From an early age, the “NORM” told us go to school, study hard, get good grades, go to a good university, graduate, get a job, make lots of money, get married, have kids, buy a nice car, live in a big house, buy fancy stuff, and finally retire, relax and enjoy your golden years!
Our lives have been conditioned with a set of proposed rules and guidelines. Social norms dictate a significant part of our public and private behaviors, most often without us even realizing it. Anything outside of this box of “NORM” will be labeled as wrong, careless, weird, offensive, and ultimately a failure.
We have been subconsciously programmed to reward and praise the Norm-Followers and punish the Norm-Breakers!
We spend years in search of ways to fit in or figure out ways on how we can survive the colossal of criticisms and social pressures by being different than the norm. Life becomes this constricted box that we need to fit ourselves into.
And why do we want to fit ourselves in this box? Because it is safe, it is familiar; it is what everyone else is doing; because we won’t be singled out as the outsider; because we will be accepted by our peers, parents, spouses, friends, family, and our community. Life would be safe and so much easier.
But! is safe and easy what we are looking for? Does having it easy unleashes our utmost potential? Can we live with purpose and be true to our values and principles by taking the safe and easy route?
Building a spider web is normal and a crucial part of the spider’s survival, but it’s a death trap to a fly!
Our lives are not one size fits all.
To live life fully and achieve what we desire, we NEED to occasionally break free from the “NORM. We need to have higher standards and dreams to live an empowered and extraordinary life.
I am not suggesting, by all means, to become rebellious and break away from all norms. What I am suggesting is to simply assess your life; where you are and where you want to go; see what fits your dreams, passion, values, morals, beliefs, and what feels right to your heart, then decide what norm works or doesn’t work for you. The goal is to free yourself from the NEED to follow them blindly.
Thoughtlessly following social norms can slowly strip us from our freedom.
- It stops us from being unique individuals
- It destroys our creativity
- It halts our thinking
- It prevents us from living a life of passion and purpose
- It keeps us in our comfort zone
- It promotes a linear mindset
- It blocks and unwelcome diversity
- It stops us from asking empowering questions that move our lives in the right path
How can we decide which norms are ok to keep and which ones are limiting us from living freely?
Ask yourself this question:
If I didn’t’ feel the need to live up to other’s expectations, would I still be doing this?
This one question is a great starting point to identify your reason for following the norm.
Bottom line, Be you, do what inspires you, and bring out the best in you!
Nothing exciting, creative, and inspiring comes out of living the norm. Life is infinitely more exciting and fulfilling if we embrace our uniqueness and celebrate our individuality. Following our heart’s passion, identifying what gives us joy, and drives us to continuously set higher values for ourselves is what makes life rewarding.
Dare to stand out! Be your authentic self; speak your mind when everyone else stays quiet from the fear of being judged.
Follow your dreams, even if it means breaking out of the box called “The NORM.”