior. The wonderful part of this process is that remediation can be undergone at any age – whether you are six or sixty. You can start subtly when no one is watching. The first step is to buy a plant and develop a relationship with her, or him if you so prefer. One of my students recently told me that when she comes home after a frustrating day she sits and talks to her piece of nature in a real anthropomorphic way. She has begun to tell her secrets that she would never tell anyone else. What is happening here? Self-confidence is slowly building in this young woman. You can use any living being to enhance your belief in your uniqueness, your intrinsic value in the world. Dogs or cats are particularly sensitive in this regard. I like chickens. They enjoy a good conversation.

Then, move on to something more substantial. Wear a piece of unconventional clothing: some attire themselves with bright neckties or outrageous bowties — wear a stunning caftan! (2) Then, change your hairstyle. Dye your hair a particular color or grow a David Niven-like moustache. (3) You will slowly begin to feel a sense of otherness. (4) You are becoming distinct from your peers. The final step is to reflect on the self. What do I really want from my piece of life, my time in this reality? This, I find to be the most difficult because, by the time most of come to this point, we are already in the “rushing river of life.” It is extremely difficult to steer the proverbial boat to the shore to take time to plan the next life-altering decision – but ponder you must. I recently stopped at a lengthy red light. I looked around and, to my amazement, no one was contemplating life. Everyone was fixated on their phone screen. This does not augur well for the future of our species if we take little or no time to reflect. Just think of the present malady affecting the planet. Who is thinking? I would say few; most are simply, and almost laughably, panicking. Toilet paper will not save you from Hell nor assist you in Heaven. So, take time to think, pray, meditate and talk to your God: all answers lie within.

These are but a few basic guidelines to step away from the boredom of everyday life. That is the point, isn’t it? Life is not boring at all. It is dynamic, exciting, and it is mine. All of us are mavericks in our hearts; we must simply act to make these changes concrete. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), the great philosopher, transcendentalist and orator leaves us with a thought: To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.

A closing thought: It is not easy to be unconventional. Our parents, friends, and family love us. They want – what they believe – to be the best for us. The difficulty here is that their proposed future may not be what we want from our life. I may want something totally different. It is to be assured that if you break the traditional mold, you will have conflict — this in inevitable. It cannot be avoided. But, prosperity has many followers. When you arrive at a point that you are successful to you, you will receive the accolades that you deserve, though they may be grudgingly given.

To sum up: This week we spoke of living your truly unique life. It requires some effort, but it, most assuredly, can be realized.

To be noted: Patience and tenacity are worth more than twice their weight in cleverness.

Just for fun: Schostakowitsch

For reflection: Why is Vermeer’s “Girl with the Pearl Earring” considered a masterpiece? 

This week, please reflect on your hidden grandeur. How do I manifest it in world?

Every day look for something magical and beautiful

Quote: Most braggarts are frightened little beings.


1) Grumpy Old Man Syndrome

2) How to style

3) David Niven Biography  

4) otherness