Nonconformity is a necessary evil. People hate change but it's important for long-term progress and development. Many outstanding, different and remarkable inventions that have transformed how we live and work were started by people who believed change was inevitable. Without nonconformists, human development and progress will be significantly slow.
"The worship of convention will never lead to astonishment." Tama J. Kieves once said. In her book "Inspired and Unstoppable" she writes: "You are not made to fit into the world...but to remake the world, heal the world, and illuminate new choices and sensibilities."
Nonconformists commit their careers to finding smarter and innovative solutions. They seek and find real change that affects millions of lives in a positive way. Conventional approach sometimes stifles rapid progress. It limits the progress we expect and need to be better as a human race. Innovation suffers when traditional channels spearhead our quest for improvement.
In his PsyBlog post "Why Group Norms Kill Creativity", Psychologist Dr. Jeremy Dean writes: "The purpose of norms is to provide a stable and predictable social world, to regulate our behaviour with each other. In many respects norms have a beneficial effect, bolstering society's foundations and keeping it from falling into chaos." But, he notes, "stability and predictability are enemies of the creative process.
Innovation is driven and shaped by people who think differently
"In Silicon Valley many of the more successful entrepreneurs exhibit a mild form of aspergers -- they are missing the imitation socialization gene," said Peter Thiel (co-founder of PayPal and first investor in Facebook). It turns out that's a, "Plus for innovation and creating great companies," Thiel said.
As a creator, the nonconformist embraces the change, and carves out something different from what is already useful. And the creative person-the nonconformist-often has a profound disagreement with the way things are done. Nonconformists are mostly self reliant. They stay true to their beliefs, attitudes and desires. They are courageous in the face of adversity.
But conformists help maintain important norms of society. Everyone else who holds in high esteem the standards or the status quo helps keep their society sane. Conformity holds society together. We can only tolerate nonconformity to a certain degree and more importantly in certain institutions.
We can't tolerate nonconformity in the Army. If people were allowed to be creative in the army, there will be chaos in many countries, but at the highest levels of the military, some form of creativity and innovation is allowed to make it run better.
However, society would never change without a few nonconformists. We are all a part of the whole. It takes a lot of courage to challenge the ideas, practices and products that make us successful. Nonconformity is always a risk. Going against the current is tough. But to create, make, or do something different, better and faster, your conviction about your creation should be strong enough to stand the test of time.
Einstein had utter disregard of authority, and refused to conform. He once he wrote a friend and said "A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth." "Long live impudence!" he liked to say. He ignored conventional wisdom more than he rebelled against it. It bored him.
"To punish me for my contempt for authority, fate made me an authority myself," he once joked. Einstein was insanely curious about a lot of things. And stopped at nothing to find answers to his questions. He represents one of hinonconformists who changed how we perceive the world and laws that govern it.
If you question the default or try to improve it, you will come against strong opposition. But sometimes it's the only way to achieve the progress we desperately need as humans. Historically, innovation and acceptance have struggled to co-exist. Ideas and understandings that challenges traditional rules and conventions are normally harshly opposed by those in authority. But if you want to change the world and make it a better place, prepare to defend your convictions. And sometimes you will be forced to do it alone.