This I Believe

Ozgur - Syracuse, New York
Entered on January 24, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe that people should not be intimidated by the norms of the society and strive to pursue their own personalities. Blindly conforming to some standards others deem appropriate for us has good chance of rendering us unproductive and stagnant.

If we look back some of the prominent figures in history:

• Dostoyevsky, one of the greatest authors of all time, was writing to earn his gambling money.

• Beethoven, greatest composer for me, was borderline suicidal and severely lacking in social communication.

• Nietzsche, one of the greatest philosophers, died as a ranting lunatic.

Well now, we herald them as among the greatest in their profession, would they have such an influence if they had lived a traditional life like most of us? The more I look back at history, I see more such figures challenging the norms of the society and remembered as frontiers of arts, sciences and politics, etc. Yet I can’t easily name a single person who lived a traditional life and still being remembered.

Drawing parallels to my life, my observation is that the more I try to conform to the rules of the society and try to get into it, the less productive my life has become. My own ideas are usually and unfortunately obscured because of conforming to some standards that I do not find appropriate all the time. I became uninspired, lazy and stagnant. Getting up from bed to do work that I am not inspired becomes a bore which only ends when I return to bed.

Someone told me that being normal is the worst thing that can happen to be a person. Maybe he is right, it is good to be a bit abnormal once in a while and don’t care what others think of you.