Remember when that cool new fad came out in middle school and you were all like “Mommmmm I NEED ABERCROMBIE clothes, everybody is wearing them!!!!” Then you had the dreaded reply of: “Oh you do? If everybody was jumping off a building, would you do that too?” Most middle school kids living through those dreaded years of trying to fit in and make friends would usually reply, “um, no?” But in their heads they were thinking- “If it means I had friends then heck yes I would!” Man am I glad those years are over.
We all learned at a young age that doing the opposite of what everyone else is doing can be hard, it can be lonely, and sometimes even get you into trouble. More often than not though, it is the better path to take. Think about it. Where do we learn our behavior from? Other people, right? We learn how to talk as babies by observing our parents and siblings and we learned the norms of school by seeing what other kids did. We base our dress on what everyone else looks like, heck we even base our own self perception off other people. We justify almost all our thoughts, behavior and actions off everyone else. Well, what if some of those “other people” are wrong? Then what?
The good thing is we all have a moral compass, deep down we know what is the right thing to do, but it is just not always the easiest.
I know I rant too much about our society’s eating habits, but that is just one example of this. Why not eat all that crap food, if everyone else is doing it, can’t be that bad, right? If it is all stores are filled with, how terrible could it really be? Wrong, this is why obesity is an epidemic. And even though it is an epidemic, I still get ridiculous “OMG are you on a diet or something?” looks from people when I order off the menu or am eating fruits and vegetables instead of potato chips- GASP!!! It is so sad that to the majority of our society, eating fruits and veggies means I am trying to starve myself to be skinny.
Sure, I can bash that friend, co-worker, manager etc. behind his/her back, it’s not that big of a deal. Everyone is talking about it. Gossip helps people bond right? If I am the one person who doesn’t, will they judge me?
Oh and my personal favorite…sure, I can put that on my credit card! Everybody else is doing it, buying big houses, expensive clothes, nice cars, you know…all the important things in life. I mean it IS the American way right? No joke, someone once said to me “living off credit cards is normal, everybody does it.” Right…and you can probably guess this same person blamed everybody else for the state the economy was in too. Thumbs up, dude. I will not even go into how many things are wrong with that kind of thinking. Again, I will just keep enduring the weird looks when people ask why I am being so stingy with my money. The best is when I get the assumption that I am a ‘poor broke twenty something’, barely getting by and then people feel bad for me. Living within your means apparently is not the American way.
Do you have ideas that could change your company, your family or your life? Do you have dreams that are so big and different, they scare the living daylights out of you?
I am not telling you to stop going to work or just run around without any clothes on, let’s not get crazy. Just take a look at the path you are on. Are you on this path because you decided to follow what somebody told you was right? Are you a sucker to what our society says is normal? Are you on a path that really doesn’t make you happy, but you just thought it was the way you were supposed to go? There is no shame, we all get caught up sometimes. I am 100% guilty. Going against the grain is really hard, but it is truly what changes the world around us. We have the power to stop bad habits, do big and different things and change our little corner of the universe for the better.
Take the road less traveled. Think about all those heroes you have read about in your history books or the entrepreneurs and business leaders of today. They certainly did not do what everyone else was doing, they took a different path. They endured all kinds of judgmental looks and laughter. But they dared to follow their moral compass and their intuition instead of what society told them was “right”. I dare you to do the same, to be different. Who knows, you might even start a revolution 😉