I once posted a question on Facebook: how old is too old for a guy to wear his hat backwards? And a dear friend of mine reminded me to wear your hat however you like and stop worrying about what other people think.
It is a simple reality that often times we get caught up in the herd mentality and rely on other’s opinions to shape and mold us. From a young age we are taught to run with the pack and avoid standing out or being different; lest other kids make fun. It takes courage to break away and stop living your life based on other’s expectations! If you pay attention to advertising you will notice the purpose is to convince you that what you have, who you are, how you look is not good enough. As if your identity is connected with your possessions or lack thereof.
If you want cool friends drink our beer. If you want to feel pretty buy our makeup. Want to be cool? Buy our car. Advertisers need to convince you that your life is not complete, yet, but once you buy their product(s) you will be complete. And they use the power of conformity to convince us: everyone else has bought it and you should too!
Conformity is strong in human behavior…read what Psychology.about .com says:
Researchers have found that people conform for a number of different reasons. In many cases, looking to the rest of the group for clues for how we should behave can actually be helpful. Other people might have greater knowledge or experience than we do, so following their lead can actually be instructive. In other cases, we conform to the expectations of the group in order to avoid looking foolish. This tendency can become particularly strong in situations where we aren’t quite sure how to act or where the expectations are ambiguous.
Conforming to our peer group has huge benefits as we learn how to act, how not to act and how to avoid group ridicule. After all, who wants to be ridiculed? The problem in our society arises when the individual becomes so conditioned to go along with the group that the individual self and ability to make one’s own decisions becomes lost. Commercials and friend’s behavior might convince you to use your credit card to buy things you do not need. The perception that “everyone has credit card debt so my debt is normal” is a downside to conformity. “Very few of my friends are happy with their jobs, so it is normal to work a job that I hate. They call it work for a reason, right?” “Chasing dreams is not practical. At some point you just have to grow up.”
It is not easy to break away from society’s expectations. From a very young age we learn that we need to make good grades in school to get into a good college. A college education will get you a good paying job. We are expected to get married and start a family, then buy a house. Be sure to take care of your 401k because you must prepare for retirement! Before you realize, society has you so focused on tomorrow that you forget about today. One day you look up and your toddler is 37 years old and years of your life have vanished! “I wish I had done_________.”
At the end of life many people regret the things not attempted more than appreciate things accomplished.
Stop living your life based on what others will think about you. It is time for you to start wearing your hat the way you want! Who cares what your friends might say? What are your dreams? Ambitions? Are you working a job you hate, meanwhile ignoring a dream occupation? Why????? Are you aware that elephants in captivity are staked down with a small piece of rope and a small stake? Any slight movement of their massive leg and they would be free. Yet, they allow themselves to remain a captive. Your mind is that rope and stake; Transform your thinking, transform your life!
And remember to share this with your friends and family. There are so many people in this world that need to hear this message. It is time for us all to live our lives for ourselves and not for what we think others expect of us.