Do you refuse to conform? Do you often take an opposing position to what the majority believes? Then you might be contrarian thinking. So what makes someone a contrarian? Let’s find out.
What is contrarian thinking?
Contrarian thinking refers to a thought process that involves opposing conventional wisdom or having counterintuitive views. Someone with a contrarian personality goes against popular opinion and holds a contrary position in a discussion.
Not only they may oppose the opinion of the majority, they may even reject the opinions of others and tell others that their viewpoints are wrong.
Even though contrarian individuals may appear stubborn and resistant, they develop their own beliefs, philosophies, and rules. This can be a good thing from a social perspective as everyone thinking the same way can lead to making the same mistakes.
Although a person with contrarian thinking may be seen as a miscreant or deviant by sociologists, they are considered free thinkers by psychologists.
Contrarian thinking or contrarianism are seen both negatively and positively. While people with a contrarian mindset may be seen as stubborn, denialist, headstrong and difficult, they are also considered unorthodox, counterintuitive thinkers, and brave.
They have the inner strength to stand against the crowd and refuse to accept norms that most people accept without questioning.
Regardless of how the contrarian personality type is seen by others, these individuals tend to have drastically different views and opinions.
What is the psychology of a contrarian?
Contrarians tend to be rebellious and are not afraid to question the most sacred beliefs. They can scrutinize even the most basic rules and ideas and may even argue against their own beliefs just to gain a different perspective.
They believe that the majority of the population willingly accepts social rules, standards, and norms without understanding their importance and value. People with contrarian thinking question everything as it is intellectually stimulating and allows them to get out of their default mode of thinking.
Their active and smart minds are bustling with ideas that compel them to evaluate notions that others accept blindly. This helps them explore new ideas and tread new paths.
Someone with a contrarian attitude tends to be an obstinate individual. However, contrarian thinking is believed to be associated with free-thinking as such individuals go against the tide instead of simply believing what they are told or conforming to social norms blindly.
A contrarian thinker is always ready to discuss and debate. They are nonconformists who are wise & knowledgeable and love to deconstruct concepts. Unfortunately, they can be rather quarrelsome and argumentative, leading to complications in friendships and relationships.
Contrarian personality type
People with contrarian thinking are believed to have the ENTP personality type, one of the personalities in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The ENTP personality type, also known as the debaters, tends to be extroverted, intuitive, thinking, and perceiving and shows signs of contrarian thinking.
Individuals with such personalities prefer to analyze and evaluate ideas and love to play the devil’s advocate. Not only do they love to develop their own independent views and opinions, but they also analyze their own strongly-held opinions and beliefs just to have a differing view.
People with an ENTP personality and contrarian thinking can easily counter any concept, idea, or belief with logic and understanding. However, they can often be very straightforward and blunt, which most people may find offensive.
Although they may make informed arguments, they are typically seen as arrogant, insensitive, and rude. Their tendency to discuss ideas based on reasoning and logic, instead of feelings and personal perspective makes them seem different and separate from the majority.
But an MBT – ENTP is highly curious, open-minded, and focused on personal growth. In fact, they can be excellent friends, someone you can learn a lot from if you are willing to accept their blunt attitude.
Challenges with contrarian thinking
Many renowned philosophers, leaders, and inventors had a contrarian mindset, such as Napoleon, Plato, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Steve Jobs, etc.
When you have a contrarian personality, you are bound to face obstacles and challenges in your daily life, relationships, and especially in your career. In fact, it may even affect your social reputation due to your non-conformist attitude.