We all know a misfit or two. In fact, most folks have at least one misfit in their families. You know…the one who marches to the beat of a different drummer.
These are the folks who seem impervious to social pressures. Convention is catapulted in favor of the freedom to live the way they want to live.
Are there costs for being a misfit? Sure. There’s always a chance that someone will think less of you, criticize you, or shun you, but there’s also a value in being a misfit—primarily in that being a misfit offers a person the freedom to live a genuine life.
A basic premise of FYT is that living a disingenuous life causes pain, so, in as many ways as feasible, we should all strive to be a misfit, to find a way to ignore others’ expectations.
I know all too well that this is easier said than done. The need to be a part of the social fabric is strong. For most of us (including me), people’s opinions matter a great deal.
But what are the costs of conforming as opposed to the costs of being a misfit? What would really happen if we were all a little more like a misfit and a little less concerned about the opinions of others?
Let’s find out. In the next week, pick one of the following activities and see what happens:
~Be honest: In the critical moment when you feel yourself just about to change a comment to fit into the group, stand firm and be honest. Gauge people’s responses. In the end, you’ll likely see that the effect of your honesty is less drastic that you thought it might be.
~Be genuine: Speak from the heart. Let people see who you really are. Being genuine may make you vulnerable, but remember: Those who matter don’t care, and those who care don’t matter.
~Be brave: I’ve spoken a lot about courage in past articles. I don’t know a single person who hasn’t struggled with courage at some point in their lives (even the misfits we know). In the critical moments, when you’re tempted to succumb to peer pressure, make the conscious decision to hold your ground. Dare to be different!
~Be creative: How else might you be the misfit this week? How might you buck the system or swim against the current? If the opportunity presents itself, take it. Be a misfit. See where it leads you.
It is important to remember that no one is perfect. We’re all susceptible to peer pressures and social norming, but it’s also important to remember that, more often than not, our fears about what others will think about us or how others might treat us tend to be exaggerated. What we all might find out is that there are far more benefits to being a misfit than there are drawbacks.
Good luck in your misfit experiment, and let me know how it went!
Photo by: Lin Pernille