Creatures of the Commonplace, Slaves of the Ordinary

“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.” - Cecil Beaton

The Art of Non-Conformity, written by Chris Guillebeau provides great insights - opinions and views that are contrarian to what we have be told all along. I couldn’t agree more with him.

All along, we have told to live life in one way or another - what we should do, why we should not question authority, why we should work hard at an unproductive job to save for the future and the list goes on. These are the templates for conformity. Most of us weren’t told that we could do something otherwise - take up self-employment, enjoy life, travel as much as we want. We were told to be just satisfied with the status quo.

Well it’s not wrong to be satisfied with the status quo or to wish for an average life. It’s probably just unfulfilling.

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with their song stil in them.” - Henry David Thoreau

That’s just sad. The plan of deferred gratification, to save now, enjoy later or to take things at face value without questioning them - I think that’s quiet desperation. Life is short and there’s just so much to do.

To live life on our own terms, we have to first discover what we really want and do some goal setting to achieve that. This can be starting the business you always wanted to, write the book you have been planning for, make that trip to the other side of the world, or anything as such. The only requirement here is to be crystal clear on what exactly you want out of life.

In the process, it is inevitable that criticism follows our steps and actions. These often come from people who cannot accept the fact that we are doing something unconventional. As a result, they try to impose their opinions and views on us in the form of criticism. I would say turn a deaf ear to them. If you trust in your path, your ideals, your motives, then there is no reason to waver in the face of critics.

One of the important things discussed in the book is on doing legacy work - work that will leave a positive impact on this world. Prioritise activities, projects and interactions that are legacy work as compared to “other work”. Legacy work pushes us beyond our comfort zones, but often giving us the feeling of goodness and satisfaction in achieving something meaningful to us.

The art of non-conformity, to me, is a way of uncoventional thinking. To embrace our life, and optimise it for meaningful experiences. It is surely not being a rebel without a cause. It is more about thinking deeply on the things we do in life - are we just following through motion or are we really doing what we want? It’s about questioning issues that irks you. It’s about standing up for what you truly want in life.

This way of life can transform the way we live for the betterment of not only ourselves, but others.

I would strongly recommend this book to anyone looking to uncover more out of their lives.

If you choose to purchase the book, doing so via the following link would earn me some affiliate commission. It costs you nothing, but means a lot to me. :)