Do you ever feel overwhelmed with the pressure to follow the crowd and conform?
As a child, we are always told not to follow the crowd and to think for ourselves and yet as soon as we become an adult it seems like our entire life has already been mapped out for us. How did that happen? Why do we feel that we have to follow in the footsteps of others without challenge?
In The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau, a book published back in 2010, still extremely relevant today he states:
“You don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to.”
If you want to break away from the crowd and do something for yourself then this is a book still valid in today’s world. Based on Chris’ popular online manifesto, this book urges you to think for yourself rather than accepting the common assumptions about life and work that we all seem to happily follow like sheep. This is a book that, if you are open to deliberately choosing to think differently, will give you the tools to live intentionally, the way you desire.
Hopefully, you will discover how to live on your own terms rather than follow others. It will help you explore creative self-employment ideas while looking at radical goal-setting and embracing life as an adventure.
The Art of Non-Conformity also highlights that while you may believe that everyone is there supporting you, wanting you to achieve everything you want, some are actually blocking your way, either intentionally or unintentionally.
“Along the way, some of them will help you, while others will stop at nothing to prevent you from succeeding.” (Page 8)
Instead, Chris is saying that if we open our eyes and stop ‘sleepwalking’ through life, we will able to accomplish more than we ever thought possible.
“Always look carefully for someone’s motivations and agenda”. (Page 10)
Have you ever considered world domination? Why not? I, after all, we limit our dreams we will only ever limit our successes. But, while we are happy to play ‘the game of mediocrity’ we will never reach the dizzy heights of our greatest ambitions.
He stresses that ‘a life of quiet depression that leaves you with a nagging question in the back of your brain: “Is this all there is?”’, cannot really be a life worth living. However, in order to move forward in life, you need to take responsibility for what happens in your own future, both good and bad.
Like so many other books that focus on striving forward and thriving, Chris highlights that the most memorable times in our life are likely to be the most challenging. Unfortunately, most people will not push themselves into uncomfortable situations because actually, on the whole, we like living in our comfort zone, which is why we end up accepting the status quo and sleepwalking through life.
It is also suggested that we often believe that we cannot grow and succeed on our own terms because we need to be more intelligent, more popular, richer, or more privileged. In fact, this is not the case. The biggest problem is trying to overcome our internal obstacles of fear and insecurities; we are our own worst enemies because we are our biggest critics.
“Your dreams and big ideas belong to no one but you, and you never need to apologize for or justify them to anyone.” (Page 26)
The important thing is to be able to look back at your memories and be satisfied with everything you have done, not regret what you haven’t done.
My Thoughts on The Art of Non-Conformity
I sometimes read books like this, designed to motivate
people into some sort of action, and forget about them pretty much as soon as I have closed the back cover. However, there were parts of this one that really resonated with me. I am not good at conforming. I don’t like to follow the crowd. I have struggled for years to try to justify my way of life.
This book therefore finally made me feel like my lifestyle was acceptable. It made me realise that it’s actually ok not to follow the natural path that everyone else seems to. I am not saying that the way of life for others is unacceptable, just that in today’s modern age, no lifestyle choice should be frowned up.
On top of this reaffirmation, Chris Guillebeau adds several insightful tips on how to succeed; how to change your mindset and work more effectively towards your chosen goals while avoiding falling into the trap of life avoidance and simply ambling around without purpose.
“We live in a conventional world, and doing what you want can be surprisingly difficult.” (Page 36)
But, not impossible!!!!
You just need to commit to what it is you want to achieve and go for it.
This is a motivational book that regardless of its publication date is still relevant, perhaps even more so now. Today, more than ever, people are working remotely so that they can achieve their goals; so that they can work and see the world at the same time. Others are choosing to work for themselves rather than being confined to a cubicle working for someone else. No longer are there exacting career paths or life goals that we must follow and yet the majority of us naturally find ourselves doing just that.
The Art of Non-Conformity is a book that helps you to see past the fog of conformity and realise that whatever you choose to do in life is acceptable and achievable. The only thing stopping you it turns out is you – therefore if you want the life you have always dreamt of, you need to set challenging goals and go for it. Stop being a sleepwalker through life and start living it.
Conformity is a bad thing; it’s just not for everyone!
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If you are based within the UK or the US and prefer to support independent bookshops, then you can find a full list of Chris Guillebeau’s books all in one place on our bookshop page.
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