It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance
Our world seems to run on peer pressure. Almost everything we do is in response to the expectations of others, either in conformity with them or resistance to them. Even those who seem to rebel against the culture do so in conformity to some subculture.
Like the goths at school who display their individuality by dressing exactly like other goths, sometimes our “individuality” is still about fitting in.
But there are times when we encounter a person who has a firm grasp on who they are. Their identity is so solid that they are not easily swayed by others, nor do they find it necessary to steam roll over those who disagree with them. They are able to keep “the independence of solitude” in the midst of a crowd.
The world is change by these kinds of people. Passionate people with powerful ideas willing to take fearless action.
When we work to define and accept who we really are, where our real identity comes from, then we can “keep with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”
Then we can truly be powerful people.
How do you work to keep the independence of solitude in the midst of the crowd?