Challenging the Status quo…

You can’t do that“!

I hate this phrase. I’ve been told the same umpteen number of times.

You can’t speak too loud.

You can’t pair this shirt with that trouser.

You can’t jump a signal even if there are no motors in extended sight.

You can’t miss college even if you find no value addition.

You’re not supposed to be too frank while meeting new folks.

You can’t afford to be on a holiday amidst this economic scenario.

You are meant for obedience, to be a conformist. Else you run the risk of being ostracized. Of being labelled an anarchist. Of never tasting success. Of being bullied. Of situations going out of your control. Being labelled crazy.

being different than the others

A sore in the eye?

I’m horrified to grow old and look back at my life story with a gut feeling that it was all scripted by foreign maneuverings.

I screw up many times. I’ll continue to screw up in the future as well, for all I want is not to live a life of complacency. I’d like to think of failure as a natural part of the learning process. The only way to shine in the midst of blinding black matter and infinite ether surrounding you  is to be disobedient. The word almost always comes with a negative connotation, and you aren’t surprised enough. Following all the rules is the surest way to achieve mediocrity, to be stuck in the matrix forever. It goes without saying that you need to find the real reason, instead of blindly accepting the way things stand. But of course you say, that reality itself is blurred. How do you define reality without a frame of reference? That is where the fun starts. It is OK if your reality does not somehow wonderfully coincide with your uncle’s or boss’s (assuming you don’t hurt any animals or eve-tease or do other shitty things).

Conscience is too powerful a force to let you down while you forge a path of mindful disobedience, if only you let it. I admire people who are mindfully disobedient. The collective human progress owes its riches to these disobedient people. Galileo was being disobedient for declaring that our earth was spherical. Beatles disobeyed the routine conventional methods and obtained a cult status. Gandhi was being disobedient when he obtained salt within home territory. Steve Jobs was being disobedient whilst suggesting a new way of computing. Albert Einstein was disobedient all along, and never molded himself into the standard definition of a genius.

It feels good and refreshing to break some rules once in a while and create a happy ruckus. It sets you free. Here are some of the ways you can practice disobedience and continue to be a good citizen meanwhile (!)

  • Run the other way. Once in a while, do something you’re not supposed to do. Code free-style. Play the strokes reverse hand. Advertise on tea cups instead of newspapers. Do not follow the dress code. The worst case scenario might not be as bad as it seems to be.
  • Improvise. Add a tinge of your uniqueness and spice up things a bit. Don’t hesitate to personalize. Introduce new features. Plan an unexpected itinerary. Create unique art.
  • Unpredictability. Give a hug when they think you’re gonna hit. Show up in a ‘lungi’ to flaunt your roots. Discover new ways of loving your partner. Take an entrepreneurial plunge when the corporate machinery was thinking of promoting you!
  • Challenge. The superstitions. The traditional way of thinking. The old way of doing things. The unquestionable authority. The standard modus-operandi you were always supplied with. You can think for yourself in most of the cases, then why burden yourselves with another set of things to hold on?
  • Say ‘Yes’! much more. Successful people are invariably more open to new opportunities early on in their lives. Only when they succeed and know about things they are good at, they start streamlining and focusing on things that matter to them. The ones who recommend you to keep your head down and focus on the job at hand might well be the ones who regret down the line to have not taken much risks in life.
  • Honesty. This is a surprise inclusion. Being honest is being disobedient, of sorts. You’re not supposed to honestly state the inefficiencies of your boss. You’re not supposed to interrupt the class and propose a better algorithm. Utter some sweet straight truth; instead of a mental grin along with a broad smile. Do not try to be a true diplomat, and you’ll not be a sweetheart once more. Tell the unpleasant truth, and you might as well go to hell and clean your own shit.

Being disobedient is not easy. You will be ridiculed as you lie on the roadside; no one else to give you a helping hand whilst you’re blamed for fostering stupidity. But, it also is the only way to be truly free and re-discover life. A life of your own. Like a lotus witnessing the aurora borealis: who was once afraid to get out in the Sun.

Posted by: Rohit Gupta

5 thoughts on “Challenging the Status quo…

  1. There ain’t nothing better than curiosity both as a teacher and as a sense of leeway. And to thrive curiosity, a little bit of disobedience and out of the box attitude is needed. If you simply follow the rules, you cease the pathway to imagination which ensues new ideas and yes, a realization of freedom. Nicely written post! Loved the last paragraph totally. :)

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