I have six brothers and sisters and, when I was younger, I hated hand me downs. Didn’t matter if they fit and were still in good condition, I just didn’t want them. I’m not sure why I didn’t, it’s not like I was a fashionista at 5 years old. But something was already ingrained in me that wearing someone else’s unwanted clothes wasn’t “agreeable” – and doesn’t everyone want to be agreeable?
I certainly don’t have the reputation of being a disagreeable person (who wants to be that?!), but I’ve recently read an article that says being a “disagreeable” can be a positive personality trait. It doesn’t mean a person who argues every point or someone who is a jerk to be around. It means that they are people “willing to take social risks – to do things others might disapprove of.”
The article went on to talk about Ingvar Kamprad, founder of the furniture chain Ikea (who happens to be one of the richest people in the world). He is such a frugal man that he ONLY wears hand me down clothes that he has purchased at flea markets.
I think I like this guy already.
When Kamprad is asked why he is so frugal he says it’s just the nature of where he comes from, but Malcolm Gladwell, in his 2013 book "David and Goliath," argues that Kamprad's unusual spending habits are closely linked to his personality trait of being a “disagreeable”. He goes on to explain:
"Society frowns on disagreeableness. As human beings, we are hardwired to seek the approval of those around us. Yet a radical and transformative thought goes nowhere without the willingness to challenge convention."
And that’s why, at 5 years old, I didn’t want used clothing. I was already seeking the approval of the kids around me. The more I think about, the more I realize that this “approval” and “agreeableness” stayed with me all through high school and into adulthood.
Sadly though, agreeable people rarely make an impression on society.
So, let’s be…disagreeable. Let’s challenge convention and make people wonder WHY we do the things we do.
Heck, my first thought when I was reading that article on Ingvar Kamprad was “Why would a billionaire need to wear used clothing?” So, I kept reading. The WHY of him doing something different made me interested in learning more about him, and now I’m telling all of you about it.
That’s how this works! We do something different from everyone else (we become the disagreeable’s) and then people look at us and think “Why?” They ask, we tell them, they start to agree with our disagreeableness, they change, people notice and ask them why, and on and on and on it goes.
Are you willing to take a social risk? Are you able to live a life that doesn’t seek the approval of others? Are you prepared to do something others might disapprove of? Are you brave enough to be a disagreeable?
My name is Misty Day (yeah, that really is my name) and I'm a normal every day person. I'm a twin, I work as an analyst, I take my daughter to Girl Scouts and swim team, I play bass guitar in a band, I love food and wine, I like new clothes, and I'm trying to be a better person.