11 Feb To Conform or Not to Conform?

Welcome to my blog posts! I’ve spent a whole life decoding corporate, business & social jungles and now it’s time to share. Here you can find reflections, discoveries and helpful tips on an ongoing basis. This will not be about “fitting” but about “being”. Before we continue this journey though, first things first: will you take the red pill or the blue pill? Or as my first post says:

To conform or not to conform? This could be the million-dollar question. Literally!

Just stop for a moment and think. How much conforming has cost you until now? Wanna know how much it cost me? Well, more than a million bucks! Wow.. I’ve never said it out loud before. Technically, I still have not but don’t hold it against me. A confession is a confession. Just take it.

Ok so, a million bucks! For many years, people told me I could earn more by conforming, by choosing the tried, tested and sure paths. That’s not how they said it of course. People never tell you to conform, instead they either offer you perks or scare you about risks. In my case, it was crazy to decline some prestigious offers, ridiculous to study an unknown subject, absurd to not care about titles.

They were right. I could have absolutely earned more…..INITIALLY. Knowing myself, I would have then dropped out of the workforce like a hot potato and end on an island rocking back & forth staring at the sunshine.

This ripe departure from professional life would have cost me 25 years of solid earnings and experience. Resisting the short-term shiny opportunities on the other hand, resulted with a much fulfilling career.

Go ahead say it: Asli, I thought you said you conformed and lost a million bucks. Now, you are bragging that you did not. What is it? What happened to the million bucks? How did you lose it?

I caved! That’s how. As Frank would’ve approved, I did it “My Way” for so long that it led to a certain level of over-confidence and arrogance to think it was ok to stray for a while. Thinking “hey this once.. let me go towards the unbearable lightness of convention. Let me touch it, enjoy it, bask in its glory and reap its crop”, I went for the nearest & the shiniest.

Then I dropped out of it like a hot potato in record time and literally ended up on an island. Whether rocking back and forth was involved is beside the point. Just know that there was sun.

It did not have to be this way. Had I not caved, I would not have left and there would be no cost.

The good thing about me is that I learn. On the island, I resisted the temptation of fancy offers, resisted the calls to go back, resisted to cave. Instead, I invested in further education, travelled to another continent to realize a core aspiration, became stingy about the type of clients & projects that I took and stayed way away from any pseudo-glory what so ever. It was difficult. It was time consuming. But it was My Way.

As I said.. The good thing about me is that I learn. And another good thing about me is that I share what I learn.. Actually, may be the best thing about me is that, I not only share what I learn but I support others to get on Frank’s approval list without losing a million bucks of their own.

Stay tuned to find out about the road to “Frank’s List” here. First step is from Socrates: “Know Thyself” – in Asli’s words: A Shakespearean approach to awareness; in Leadership lingo: Build success with Self-Awareness.

“Know Thyself” is the first step in the journey of balancing self-actualization & authenticity & achievement. It provides invaluable insight for choices, decisions, expectations, relationships. I have 5 principles as guides for this journey. Disclaimer: They are not magic, but may just work like one.

3 Comments
  • Murat Ozturan
    Posted at 09:10h, 13 February

    Great insight.

  • Linda Kok
    Posted at 10:55h, 13 February

    Well done Asli, cannot wait to read more👍

  • Kendal Callison
    Posted at 15:37h, 25 April

    Thank you Asli! One of the insights I had when reading this was this: as a result truly knowing ourselves (motivations, preferences, etc.) as a first step, are we then able to consciously and effectively decide whether to take the red or blue pill…or neither…or which first… 🙂