Punk rock has been a significant part of my life, since when I got introduced to it as a 13 year old kid. Its impact on me was especially strong during my teen age period. I still carry the lessons I learnt from punk rock even today and I think they will never fade away.
What did I learn from punk rock then?
If I am to name one thing, it’s the attitude that you can do whatever you want to do as an independent individual. This kind of message resonated with my teenage self, because throughout that period, I felt I was different from other kids and didn’t want to fit in despite that others and society in general would passively if not aggressively ask me to think and to act like them.
By the way, there’s nothing unique about feeling that you are different from other people, I believe, at least on some levels. I’m sure you’ve felt that way before. Maybe you still do – as I do. But that’s normal. I mean, if we get really specific about the notion of being different, we’re different by definition. No one else shares the same personal history with you. Or your feelings that only you can feel. You’re different from others on so many levels.
Though, at the same time, we have so many similarities with people around us. I firmly believe that these similarities are what unite us and we need to note our similarities much closer than our differences. To make a really simple (and perhaps simplistic) example, I believe you want to live a happy life. Well, just like you, I want to live a happy life too! It’s possible that our definitions of living a happy life differ, and that can be our differences, but this simple desire can be our similarities that make a connection between us.
While there are punk rock and its sub genres as music genres, I’m inclined to think that what kind of music it is doesn’t matter much. Likewise, I’m inclined to think that as long as you’ve got that attitude, it doesn’t have to be expressed in the form of music either; it can be expressed in photography, business, or living.
I believe punk rock is about a certain attitude or stance towards life. The way you dress isn’t important. What you listen to isn’t important. The way you think and the way you act matter.
At this point, the term punk rock starts seeming as if it covers something more general – perhaps non-conformity coincides with what I attribute to and find in punk rock. (Which explains why I resonate with the messages Chris Guillebeau spreads through The Art of Non-Conformity.)
Here’s one more thing about punk rock, which can apply to non-conformity as well. It’s often pictured as resistance to something. There are people who tell you what to do and what to think; you must stand up and resist them. There are people who tell you that you can’t do what you want to do, because it’s too dangerous or because you’re not good enough; you must stand up and resist them.
But do you really need to resist? Or, to put it more precisely, do you really need to spend your energy on resisting them when you can use that energy to create something worthwhile?
Here, I have my martial arts training in mind. Generally, resisting isn’t a good move when dealing with attacks unless you are much stronger than your opponent. In order to avoid those attacks, you simply need to change your position slightly – perhaps by moving to a side of your opponent. That way, you can nullify those attacks. If you can completely avoid resisting, that’s much better, because you’ll save your energy and there’s a chance of putting yourself in a better position.
I believe that when you do what you want to do as an independent individual, you don’t need to spend your energy on resisting others and critiques, especially when you aim somewhere higher where no one else even thinks it’s possible to reach.
Even if you must resist, I believe it’s much better to think of the next step after resisting. What I mean is that you don’t resist for the sake of resisting and it’s better not to forget that you are resisting so you can create something meaningful… well, later on? Or you can be a non-conformist about resisting and simply start creating now. I choose to do so, and what you choose to do is up to you.
What influenced you significantly as you grew up? What do you think about resistance?
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