As I approach my 65th birthday I have come to a profound conclusion. There are two kinds of people: those who dictate who and what you can be and those who follow their dictates. Then there are those of us who are not followers. Before you point out that appears to be three kinds of people – it is not. The dictators and those who follow them are one kind of people. It takes one to make the other possible, they are indivisible.
The second group – the people who choose not to be dictated to – are not looking for trouble. We simply can’t follow people because we’re told to follow them. No matter what we decide to do, we’re not going to be highly regarded by the dictators and their followers. We rub up them the wrong way.
Those who go along with the dictates are usually content in their role, but those of us who are choosers, we bump into things, fall down, get up and go in another direction. Then we do it all over again. We refuse to follow the crowd and do what we’re told. We blaze our own trail.
People would say we make it hard for ourselves. It’s unacceptable and frowned upon in most circles. We are the rebels. We’re black, gay, disabled, justice crusaders, rejecters of the status-quo. We campaign and speak out. We are supposed to follow instructions but we can’t do that. We aren’t followers. We will capture people’s imagination for a while and then they will be uncomfortable with us.
My greatest hero, Aneurin Bevan, was a nightmare to work with says every contemporary account but he wouldn’t be diverted from his goals. He didn’t care what people thought of him. Most visionaries and entrepreneurs share Nye’s ability to upset people – but they get things done. Ironically, most left-wing organisations with which I identify have more than their fair share of highly motivated, highly opinionated people and they fall out with one another. This is beautifully parodied in Monty Python’s Life of Brian (See YouTube extract, strong language warning!)
“Judean People’s Front? We’re the People’s Front of Judea!”
So, having decided I’m comfortable in my own skin as a Group Two rebel and don’t care what anyone else thinks, I’m preparing to sacrifice some more sacred cows.