The Art of Non-Conformity Book Review by Chris Guillebeau

the art of non-conformity
the art of non-conformity

There are two types of people in this world. There are conformists, and there are nonconformists. 

A conformist is somebody who conforms to accepted behavior or established practices. If you look within, you will often see this within your daily life. You get up, go to a job that you’re supposed to have, set goals while considering the views and opinions of others, essentially, you conform your life to the similarities of those around you. 

It’s okay, I happen to be a conformist as well. 

A nonconformist, on the other hand, is somebody whose behaviors or views do not conform to the prevailing ideas or practices. An example would be an entrepreneur who sets their own schedule, a twenty-year-old who travels the world instead of going to college, or anybody really who creates their own life their own way without worrying about the type of person that the rest of society wants them to be. 

Personally, I envy the nonconformists. It’s hard going against the rules that are laid out by society. But the truth is that if we want to live a more meaningful life than the ones that are somewhat laid out for us, then we all need to be a little more rebellious – we all need to be willing to be nonconformists. 

The Art of Non-Conformity

I just finished reading Chris Guillebeau’s book The Art of Non-Conformity, and truth be told, it really got me thinking about my life. I guess that’s why I enjoyed the book so much. It didn’t lay anything out in front of me or try to force me to conform to a certain set of ideas. Instead, it got me to think about my life and some of the things that I would maybe like to do differently. 

That’s exactly the objective of the book. It isn’t to say that what you are doing in life is right or wrong. What it’s saying is that if you want something more out of your life (which I hope everybody does), then you need to be willing to set the terms of your unconventional life and go after whatever it is that you want to achieve. 

Competency is Your Security

As Guillebeau puts it, competency is your security. You can choose to do what everybody else in the world is doing and live a similar life, or you can do what it is that you want to do and start living the life that you actually want to live. 

Everything is within reason though. I am not advocating harm on others or to do anything that might jeopardize your life, but if you want something, why not go for it? There is always going to be a safety net waiting to catch you when you fail, but there is nothing other than your own will and desire that will move you forward. 

The best way to take responsibility for your life is by taking action towards the things that you want.

Smashing Through the Wall of Fear

We all have things that we fear. Whether it is our fear of money, relationships, job security, acceptance, heights, there are things that we all fear. When it comes to fear, the first thing that you should do is stare at it and acknowledge that it exists. 

From there, ask yourself what’s the worst that could happen? This just helps to put into perspective that your life probably isn’t going to end and that you actually have what it takes to overcome your fear. 

The third thing that you should do is smash through that wall of fear and knock it down. 

There is part of the book that I want to share with you about smashing through the wall of fear. Guillebeau states: 

“After we’ve acknowledged fear and prepared for the task ahead, we often come to a sticking point: what to do? Assuming you know what you want and are just having trouble seeing it through, one thing that helps is to force the active decision. This is where you stop wavering and decide one way or the other if you’re going to take the leap.

Forcing the active decision is good for a couple of reasons. First, it often encourages us to step out in our fear, since we may realize that fear is the only thing holding us back. Second, even if we decide against the action we were considering, taking the active decision not to do it will at least get it off our mind.”

Set Forth and Start Your Legacy

Don’t look back and wish that you would have done more with the time that you had. Create the reality that you want to live, and strive to be better today than you were yesterday. The best days of your life are ahead of you, not behind you. 

Ask yourself some simple questions like how are you feeling, what is it that you want to be doing right now, what is important to you, etc. Asking yourself these questions can help to motivate you to move int the right direction of actually obtaining the answers. 

There is one last quote from Guillebeau that I want to share. “The best time to get to work on it was yesterday. Failing that, today will do.”

Final Thoughts

These were just a few of the amazing key points that Guillebeau outlines in The Art of Non-Conformity.

Now, am I a little biased because Guillebeau is probably my favorite author, blogger, podcaster, etc? Maybe… but for good reason. A lot of what he shares resonates well with me and forces me to think outside of the box. 

I truly couldn’t recommend this book enough. Again, Guillebeau doesn’t tell you how to live your life, but he does go deep and gets you to think about how you want to live your life. That’s what made this book incredibly remarkable.

Michael Bonnell

Yesterday’s post: The Morning Routine Of Tim Cook: Waking Up Before 4 A.M.

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