Compromise Individuality

Danial Naqvi
3 min readOct 1, 2018

A random thought that leaves food for thought. My day busy and tiring but I somehow came across an epiphany about us. Compromise individuality.

Me at The New Globe in Mile End, London, UK

‘We’re told we’re special and unique but we have to compromise values for others. So how individual are we?’

None of the following really affects me but it’s hard to miss the glaringly obvious flaw in our society (amongst others).

As kids, we’re told that when we grow up we can be what we want to be.

We can live the way we want to live.

We can eat whatever we want to eat.

We have freedom of speech and association.

But how much of that really exists when it comes down to it.

Our individuality is defined by the parameters of the societal norms.

The people who tend to define a new culture live outside those four walls.

My good friend Kevin once said something very true:

‘You can believe in something; veganism, the keto diet or whatever and you can live that life, try and influence others to follow suit but you shouldn’t adopt a cult following, it takes away everyone’s right to make their own choice.’

Although somewhat paraphrased from what he originally said, it follows a similar path.

The information available us to make choices and for us to make decisions makes no sense.

We need to code into good and bad and it needs to be situational.

The problem with individuality is the ‘individual’ part.

Individuality doesn’t fit in a society, or should I say, it doesn’t let it fit.

You can’t stand out for being called an outcast.

You can’t exist away from the norm without questioning your values.

The cost of individualism is much higher than being in the norm.

But we’re told that being normal is such a boring life.

So is it interesting because you live in constant internal adversity?

Or is it interesting because you’re not dull and non-conforming?

I struggle to see the upside to either.

For me, I can relate to the struggle of not fitting in.

But then I slowly realised that if you keep trying to fit in, the environment around you will change and you’ll be lost for identity and character.

Being yourself and letting the environment surround you is really the only option.

I’ve been in that situation too many times where the people around me change.

I’ve changed to adapt and now I’m left hopeless.

Now it’s about exhuming my own personality and seeing what sticks where.

Of course, cultural differences will dictate your likeliness to get on with this strategy but individualism struggles to help the big picture.

I played golf earlier today, at the crack of dawn, and I spoke to Ryan.

I knew Ryan from my time at Orpington Golf Centre, he’s living and working in The Netherlands doing greenkeeping. He has an interest in the environment and love to travel in Africa.

He said something very true.

‘The individual doesn’t care for the big picture because the big picture has no reason to accept the individual.’

Trawling through my recordings for my dissertation, there is the same sentiment.

So if we promote individualism, should we then add a caveat:

‘proceed with caution’

Because otherwise our expectations of fitting in are limited.

This topic arose from the realisation that because three of my QMGS committee have chosen the vegan lifestyle, it’s inappropriate to ignore their choice when planning an event with food.

Not that it’s a problem nor an inconvenience but it is a factor.

One that we’d considered for a Halal-only or Kosher-only eating person.

As we did with vegetarians.

As we do for non-alcohol drinking individuals.

Individualism has a time lag and a quite considerable one.

For those trying to be unique and live the life that we were pushed to live, it will take time but once you become self-aware and self-confident; the battle is a little more flat.

Instead of fighting yourself, you’re actually fighting society and breaking and reversing culture.

Compromise indivduality



Danial Naqvi

Joint PhD Candidate Business & Management at Manchester & Melbourne| MSc UCL Science, Technology and Society | BA (Hons) QMUL Human Geography |