Our world is beset with the copydog epidemic and saying this doesn’t even scratch the surface. The vast majority of people would rather sell their soul to be someone else rather than be themselves. This catastrophe is on auto-pilot making it become second-nature.
But don’t worry it’s seems to be a side effect of human progressive development ironically. What brings about the progress are people who decide not to continue to follow what other people mindlessly do but live to alter their reality for the better.
Once people get comfortable with new circumstances they conform and live a life without any original contribution to improve their environment until a new gamechanger was born.
After this process repeats over generations and generations you get a class of people who give up who they are because everyone around them is following rules created by people just like themselves.
Since when have animals, less intelligent that we are, given up who they are to be something they are not? Yet, humans do because progressive civilisation have given us more avenues to escape from ourselves through things like mindless consumerism and other things that bring bursts of short-term pleasure.
There are so many choices on the conformity menu, we just have to choose what personally tastes the best.
A study conducted by Solomon Asch (1951) showed 75% of participants conforming to a majority view in fear of being ridiculed. 32% of the participants conformed with the clearly incorrect majority.
We can clearly see conformity is a huge issue in our world, as if a tendency to conform is so inbuilt within us it’s too much of a struggle to get away from it. Indeed, it is a struggle.
However, what I find damning is that people have chosen to conform to the point where they have forgotten who they are and have skilfully blended in like a cheetah in the Sahara dessert.
I believe it takes skill to force yourself to reject your natural self and adopt another persona to fit in with the status quo. Guess where these talentless skills are learnt most effectively?
At a school, working for someone else, at home as a child and the media.
Here’s how conformity kicks in:
Since the conformity complex is attacks the most when our brains are sponges as kids, especially at school where most of us spend our childhood, let’s have a look at how people forget who they are in the education system (myself included).
School is a place where everyone is taught to meet a certain standard, even if it’s against our will, to be accepted by our peers, receive good grades or avoid punishment from our teachers and sometimes even further punishment from parents (to reinforce that your choices were indeed evil).
Having to wear a school uniform, even if you hated the colour of your sweater (fortunately I didn’t), and putting your hand up to carry out the normal human function, nobody has any right over, called micturition (medical term for taking a pee; I hope you’ve learnt something new today) are all ways which cause us to forget how to express ourselves authentically.
This then carries over into adult life where many continue to wear a set uniform, like everyone else, both literally and figuratively.
I still remember being told to sit down with my legs crossed (when I had the ability to perform this now greatly challenging manoeuvre), with my arms folded and my index finger sealing my mouth shut, all for… a sweet.
A SWEET at the end of the school day, every day. I’m sure you can work out what happened to me after spending my childhood doing that: a teacher’s pet; a pet put on a leash and rewarded for abnormal seating gymnastics, which didn’t improve my flexibility. I guess it was good practice for musical chairs at school discos which is the only time being stiff on the dancefloor pays off.
If you disobey the school’s commandments, more binding than Mosaic Law, like those who just have their methods doing things and class clowns (AKA people being themselves 99% of the time), you would find yourself in detention.
Here you could be picking off chewing gum from under tables (in my school at least), giving you less time to complete the homework which your teacher preached to be of utmost importance. You could even receive poor grades just because you wanted to do things your own way and still reach a reasonable conclusion in your written homework.
I don’t know about you but that is cruel punishment for innocently expressing yourself 99% of the time – 1% of the time you probably deserved punishment for being a doughnut.
Forgetting who you are is easy…
To be honest I wouldn’t blame anybody for choosing to conform, when at birth many of us, if not all, have no choice but to be manipulated into being good, mindless robots with no autonomy – this is significantly achieved while at school. When you see that this is the case with everyone else, you think it’s very natural to give up on yourself and just do what everybody else is doing to fit in.
… but is it worth it?
Is this what you really want? What is the point of being given uniqueness at birth only to throw it away in the name of not wanting to offend anyone, allowing yourself to forget the beauty that lies within you?
It isn’t a good trade off to make. You actually lose a lot more than you think you’ll gain.
Always following conventional wisdom isn’t always wise when it concerns your own life choices in what will give you fulfilment.
Why lose the special perception of who you are, given to you for free, to toil for something very costly and mediocre just to fit in?
Many people compare themselves to others and want to be just like them. Think celebrity worshippers or that work colleague who bends over backwards to get a promotion or get the attention to fill void created by not giving themselves enough attention.
All of this is a symptom of losing knowledge of who you are.
If you really know who you are you wouldn’t want to be anybody else; isn’t it a noble thing to go out there and act are fully aware of yourself and your personal reason without being afraid of challenges of others who wish for you to be normal – that is, be like everybody else?
Ask yourself do you really know yourself?
I’m sure you can see how unimpressive copydog looking mask is and actually want to always choose to remember who you really are.
You can certainly be part of 25% from the Solomon Asch study who didn’t conform.
How can you rid yourself of the unfortunate conformity outcome many of us are trapped by?
Well, there are two things you can do to ensure you never forget who you are.
Believe in yourself
Trust your gut. You know yourself, so don’t let somebody else tell you who you are. – Tatiana Maslany
Great results might not be immediate and this reason is why many people give up on their dreams in the pursuit of fast results with minimal effort – think those 6-minute ab exercise videos on YouTube.
After watching these videos, and diligently following the prescribed steps, people lose belief in themselves after subscribing to someone else’s standard of ‘work well done’. They rely on others for results instead of themselves.
But if you truly consider who you are and spend time to get to know yourself – through meditation, reading books about success people who share your personality type, exercise etc. All of which aid your personal development, you’ll find a reason to believe in yourself when you realise that you can partake in many activities which produce major long-lasting positive results.
For example, from the mentioned personal development activities you’ll develop a strong sense of self with meditation and reflection. Reading books will give you the wisdom to become your best self and exercise will make you physically strong and improve your health, helping you to develop your confidence, improve your physical appearance and move with little effort.
By believing in yourself, through your commitment to develop, you’ll help yourself to understand who you are and suss out what makes you burn with passion inside. Through this you begin to trust yourself to take on bigger risks as your fears fall away. Remember the more you know yourself, the less negatively influenced you are by fear.
When you’re fully aware of your strengths you’ll certainly want to do anything it takes to explore them. The more you explore them the more comfortable you’ll be with who you are and the more you’ll want to know yourself and what you’re capable of.
This will give you the precious platform to be the alpha of your own life.
Focus on finding and living out your passions
Whatever you want to do, do with full passion and work really hard towards it. Don’t look anywhere else. There will be a few distractions, but if you can be true to yourself, you will be successful for sure. – Virat Kohli
When you work on finding the work that will make you tick, you narrow down to what essentially gives you real meaning. A long-lasting kind of meaning where you can experience your real identity. What’s the point of feeling dissatisfied with the comfort you’re supposed to gain for picking the easy option of taking the path millions of others have taken?
Forge your own path and find out what you’re truly capable of. Never tell yourself you have no talents; this is huge lie I hear very often from many people.
Many tell themselves this to avoid committing to a worthwhile ambition just because of the potential for failure when the actual failure is in not trying at all.
If only one of your kind exists, you definitely have something nobody else has. Don’t get in line just because other people are – step out of line and take pride in the dreams you have and make them a reality.
When you die, others who think they know you, will concoct things about you… Better pick up a pen and write it yourself, for you know yourself best. – Sholom Aleichem
Every day ask yourself whether you know who are or whether you have forgotten yourself to put on the mask of conformity.
By knowing who you are you put yourself in position to do things which are perfectly in sync with the ideal person you keep playing over and over in your head.
Always know you have a duty to express yourself if you want to better your own life or the lives of others. You can only find happiness in being yourself and accepting who you are and doing your best with what you have. You can never find long-lasting happiness in being someone you’re not just to please others.
Again, study yourself because only you hold the manual to a life well lived, no-one else can offer this unique privilege inbuilt within all of us.
Don’t be afraid to jump in and see what you can offer to give great irreplaceable value to the world.
Have you forgotten who you are in order to fit in with everybody else? Comment below.
If this post resonates with you why don’t you share it. Maybe the outlook of this message will inspire someone else to start living the life they were born to live.
Image credit: Grace – Mirror / Philip Dean / Flickr