There was a man named Mahatma Gandhi
He would not bow down, he would not fight
He knew the deal was down and dirty
And nothing wrong could make it right away
But he knew his duty, and the price he had to pay
Just another holy man who tried to make a stand
MY GOD, THEY KILLED HIM!
Another man from Atlanta, Georgia
By the name of Martin Luther King
He shook the land like rolling thunder
And made the bells of freedom ring today
With a dream of beauty that they could not burn away
Just another holy man who dared to be a friend
MY GOD, THEY KILLED HIM!
Kris Kristofferson wrote a song, “They Killed Him” for the heroes who were killed in their endeavour to change the status quo. The ‘change’ challenges the status quo and breaks the set rules that are followed for years, sometimes decades together. So, the change is bound to be opposed by people who benefit from the present state of affairs.
People who herald and pioneer change don’t stop themselves in spite of the opposition because they are absolutely confident about their novel ideas. They know that change is inevitable for a better life, for the development of humankind.
If not for the nonconformist, we would not have seen any improvement and transformation in our lifestyle and way of thinking. We wouldn’t have had better products and services, the ease of life that we experience today. As John Kenneth Galbraith rightly says,
“Humanity’s most valuable assets have been the nonconformists. Were it not for the nonconformists, he who refuses to be satisfied to go along with the continuance of things as they are, and insists upon attempting to find new ways of bettering things, the world would have known little progress, indeed.”
Thus, we need to introduce change and challenge the rules to create new ones. If mankind has progressed, it’s indeed due to the people who believed that new ideas could disrupt our lives to unveil the plans for a better future. That is how inventors have contributed to our growth. Conventions block progress. When rules change they create temporary flux and chaos in the society. But, when their benefits are accepted they become like any other norm.
Conflicting ideas bring a new idea, that changes our way of living and provides us with new modes of convenience like never before.
Nonconformists disagree with the present situation, they don’t move along with the monotony, are independent and courageous enough to face resistance from Orthodox people. They don’t accept all the rules easily and have a curious mind that shuns routine and rules. It is not that they question anything and everything but that which falls under their radar asking for a change!
Often, we live a routine life and never question the rules because we think or made to think that this is how the life goes, giving away the thought to develop the courage to question norms and step outside the comfort zone.
How are you going to do that? Let us all accept it’s a challenge to move outside a comfort zone but, it’s not an impossible task (never was). For example, it’s sometimes a challenge to give an unpleasant feedback to your subordinate, especially when you are people pleaser or professionally socialise if you are too shy. At times, it so happens that modest people don’t like to promote and pitch themselves and don’t like self-advertising. They might view it to be shallow and pompous.
But, why do we hate to come out of our comfort zone? We think it will go against our nature, image or our so called, “true self”. Let’s think that one fine day you decide to step out of this comfort zone to become social and outgoing. That is certainly not easy due to the fear that people might find it weird or you won’t be able to change gracefully and you will fail miserably while people will mock at you.
I see a lot of people are averse to social media. They think why should I advertise about myself on social media and create a ruckus out of nothing? Some people might also feel that the change they are trying to bring in their lives is unethical or against their definition of being ‘right’.
But, what gives that extra courage to break out of this comfort zone? Many times, it is a strong sense of conviction, to act against your nature or do something totally unacceptable in the society; a strong sense, push or motivation from within. It will come from the surroundings but, it can’t be only an external push towards breaking rules.
The true desire for change, a sense of purpose should come from within.
In professional life, your goals will give you that extra push. In personal life, it could be your sense of responsibility towards your family or society.
Two things that you should remember when you change yourself, innovate or do something different, is the necessity to have the clarity about what, how and why? While trying something new, we fear and become anxious that either it will be a disaster or we feel the pressure that we need to be the best. This pressure doesn’t let us perform and we shun change altogether.
Innovators didn’t think only of success when they tried doing something different or introducing change. Even if they failed they kept trying. Step by step, slowly they moved towards change that made the existing norm, product or system, irrelevant.
Companies today have to transform themselves and adapt to one; the changing desires and expectations of customers and two; changing technology. If they invest their time in inventing new products, services or systems, they are bound to grow. So as part of an organisation employees are bound to work around change while have to learn new skills as well.
You see, comfort zones are not defined. There could be innumerable or maybe just one, varies from person to person. But what’s interesting here is we shouldn’t bother with our zones anyway. Rather we shouldn’t think of one!
Their ideas should create an edifice for change, without which their contribution is nil and their existence in the company and so on-so forth. For the people who struggle to bring the change in the society, their strong determination is enough to break down all barriers of opposition. May it be in a family, organisation or society, change is almost always welcomed with resistance.
The only strong sense of purpose, conviction and determination will turn the wheels of change. So hey conformists, don’t bother your zones because nonconformity is calling your way!
Crafted with brevity for select stories to make certain you see what others don't; sent every Friday
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