Who decides “what others do”?
Someone in the crowd who is used to witnessing the “common denominator behaviour” exhibited by their fellow crowd members, behaviour that is typically non controversial to all because they’ve seen it all many times before.
When someone distances themselves and steps outside of the crowd to do something different they standout. They are noticed because they don’t conform to what people are normally exposed to — they don’t fit the mould of commonality. And they are special in some way that others are not.
What do these people do to distinguish themselves in the eyes of others from the masses of people who all blend in to one another?
They don’t care
… about expected norms.
As opposed to being influenced by the majority opinion they choose to be guided by a different set of standards. My observation is that this trait is not a learned one but rather an innate, instinctive leaning to “not give a sh**” about what people expect and to constantly push for the opposite to what is expected.
They ask “Why not?” constantly when an alternative to a commonly held thought or opinion is posed. Instead of going with the flow, their natural instinct is to breakaway and pursue a different direction. “We’ve always done it this way” doesn’t wash with these folks; it provokes them and in fact fuels their energy to push back on the crowd mentality. They see continuing the momentum of past decisions as the reason so many problems exist in society today.
They hang out
… with weird people.
Like minded people tend to cluster; so these people join with other breakaway thinkers and doers to form their own tribes. Ironically they dislike the common crowd but love to create their own tribe of weirdos.
And they are attracted to places and experiences that are frequented by the different crowd. For example, you wouldn’t be surprised to see them having a burger at the Heart Attack Grill in Vegas just to witness their brethren participate in a crazy (and unhealthy) experience.
They are compelled
… to present a different point of view.
Compliance with crowd-think is simply not on their radar; their persona has the “step out” rather than a “fit in” trait. Whereas the masses might advocate throwing more money at healthcare, for example, these people might suggest that the system delivering healthcare be fixed — re-engineered — first.
They would argue that it makes little sense to apply additional resources to a system that is inherently flawed; it’s wasteful of tax dollars. And of course they question everything; it’s their way of formulating an alternative point of view to something that is accepted by the crowd.
They don’t follow rules
… in their youth their school report cards typically commented on this aspect of their class performance.
Remarks like “Roy is constantly challenging how things are done and distracts the rest of the class”, or “Roy on occasion breaks the school rules and doesn’t seem to understand that students are expected to conform with school policies” are ascribed to them constantly by the school establishment.
If a rule doesn’t enable logical behaviour, they resist it vehemently and press for its elimination or at least that flexibility be applied to bend it in certain circumstances. And killing “dumb rules” is their mantra to which they invest much of their emotional energy.
They make mistakes
… In fact, they are noticeable because they are proud of the number of mistakes they make. They are naturally unafraid of taking a risk; they believe that risk taking is a necessary prerequisite to achieving remarkable progress.
And the corollary they have to this is that a high level of performance can be maintained only if someone tries a lot —> the more tries —> the more mistakes —> the more real change is accomplished.
They are insanely
It’s what feeds their incessant drive to do what they do and stand apart from everyone else. I think it’s a bit of a science gene that these special folks possess. They need to understand how things work and why things are the way they are; it’s the fuel that enables the to think differently and do different things.
Face value accounts for very little to the different ones; they accept nothing at face value but need to dive deep to know what’s really going on. They view the current base of academic knowledge as their fodder for change.
Someone who’s “not like the others” loves the fact that they are slightly distant but realizes that it’s sometimes hard because the pressures to conform and NOT standout are so enormous.
Thankfully they are strong enough and persistent enough to be who they are — special, quirky, remarkable, weird, different, unmatchable, an ONLY one, distinguished and brave.
We need them.
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