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Nonconformists often have greater success!

Don't be afraid to think in your own way and act accordingly. If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn't thinking, George S PattonSriram asks his friend Mahendra, "Where have you been? I've been waiting here for you for 15 minutes. They are ready to give our lunch reservations away."

Mahendra nervously replies, "Sorry Sir, I was waiting in line at the ATM. Everyone thought one of the ATM machines was broken, so we waited in the line at the single machine that we believed was working. Luckily there was a young man in a rush who tried the other machine. It was working all along. We just assumed that it was broken. We would have been waiting for another 15 minutes if it weren't for that young man who couldn't wait."

Sriram thinks, "No wonder this guy can't succeed in his job. He just follows the crowd."

Sriram challenges Mahendra, "Why didn't you see if the other ATM machine was working yourself? Why did you wait?"

Mahendra replies, "I didn't want to make a scene. It would be embarrassing if it turned out that I was wrong. It was better to wait." Mahendra is a conformist, and extreme conformity is everyone's worst enemy.

Mahendra typifies conformity at its worst. He cares too much about what other people think. He is afraid to take a reasonable risk that has only minor potentially negative consequences. He doesn't take initiative. This act of conformity illustrates how the masses blindly react to the ups and downs of their lives.

Why does the typical 'common man' conform?

Looking good: Am I making the right impression?

Firstly, the conformist is overly concerned with issues of self-presentation. He or she is interested in looking good. This concern with making the "right" impression has been programmed into his or her psyche from childhood. It is so pervasive that the person is always worrying about making a good impression even when it is not necessary. He or she may hold on to an argument, for example, to save face. Or, he or she may unconsciously think, "I don't want to do anything too innovative and feel like I need to explain it to my friends. I might come off as a fool."

In the end, who cares what anyone thinks? If you have trouble, think. If you have trouble with conformity, it's vital to look inward for what you want to do. Don't let other people determine what you want to do.

Fear of failure: Wouldn't it be shameful if I took a risk and failed?

Secondly, the typical 'common man' is afraid of taking a risk. Again, there's fear of shame that lies behind conformity. The person who ensures conformity needs to be right. The worst thing he or she can do is to take risk, fail, and face the consequences.

So what if you fail? Everyone fails. Ask successful persons and you'll hear from them that they have had more failures than successes.

Sachin Tendulkar will tell you on how many crucial occasions he has wished he hadn't got out though he has so many world records. Anil Kumble has been hit several times for a six, and Roger Federer doesn't always break through the defence. The Bee Gees have a host of records that no one even bothers listening to, and for every successful invention such as the light bulb, Thomas Edison had a string of failed inventions. Failure is inevitable if you are seeking success.

You can go your own way and emerge a winner!

The successful person isn't afraid of looking bad, afraid of taking a risk, or afraid of failure.

There's a difference between breaking the rules just to be a rebel, and not being concerned with rules. The successful architect or novelist isn't afraid to break the rules. He/she is a rugged individualist.

So if you want to be a winner, don't be afraid to take risks. Protect yourself with proper risk management, but don't hold back. Move beyond your comfort zone little by little. It may take a little time, but eventually, you'll learn to break the rules when you need to go your own way, and you will emerge a winner.

You might appear like a nonconformist but set your own treand by doing what you believe in. Be common in nothing. Especially not in taste. It is great and wise to be ill at ease when your deeds please the mob. Baltasar Gracian, Art of Worldly Wisdom.

Authors Of Shared Thoughts

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Leading Banjara Academy's online email counselling team of volunteer-counsellors, I realize it is not an easy task reaching out to a person one has never met, never seen, without the added advantage of gestures, eye contact, a gentle reassuring touch, tone of voice and yet providing empathy, positive strokes, making the person feel heard and understood.

With the aid of only written words, it is quite a task building trust, making people open up and share and helping them cope and feel better. So when in many instances they write back saying thank you and that they feel so much better, the feeling one gets is priceless and incomparable - knowing one has done something right, something good!

Hats off to all the volunteeer-counsellors of Banjara Academy who have been carrying on this work silently, anonymously for the last couple of years. Truly commendable! - Ali Khwaja

This website was initially conceived and designed by the late Sitaram N
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