Being the contrarian

We paid the entrance fee and followed the crowd in front of us. It was our first visit to the San Diego Zoo. We had heard a lot about the zoo and were excited to enter. We followed the crowd straight-ahead, but then my wife and son veered right.

I was trailing the two of them, but the choice made total sense to me. When others go right, I tend to go left. When everyone else goes left, I go right. I’m a contrarian. And of course, we were rewarded. There was no one standing by the giraffe enclosure and we were able to get up close. We oohed and awed at the giraffes for a long time before starting on the rest of our zoo journey. 

It can be hard going it alone and against popular opinion, but I find that it’s usually the more satisfying choice. I naturally think of my blog writing. I could choose to keep my writing to myself or to not write at all, but instead, I choose to write about the things that move me and love the conversation with my readers.

I think too of the choices I’ve made throughout my life, even my choice of careers.

When I was in college, I was surrounded by Engineering and Business students. One night one of my friends, over one two many beers, joked about hating Engineering. I was perplexed. In a few short weeks, he was going to be graduating. I asked him why he didn’t pursue another major.

He told me it was the best way to make a ton of money. He joked too that his parents would have killed him if he changed his major. They expected him to an engineer. I could be wrong, but something tells me that I’m happier with my choices than he was with his.

Yes, I’ll take the contrarian path ten times out of ten.

38 thoughts on “Being the contrarian

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  1. Robert Frost’s poem comes to mind,
    Two paths diverged
    In the woods, and I
    I took the one less travelled by
    And that has made
    All the difference

    I love that stanza and have found myself living by it many times. In fact, my most recent video post is goes against the train when it comes to algorithms and content creation.
    Loved this! Glad your choices brought you joy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think you both make like this Shaw quote, then “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” (Or woman 🙃)

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m not sure I’d use the term contrarian at all- just a person who looks for and accepts that everyone has their own way and uses that knowledge wisely 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I think I’m with Deb on this one. To me contrarian sounds like going against the flow to be difficult or obstinate rather than making your own decisions because its the right thing for you

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Boy, can I relate. I’ve written blog posts about this very subject. I never went along with the crowd. Not even as a teen. It does get lonely at times, but like you, I’m happy with my choices. I hope your friend can be, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “Go your own way” by Fleetwood Mac comes to mind. You’re fortunate you didn’t have pressure from parents on what your career was supposed to be. My brother did from our parents, but I was told I could do whatever I wanted because I was going for my MRS.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ugh, that’s horrible Elizabeth. I’m sorry. I hate that for your brother, and the different expectation for you. My parents had some expectations, but in some ways I lucked out in that we weren’t wealthy. They couldn’t tell me what to major in because I was the one taking on the loans. They just didn’t understand why I would want to write.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My dad was a dentist and my parents wanted my brother to be a doctor. He didn’t get through the freshman washout courses. He switched to business and retired before he turned 40 very wealthy. I didn’t get married in college — or meet my husband until later — but I got a Communications degree in editorial journalism and have loved writing for a living.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t think you’re wrong. A few of my childhood friends became lawyers, which was the path I started down until I realized that conflict was not my thing. Working for a busy law firm in my twenties revealed that. Not too surprising two of my lawyer friends reached similar conclusions after years of practicing. Money is not everything!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You remind me of Michelle Obama’s words, “When they go low, we go high.” Somehow I suspect that most of us bloggers have a few contrary bones in bones in our bodies, else we wouldn’t be so willing to put ourselves out there for the world to see. I also imagine that those contrary bones have led us down paths that we might not have traveled had we followed the flock. And yes, I’ll bet that we’re a lot happier than the followers. Maybe not as rich, but happier!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, that’s a great comparison Julia! If I had pursued the crowd interests, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I’d probably have more $$$ and a bigger house, but my family would hate me and i would be a miserable mess! I’ll take being a contrarian everyday!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

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