Conforming is normal. It’s what we’re meant to do. It’s certainly what the government wants us to do. If we can conform we’re predictable, we’re manageable. Large scale coordination and organization is more simplified. It makes life easy.
But is life meant to be easy? Do you even want life to be easy? Sure, in some ways, easy is a great attribute – there’s no point in making something harder than it needs to be. But easy often translates to boring, to mundane. Easy often lacks challenge and purpose.
The Culture Of Conformity
Over time we’ve developed a culture of conformity. Most of us have been raised amongst it. It’s become normal for us to want to conform and to seek comfort in doing so. Our culture has developed to encompass this.
Culture is a good thing. It defines our societal way of life. But, inside our western civilisation, we’ve ingrained an associated requirement of over conformity. It’s become abnormal not to hold down a job that involves a dreaded commute, a life sat in a cubicle pounding away on a keyboard, serving a master that doesn’t have our best interests at heart and finishing a week at work tired and unfulfilled. Is this really how you want to spend your life?
Humans weren’t designed for this. We weren’t destined for unfulfilling lives. We were made to evolve, to use our brains, to create, to disrupt, to defy convention and to take a leap.
We’re designed to evolve. Conforming is the antithesis of evolution. If you’re happy sat around with a traditional, uneventful life then by all means conform. If you want to really do something, to challenge, avenge, inspire, achieve, defy impossible then conformity needs to be imprisoned in the fire of hell.
Of course, in our modern world that conventionally rewards and encourages conformity, there are times where you will need to lose the conformity battle to win the comformity war. To interact and live in a modern civilised society we all need to conform to some sort of rules. It’s not necessarily these that I talk about defying – I’m not trying to incite an anarchic uprising. It’s more the culture that we inflict upon ourselves. The culture that, over time, we’ve engrained and adopted. By conforming without question to the societal norms that our lifestyles are predicated upon, we are becoming our own worst enemies – lambs to the slaughter, lemmings quite happy to walk off the edge of a cliff.
If we didn’t evolve we’d still be cavemen, the industrial revolution would never have happened, horseback would be our primary mode of transport, slavery would still exist and women wouldn’t have a vote. Evolution is hardwired in our DNA yet we choose to ignore it for an easy life of conformity.
The current stability and security that conforming to an unhappy vocational life is soon to be upended. Evolution will be forced on many of us. The security of that low paid and overworked job that you despise but cling to is disappearing. Jobs are going, zero hours contracts are on the rise, more and more work is being outsourced. The corporate world continues to be downsized.
If you’re one of those people sat in a job that could be done by someone else, consider your own evolution now. What do you want to do? You certainly have a skill – that’s why someone is paying you right now. Start evolving and understand how you can use it as a freelancer or within your own business. Be the person that your company outsources too, not the one that they fire.
Choose To Evolve
Live a life that you choose to define. Do you want to grow? Do you want to evolve? Moving forward, dominating and gaining momentum. Evolution doesn’t stop. You can choose to be one of those that define its journey or one that is eventually swept up on someone else’s coat tail.
Next time your doing something that you always do, next time you’re conforming because that’s what, over time, you’ve learned to do, ask yourself if it’s what you really want. Perhaps conforming is for you. Perhaps you want to leave the evolution to someone else, to let them pursue life’s challenges, take risks, make the impossible possible. But make that choice consciously so that, in years to come when you’re sat in your rocking chair telling your grandchildren stories, you’re telling them stories that you’re proud of, not of opportunities that you failed to explore.
Main photo by Scott Barron.