Contrarians are naughty little buggers.
They reject or fight popular opinions. They take the red pill — made famous by the Matrix movies — and choose a willingness to learn and be uncomfortable.
In the 2020s, a modern contrarian looks completely different. Here’s what they do.
Eat food that doesn’t come in a box
I used to love frying my brain with fried foods.
After watching The Game Changers documentary I decided to stop eating all meat, seafood, and dairy products and become vegan. A year later, I went even further and switched to a whole food plant-based diet.
That means I avoid oil and processed foods too. And I keep sugar (poison) to a minimum. Never in my entire life have I felt better or had higher levels of energy. I feel more alive than I did at 21.
I cop a lot of flack for being vegan.
Eating healthy makes you a contrarian. People think you’re weird when you don’t trash your body to look cool in front of others.
They get angry if I ever mention that agriculture is one of the biggest issues causing the collapse of our natural environment. Or I hint at the obesity epidemic that didn’t exist before processed foods flooded our pantries.
So I just eat healthy food and keep my mouth shut.
Choose to have kids
I never thought having kids would be contrarian.
Growing up, all the oldies told us to have kids and buy houses with white picket fences like their generation did.
Now when I mention online that I have an unborn daughter arriving in November, I get all sorts of crazy messages.
The number of couples choosing to have kids is going down. If people like me don’t have kids then who knows what that will do to the population numbers in the future.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a kid. I’m a big kid deep down. I’d like to pass on any wisdom I may have collected over the years to another tiny human.
Call me selfish. I don’t care. Having a family is fine to me.
Care less about politics
I spend no time paying attention to politics.
The problem is that most world leaders are way past the normal retirement age. So they’re unable to relate to the average voter.
It doesn’t matter though.
Large institutions control the world, not the average person. My prediction is that the internet will eventually lead to the demise of institutions and the individual will become powerful again.
Until then, politics is a snoozer. It’s mostly talk and very little action.
In a two-party system it’s a rigged game that’s lame.
Votes get bought by companies that lobby to get what they want. That’s why no-brainer technologies like electric cars and solar panels take decades to become mainstream. They go against the interests of the businesses that buy votes.
The purpose of politics is to create infighting between groups within society. It’s designed to be a dog and pony show distraction from the real issues.
Obviously, vote if you have to. Just don’t expect it to do much until the political incentives that rig the game get removed (fingers crossed).
Switch off the news
The business model of the news is broken. The best way to get viewers is to sensationalize everyday topics. They help to elevate the infighting which becomes a form of entertainment.
It’s easy to get sucked in … to be spoon-fed half-truths about what really happened.
That’s why citizen journalism through popular newsletter platforms has become the new leader in documenting events that affect our lives.
Make money online
How we earn a living is changing.
People think I’m a contrarian because I chose to give up the drug of a peanut salary. Part of the reason I did is because of incentives. A salary capped my ability to add value and get paid in proportion to that value.
Freelancing, solopreneurship, and contracting are the ways of the future. We no longer need to be tied to an office or to report to a boss to earn an income. The internet has and will continue to create new models of work.
Blockchain will further shake up incentives.
Now you can have money streamed to you in real-time.
Through tokenomics you can have ownership in the projects you work on, rather than have greedy VCs and high-net-wealth individuals make most of the money before they dump it on the general public via an IPO.
The truth is if you’re connected to the internet while you work then you’re already making money online.
Autonomy is marvelous. It feels a little less like prison.
Don’t drink alcohol
Alcohol is poison. Read that again.
We’ve got brainwashed into thinking we have to drink alcohol to fit in and let our hair down. It’s just liquid.
You can fill your cup with whatever you want. I choose to fill mine with water and a slice of lemon.
Alcohol steals energy from the future to artificially elevate the present moment. Honestly, you’d get better results if you simply meditated instead.
I’m done numbing the pain of life with alcohol. I’d rather face the hard truths and do something about them than drown my liver in poison.
This is a wildly unpopular view — just like smoking was years ago.
Throw your phone in the lake
Phones did us a lot of good up to a point.
Now it’s become a joke. Walk down the street or to your local shopping center. There are phone zombies everywhere looking down at their screens. They bump into stuff, they’re so distracted.
My goal in life is to throw my phone in a lake. The notifications ruin my focus. I become a servant to other people’s requests. The firehose of emails and messages never stops.
How anyone successfully lives a good life with a phone is beyond me.
For now, I will continue to live in airplane mode as much as possible. You might want to think about doing the same.
Do a lot less Netflix and chill
In my last job my colleagues loved to talk about whatever was streaming.
“Have you seen Stranger Things?” they’d say.
I’d have no idea what they were talking about. Netflix is a form of programming. People know too much about what’s on Netflix — and not enough about what the meaning of their life is.
It’s contrarian to say, I know. My family is horrified by how little tv I watch. It’s like we can’t have a proper conversation, you know, because I’m so disconnected from virtual reality.
When my daughter is born I look forward to looking at her face, not a screen.
Be kind to other people even if you don’t agree with them
I’ve copped plenty of hate over the years.
People online tell me to stick my middle finger up at the critics or name and shame them. I’ve always resisted the urge.
There’s enough of a divide already. Ukraine showed us. Fighting hate with hate doesn’t work. But fighting hate with love and kindness does. I get told it’s too cheesy to talk like this.
People think I’ve gone to a yoga retreat or eaten magic mushrooms. Not quite. I’m not that smart. What I’ve realized is I’ve solved more problems with kindness than with anger and hate.
Kindness just makes sense.
The unfair truth I learned as a contrarian is that none of us are that different. We all come from the same race: human. We will all die one day. And we’re all fighting hard to stay alive. Be kind.