Essay by Blondie_137College, UndergraduateA+, December 2005

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A Japanese proverb states, "The nail that sticks out will be hammered down." Society tries to place rules on individuals as to what is acceptable and what is not. It is an individuals right to decide whether to conform to such a social decorum. From an early age one is taught to grasp the idea that being unique is wrong. At some point, a decision must be made within oneself whether to spend a life trying to fit the mold that society has provided, or live each day truthfully. One's strength as a person is proven through what is decided. E. E. Cummings once said, "To be nobody-but-yourself -- in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else -- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting." Though the battle may be hard, the benefits of being true greatly outweigh any negative aspects of choosing that path.

One of the most obvious and fulfilling advantages of being true to oneself is that people will be able to see the true individual that lurks behind the "mask". The heart and soul of the individual is now exposed. The people now have the opportunity to accept someone based on the person's true identity--including one's talents, imperfections, and preferences. As someone strives to show their true selves to society, they may even discover new traits within themselves. After one stops hiding their true selves, hidden talents will have the opportunity to come forth.

Second, society teaches people to conform by not letting them think for themselves. A person is simply told how to solve a problem or accomplish a task, never being taught why or how something works. A young child constantly asks "why?" He has yet to...