From a very early age we are taught to conform to the norms of society and try and get people to like us. This is so that we can form friendships and be accepted by our fellow town folk. We dress like them, we speak the same language and slang as them, and carry like them. We are taught and trained to be clones of our parents, neighbours, fellow students, and friends not because it’s who we are, but because its how we survive. We are taught to mimic our world rather then stand for what we want to be because it’s safe.
And this makes sense – from an evolutionary stand point of view. The fear of being singled out as “weird” or labeled as an outsider is prevalent in all of us (because, you know, hunter and gatherer survivalist era shit). Being the person that didn’t fit in would have resulted in being left to stave or be left alone in the cold, primed and ready to be eaten by wombats.
The reality of today though is that these evolutionary survival fears which are deep rooted in our underdeveloped brains are, simply put, outdated. The person who pushes against the stream is usually the one who changes the current – think Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, or Larry Page. As a society, we reward people who think different, who don’t just conform and consume but also invent, innovate and analysis from outside the box. We reward their success, but not their journey.
In a nut shell, we are taught not to attempt to make anything beyond the life we are born into – thanks for that one, evolution.
If you were born in a middle class family, chances are you will get a good education, a good job, and good partner, and stay middle class, perceiving this as the normal. But if you were born poor – or rich even – you will likewise remain in the same circumstances/status. This is because changing yourself would mean pushing against your family, your friends, your teachers, and your beliefs. It would mean changing everything you did from speaking, eating, standing and walking to become everything you know you should be. It would mean conforming to a new scary world, a new class of status, and a new ideology of the everything you thought you knew.
If you come from a low status upbringing, you actually have a big advantage. You can tell yourself you don’t want the life you were born into. If you had drugs, crime, and poverty in your circle – even if the people around you gave you nothing but love – then you have nothing to lose by trying to change. You can use your upbringing to convince yourself this is not the life you want and thanks to technology, you can look to the people you want to be like and start mimicking your life to your future – not your pass.
You will be shunned for not conforming. But fear not, you’ll make new friends and you’ll step up your life in the process. You’ll start speaking differently, you’ll carry yourself better and you’ll ultimately have pulled yourself out of your evolutionary destiny and stepped into a desired one.
I make it sound so easy, but it’s really not. For one, everyone you knew and who you grew up with will drift away from you. This is natural because you will find you have different interests and goals. While they’re partying, drinking, smoking and eating junk food, you’ll be meal prepping Kale Smoothies and reading business books from QBD. During the first push, you’ll be labeled all sorts of things – “Elitist” is a popular one I got – but once you eliminate the fear of standing out and walking along, you’ll quickly find others walking in the same direction. You start determining where you want to be not where you were put.
If you keep living the life you are living, you will keep living the life you are living.
If you want to change your life, start with how you’re living right now. Look at the people you want to be like and see how they carry themselves, the language they use when they talk and the way they dress when they are being social. Find people who inspire you, that dream like you do, and who achieve great things like you want to. Celebrate their successes and use it to drive yours. If you know you were destined for greatness, change your life to a great one. You have the resources right in front of you right now – you have you.