If you are an incorrigible noncomformist you will probably enjoy these quotes about the joys and benefits of being yourself. You are those people who create, challenge, and change our world. Without people like you, there would be no wonders of the world. Humans have somehow created everything that didn’t come with this earth; too many free thinkers have always lived for us to stay where we began.
Whether you are a monk or nun, an artist, a pianist, or any other number of individual people, these quotes are comforting in the chilly life some eccentrics live. This writer spent so many years trying to conform to the crowd that I was already older before I celebrated my individual gifts – those I was born with and those I worked hard to develop. May your journey to yourself be much shorter and less complicated. Be you! You are the greatest gift you can offer our world.
- “Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.” Albert Einstein
- “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” Henry David Thoreau
- “Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” President John F. Kennedy
- “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” Dr. Seuss
- “Heresy is another word for freedom of thought.” Graham Greene
- “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” Rob Siltanen
- “The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.” Friedrich Nietzsche
- “I know the feelings of my heart, and I know men. I am not made like any of those I have seen; I venture to believe that I am not made like any of those who are in existence. If I am not better, at least I am different. Whether Nature has acted rightly or wrongly in destroying the mold in which she cast me, can only be decided after I have been read.” Jean Jacques Rousseau
- “Finding the occasional straw of truth awash in a great ocean of confusion and bamboozle requires intelligence, vigilance, dedication, and courage. But if we don’t practice these tough habits of thought, we cannot hope to solve the truly serious problems that face us — and we risk becoming a nation of suckers, up for grabs by the next charlatan who comes along.” Carl Sagan
- “Freedom began on the day the first sheep wandered away from the herd.” Marty Rubin
- “Not all those who wander are lost.” J.R.R. Tolkien
- “A sure way of retaining the grace of heaven is to disregard outward appearances, and diligently to cultivate such things as foster amendment of life and fervour of soul, rather than to cultivate those qualities that seem most popular.” Thomas à Kempis
- “It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “A free society cherishes nonconformity. It knows from the non-conformist, from the eccentric, have come many of the great ideas.” Henry Steele Commager
- “The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” Rudyard Kipling
- “Make up your mind to this. If you are different, you are isolated, not only from people of your own age but from those of your parents’ generation and from your children’s generation too. They’ll never understand you and they’ll be shocked no matter what you do. But your grandparents would probably be proud of you and say: ‘There’s a chip off the old block,’ and your grandchildren will sigh enviously and say: ‘What an old rip Grandma must have been!’ and they’ll try to be like you.” Margaret Mitchell
- “Plants are more courageous than almost all human beings: an orange tree would rather die than produce lemons, whereas instead of dying the average person would rather be someone they are not.” Mokokoma Mokhonoana
- “Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” Robert Frost
- “It gives me great pleasure indeed to see the stubbornness of an incorrigible nonconformist warmly acclaimed.” Albert Einstein
- “Only a very small number of people are truly evil. But a very large number of people are conformists. To prevent evil on a mass scale it’s more important for us to ward against our own instinct to conform with the crowd than it is to worry about anything else.” Claire Lehman
- “Forgive him, for he believes that the customs of his tribe are the laws of nature!” George Bernard Shaw
- “If there is anything the nonconformist hates worse than a conformist, it’s another nonconformist who doesn’t conform to the prevailing standard of nonconformity.” Bill Vaughan
- “Go your own way. Question everything. Accept nothing. Accept no dogma, no cant. There are too many people walking around thinking they’re sacred cows, and they’re only half right.” Rosie DiManno
- “I took the other road, all right, but only because it was the easy road for me, the way I wanted to go. If I’ve encountered some unnecessary resistance that’s because most of the traffic is going the other way.” Edward Abbey
- “It is the individual only who is timeless. Societies, cultures, and civilizations―past and present―are often incomprehensible to outsiders, but the individual’s hungers, anxieties, dreams, and preoccupations have remained unchanged through the millennia.” Eric Hoffer
- “The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace, and brotherhood.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
- “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” George Bernard Shaw
- “Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.” Paulo Freire
- “The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.” John Kenneth Galbraith
- “But let it not be said that we did nothing. Let not those who love the power of the welfare/warfare state label the dissenters of authoritarianism as unpatriotic or uncaring. Patriotism is more closely linked to dissent than it is to conformity and a blind desire for safety and security. Understanding the magnificent rewards of a free society makes us unbashful in its promotion, fully realizing that maximum wealth is created and the greatest chance for peace comes from a society respectful of individual liberty.” Ron Paul
- “If I decide to be an idiot, then I’ll be an idiot on my own accord.” Johann Sebastian Bach
- “Yes, Kālāmas, it is proper that your have doubt, that you have perplexity, for a doubt has arisen in a matter which is doubtful. Now, look you Kālāmas, do not be led by reports, or traditions, or hearsay. Be not led by the authority of religious texts, not by the delight in speculative opinions, nor by seeming possibilities, not by the idea: ‘this is our teacher. But, O Kālāmas, when you know for yourself that certain things are unwholesome, and wrong, and bad, then give them up… And when you know for yourself that certain things are wholesome and good, then accept them and follow them.” The Buddha
- “Where all think alike there is little danger of innovation.” Edward Abbey
- “Our wretched species is so made that those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road.” Voltaire
- “Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.” Mark Twain
- “It is very nearly impossible to become an educated person in a country so distrustful of the independent mind.” James Baldwin
- “This was the price for the strange life she had chosen, but she had gone into it with eyes open, and there was no profit in regret.” Donna Woolfolk Cross
- “Most of the things we do, we do for no better reason than that our fathers have done them or our neighbors do them, and the same is true of a larger part than what we suspect of what we think.” Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
- “Being on the side of the majority is often a sign that you are wrong, or the most unlikely to be right.” Mokokoma Mokhonoana
- “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds!” Bob Marley
Video: The Psychology of Conformity
This video, building on the ideas of Ernest Becker, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Emerson, examines why we are so susceptible to conformity and looks at why nonconformity, or the cultivation of one’s uniqueness, is such an important ingredient in a life well-lived.
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