Going against the grain is hard guys. Following the crowd, not standing out, not bucking the system is always easier than swimming upstream. I have questioned, many times in the past several years, why I have felt that pull to be different from the masses. It's a question I ask myself in moments of calm that I can't give the time to ponder in the moment.
Why? Is it vanity, or ego? Do I go out on my own path just to be different? Is it that wild anti-authoritarian streak in me that just revolts against doing as I'm told? I don't think so. Sometimes, conformity really does seem to be the best course of action, either because that course leads me to an end point I INDIVIDUALLY desire or just to reposition myself to attain my own goals. Other times, conformity leads me away from my goals, and in that moment I push back hard.
Going against the grain isn't something one can do without a few innate personality traits. One must have a strong sense of self, of who they are as an individual and not just a nameless, faceless number or cog in the machine. One must be goal oriented, seeing their own path through the chaos of life and external pressures. One must be self reliant, not dependent on the validation from others, or at least others who's validation is not important or central to the individual. One must harden themselves mentally, and emotionally, knowing that the cost of that external validation is often to sacrifice your goals in favor of the group. If that group's goals are aligned with yours, that's compromise. Otherwise, sacrificing your goals is simple compliance.
What has been important to me throughout my adulthood is to separate the world into two distinct groups, and permit them into my life and decision making accordingly. The people who's goals align with mine, the people I call my tribe (some family, a lot of like-minded friends), I would go to war for figuratively and literally. I would sacrifice anything I could justify to help them hoping they would do the same for me. Everyone else, by default, is not in my tribe. I don't care for their opinion, or seek their validation. I laugh off the charge of being "crazy prepper" or "conspiracy theorist". I keep them at arms length. They have no power over the course I set for myself. I pursue my goals, and by extension my tribe's goals, and the rest of the world can manage themselves.
Is it easy? Absolutely not. Is it rewarding? I think so. I pursue my goals, base my decisions on my own research and cost/benefit analysis, and I completely disregard those opinions I deem to be uninformed or unimportant. I don't go against the grain out of direct intent, I go against it because "the grain" does not align with me. I'm an individual, and with regard to those aspects of my life I believe I should have direct dominion over, I simply can not justify ceding my autonomy to the opinion of outside people or forces that prioritize their own goals over mine. Going against the grain isn't what we do, it's just who some of us are.