The Art of Non-Conformity

May 16, 2022

Do you remember the very first time someone asked you what you wanted to be in life? What was your first initial answer? Do you think your choices have changed with time? Do you still want to be the same person you wanted to be?


I remember the first time my teacher asked me what I wanted to be in life. I was only 8 years old and had no knowledge about the world or the word I was about to say. I stood up and said “I want to be an IIT engineer”, not knowing that ‘IIT engineer’ is not exactly a profession. Why did I say this? My cousin sister studied from Indian Institution of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, India. I looked up to her for years. However, as an eight-year-old I had no knowledge of what it meant to be an engineer or a scientist or a doctor. Looking back at this now it makes me curious as to why did I think that social conformity is important as an eight-year-old.

Concept of conformity

First, what is social conformity? The concept of conformity means, when an individual alters their behavior, thoughts, beliefs, actions and perception to fit into a desired group or into society. In the year 1932, a psychologist names Jenness studied and conducted an experiment on conformity. He is the first psychologist to ever do so. For years the subject of conformity has interested psychologist.

Realization and Mantra

Now, here come the real questions. Do you think fitting into an “ideal” group or into “society” is going to lead to absolute acceptance from the society’s point of view? Will it ever stop people from judging you? Is fitting in going to make you happy? No! I don’t think that this is a heathy practice for any individual. Take it from a person who has tried to fit in all their life.

The day I realized that me trying to fit in was a destructive lifestyle choice I came up with this one little Mantra. And it is the ‘SNG Mantra’.

S stands for ‘Smile’.
N stands for ‘Nod’.
G stands for ‘Goodbye’.

Application of the Mantra

Follow the following steps and you shall be ‘conformity’ free!

Step 1: When someone in your life tries to tell you that your dreams are too big, of you need to look a certain way to please others, or you need to be bound by certain rules of the society, acknowledge the situation.
Step 2: Apply the first segment of the Mantra. ‘Smile’ at them.
Step 3: Apply the second segment of the Mantra. ‘Nod’ while you smile at them.
Step 4: Apply the third and final segment of the Mantra. Say ‘Goodbye’ and leave vicinity. (*Elvis has left the building)

Add humor to your life and you will lead a simple life with less complication. The SNG Mantra helped me achieve non-conformity in life. I no longer want to be bound by the idea that my dreams are too big for this life time. I life a simpler lifestyle now and I am happy.



By Kritika Mohinta
Kritika Mohinta is a 24-year -old masters student from the department of mass communication and journalism. She is an aspiring journalist and writer who wants to spread her work and make a difference in this world.
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Comment on this article

  • Melroy C.F.Fernandes, Mangalore

    Wed, May 18 2022

    Brilliant! Don't be a conformist! Keep questioning the standard narrative and expressing yourself freely.! Quote Chapter 3-Of Individuality, as one of the Elements of Wellbeing. No one’s idea of excellence in conduct is that people should do absolutely nothing but copy one another. No one would assert that people ought not to put into their mode of life, and into the conduct of their concerns, any impress whatever of their own judgment, or of their own individual character.... Nobody denies that people should be so taught and trained in youth as to know and benefit by the ascertained results of human experience. But it is the privilege and proper condition of a human being, arrived at the maturity of his faculties, to use and interpret experience in his own way. It is for him to find out what part of recorded experience is properly applicable to his own circumstances and character..... He who lets the world, or his own portion of it, choose his plan of life for him, has no need of any other faculty than the ape-like one of imitation. He who chooses his plan for himself, employs all his faculties.He must use observation to see, reasoning and judgment to foresee,activity to gather materials for decision, discrimination to decide, andwhen he has decided, firmness and self-control to hold to his deliberate decision. Unquote(sic) - John Stuart Mill "On Liberty".

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