We live in a world that urges conformity. Everyone needs to just walk in step and not make waves. This blog is dedicated to the wave makers. Wave makers are earth shakers. They dare to be different and add spice to our lives. They often are the ones who are the difference between our success or failure.
I know that non-conformists are often met with discipline, stern looks, and admonitions to get in line. A non-conformist can be the drill sergeant’s nightmare. They march to the beat of a different drum and make conformity look absurd. Don’t get me wrong. I do believe we need conformity in the military and in many other areas of our lives; I just think we sometimes don’t know how to handle non-conformists productively.
If you have a non-conformist in your classroom, your organization, or in your family, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Every non-conformist will share some common elements:
- They need to feel heard.
- They want to know why they are doing something and why it matters.
- They love to think outside the box.
- They don’t care so much about what you think as long as they know you care what they think.
- They are often seen as quirky, strange, or loners.
- They need to feel appreciated.
You can’t really change them (or anyone for that matter). All you can do is reason with them, listen, and try to get them engaged in the project. Do yourself a favor when dealing with a non-conformist. If you will take the time to develop a relationship with them, you just might find they have incredible talents and thoughts to contribute to the project at hand.
Don’t judge a book by its cover. Some of the best books I have read had non-descript covers. Likewise, some of the most compelling and thought-provoking ideas have come from people who seem strange to the general public. “Sometimes the masses just need new glasses.” Different does not have to be an argument waiting to happen. It does not mean they are automatically wrong. They are just different. Take the time to know and understand them. Who knows what it will unlock for both of you?