I wish I could be as articulate as Dame Vivienne Westwood, the iconic British fashion designer, on my enemy is the status quo.
She put into words how at odds I am with general opinion.
“My diary is a way of trying to communicate the world through my experiences. My point of view is heretical. My enemy is the status quo.”
Being a heretic is not a comfortable place to be.
One is always at odds with the world.
It’s exhausting to swim upstream and challenge the status quo.
One is also at odds with oneself.
I find it hard to stay the course.
It’s a constant battle between disruption or settling.
Sometimes it’s easier to dumb down my work for a dumbed down world so that my life will be smoother.
Sometimes it’s easier to sugar coat the truth.
Sometimes it’s easier to go with the flow.
Sometimes it’s easier to take the safety net of mediocrity.
Sometimes it’s easier not to mess with the status quo.
Of course, it’s soul-destroying to settle.
Luckily I hang out with heretics, like you.
People who are as uncomfortable in their own skin as I am.
It’s exhausting, though.
Their truth and standards are so high that they leave me gasping and battling to keep up.
They never ride the train of conformity and comfort like I sometimes do.
They’re always challenging. Testing. Pushing. Changing.
Like W. Edwards Deming, they get that, “change is not mandatory; neither is survival”.
They pull the rest of us out of the quagmire of ignorance so that we do have a chance to survive.
And, some of us will be lucky enough to thrive because of them.
I’m privileged to have these people as my friends.
They’re writers, professional speakers, entrepreneurs, intellectuals, philosophers and men and women of the spirit (and, of spirit). They’re you.
None of them are what you’d call, “normal”
Their very abnormality makes them giants. I get to see further because I stand on their shoulders. This quote stolen and mangled by me from the famous heretic, Isaac Newton.
These heretics hold me to a higher standard and make sure that I smarten up.
Their work keeps me on track.
They ensure that I never cheapen my art by asking for less effort, and demanding less work of myself.
They know that mediocrity is a gravitational force whose Siren’s song is strong.
I’m pulled by it … every waking minute.
If I don’t stand sentinel to my weaker spirit, I too will find myself shipwrecked on the rocks of Anthemoessa.
And, that’s a place I’ll never come back from.
Go and find your own heretic
Find a Newton, Galileo, Musk, Socrates, Foucault, Tesla, Chomsky, Godin, Da Vinci, Honda, Peterson, Smuts, Krog, Suzman, First, Curie, Einstein, Mandela, Feynman and Fuller.
They’re sitting in your churches, mosques and synagogues. They’re in your family. They’re at your work.
They’re easy to spot, but hard to emulate.
They’re scary because they have a truth about them that can be intimidating.
They’re single-minded. They hold themselves to a higher standard.
They look out of place in a world of sameness, mediocrity and dumbness.
They’re also dangerous.
They’re dangerous to your status quo.
If you want to stay the same, avoid them.
If you want disturbance, struggle, adventure and to live; go to them.