The concept of nonconformity or being a nonconformist first arose relative to persons who did not conform with the principals of the Anglican Church. These days, a nonconformist is anyone who does not conform with the norms of society.
When I think about it, I find it hard to put my finger on the concept of what is considered the norm and who determines it. What’s considered normal in one society isn’t necessarily so in another or from one generation or another. At any rate most societies have established norms that people tend to conform to or are at least expected to and people tend to label those that don’t as nonconformists.
I remember growing up I had a difficult time conforming to the norms expected by my patents and the establishment and was considered a trouble maker. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t want to fit in or be an outcast but instead just didn’t believe in all they were telling me nor could relate to their norms. In school I was never one to be in a clique or sit with or hang out with the same people all of the time. I liked all kinds of people from different backgrounds and social status. I know this kept me from being invited to some parties and events.
When I got into the workforce I went to work in an industry that was very stiff and conservative. While I liked the work I did and committed myself to be the best I could at it, I always seemed to find myself at odds with the establishment because I was always looking for new ways of doing things and played outside of the box. I know it cost me some jobs and advancement. To be honest I never cared about rising to the top or that much about the money anyway.
Being a surfert in and of itself runs against the grain of many of societies norms especially in the business world. It seemed that those who played golf or fished could do it as much as they liked and not get chastised but if you surfed only casually or even with customers then you were considered to be goofing off and not conforming.
Now don’t get me wrong, if everyone refused to conform then the world would most likely fall into chaos. No one would follow any rules and would do whatever they wanted to do and not much would get done. The truth is, not many people are total nonconformists (truth be told, if we were all nonconformists then wouldn’t we be conformists after all) . I know I conform in many ways to much of societies norms and buy into a lot of them. The difference for me is that I choose to be an individualist and not go along with the crowd just because everyone else does. I like people like that and feel they are good for society. It’s what makes us different and interesting.
I thinks surfers by way of what they do are individualistic as a whole and look to find their own balance and rhythm in their lives either by the way they dress, talk, surf or go about their daily lives.
So my advice is to be who you are and don’t blindly buy into the norms others try and pin on you.
Thanks for checking in and let me know what’s on your mind. Aloha, Paul