Being who and what you are is the most natural thing there is. There may be a cost. Some people, even some friends, will disapprove of you as you truly are and will let you know it. There will be setbacks along the way. Yet the price for being yourself can never be as great as the price you will pay for stepping aside from your basic nature: a price paid in frustration, dissatisfaction, and the hopeless realization of all that you might have been, but now can never attain.
There will never be anyone else like you in the future of the universe. That's why being yourself is more important than anything else.
That's how life works: two steps forward, followed by one-and-a-half back as those who lost their power try to reverse the process.
In stark contrast, the most determined proponents of conformity have always been dictatorships. Under a dictatorship, any kind of variation from prescribed ways of thinking or acting is punished. Conservative thinkers often suggest too much freedom will lead to anarchy and the collapse of all standards.
Those who benefit most from the status quo are naturally the least interested in change, and they find allies in the fearful and the authoritarian. Conformity always includes a threat of punishment if you fail to fit in, whether it comes from ridicule, being shunned by others, or direct attack.
There’s a more fundamental power behind the urgency with which authoritarian conservatives seek to suppress individuality. That power is lack of trust. Wise leaders and outstanding thinkers are alike in two things: they’re usually non-conformists —and they display a deep trust in the basic goodness, intelligence, and capacity for development of their fellow human beings.
Take up the challenge. Conformity has very little to recommend it. Trust yourself and trust others. Mediocrity and inner frustration are the true price of conforming. Only those with the courage openly to live their dreams can ever hope to find lasting satisfaction with their lives.