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Abhinandan Chatterjee

Senior Consultant - L&D, I Train Consultants (I) Pvt.Ltd

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Are you a conformist or a non conformist?

Definition: Conformity - Doing things the way it is defined by perceived limitations - Social, physical, mental or executional.

Non-Confirmity - The ability to take risk and go beyond the defined, allowed or the traditionally possible - based on being driven and on belief.

Non-Conformity is often perceived as REBEL, rebel is looked at as something that is wrong. I want to share that Non-conformity does not have to be wrong. While there are mostly examples of it that hog limelight for negative reasons; it is a life changing idea for the good. If we intend it to be that way.

My life has been divided between being a conformist and a non-conformist. I still don't have the answer but I am sure that people not willing to conform to things ought to get the due respect and a proper platform for it now.However, it is important that the means and intention are absolutely humane for this different person. Otherwise - there will just be more of the negative examples.

If you feel like digging deeper into it, I spoke about this at a recent TEDx; you can see that at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBLCWg37R6Q

Are you a conformist or a non-conformist? It will be great if you could suggest some examples of non-conformity that did good for the world.

Answers appreciated.


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    Mar 9 2012: As a young metalhead, I've always been a part of a culture which is inherently 'non-conformist'. But metal is a philosophical culture and rarely do individuals within the culture use those words. As you said, 'non-conformist' has always been synonymous with 'rebel', and a common criticism is that by being a rebellious metalhead or punk in the spirit of non-conformity, one is indeed becoming a conformist by conforming to the standards of their social group.

    I've always said "I'm not a non-conformist, I just conform to a better standard". Which is presumptuous, but as good a description as any.

    But you present an interesting definition. A metalhead is a conformist... He is limited by his moral restrictions. We don't hate color, but we do hate wasteful fashion. Because of this, we don't wear most kinds of clothing. We come to resent fashion. It's seen as conformity to the metal fashion standards (and for some it is, we're a varied culture with many different ideologies) when for many it's a way of communicating a kind of band-preference by adorning the symbols of bands (and our bands tend to be variable in the same way; a band may help express your own personal ideologies or interests). Anti-religiousness or satanism is believed to be a common metal perspective, but there are huge religious metal cultures including Christianity, Islam and new-age spiritualism. Still, some metalheads -do- conform to decidedly atheistic, paganistic or satanistic views (usually this depends on region; Norwegian metalheads are more likely to be satanic then anyone else, for example).

    I would say I am a conformist and an non-conformist. I have personal limitations which are social, physical, mental or executional. I also prefer to challenge my pre-conceptions, change my opinions in light of good evidence and control my reactions in order to make better choices.
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      Mar 12 2012: Hi Spencer,

      Sorry for being so late in replying.

      I'm sailing on a similar boat as you. Again and again I keep reaching the conclusion that I am a mix of both too. Just trying to learn more.

      Thanks for your response. Cheers
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        Mar 12 2012: I'd like to think we're too obsessed with being 'the same' and being 'different' when we should all be less concerned with either, and instead, just try and 'be right'. There's no harm in conforming to a good standard. There's no harm in rebelling against a bad standard. It's bad to conform to an unhealthy standard and it's bad to rebel against positive standards.
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          Mar 13 2012: True That.

          Non-conformity is a lot more than a kool title. It is a mindset or an attitude and cant be chosen overnight.

          It is certainly more about belief and believing in the right. Thanks for your perspective.


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