Neither a Contrarian Nor a Conformist; Simply an Individual

True self-authenticity is the willingness to like what everyone else likes when it stands to reason to do so.

Being a contrarian has value, but only when it’s practiced non-dogmatically. When the crowd is moving in a constructive direction, it can be useful to go along with the crowd. If going along with the crowd serves your priorities and principles, then to resist the crowd is to resist yourself. And that is the complete opposite of being self-authentic.

Being true to yourself is about following the path that best meets your wants and needs. The amount of people who are also following that path is irrelevant. Useful things don’t magically become useless just because lots of people like to use them. If you’re getting rid of something because it’s taking up space, draining your energy, eating your time, or becoming a distraction, that’s a good thing. If you’re getting rid of something just because it’s becoming more popular, that’s an ego thing.

“I don’t want to be seen as someone who likes the same things as everyone else” is never a good reason to deny yourself the advantages, opportunities, and pleasures of that which genuinely captures your interest.

Conformity doesn’t equal “fitting in.” Conformity equals “fitting in at the expense of who you really are and what you really want.”

If you’re suppressing who you really are and what you really want in an effort to maintain a brand that says “I’m different,” you’ve fallen for a self-defeating trap.

It’s better to live as you believe and be considered a conformist than to spend your life chasing things that don’t really satisfy you in the name of seeming like a unique person to others.

A real individualist cares more about feeling interested than about looking interesting.

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TK Coleman is the Education Director for Praxis. He has coached dozens of young people and top performers from all stages of life. He’s the author of hundreds of articles and is a frequent speaker on education, entrepreneurship, freedom, personal growth, and creativity. TK is a relentless learner, has been involved in numerous startups, and has professional experience ranging from the entertainment to financial services industries and academia. Above all else, TK is on a mission to help people embrace their own power and expand their own possibilities.

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