Often, we don’t realize that the ideas we believe in and the actions we perform are a product of our conditioning and systemic cultural brain washing. It’s also called the herd mentality where we carry this idea around that “Everyone is doing it, so it must be good for me too.”
There’s another notion that we are worried about. If you’re reluctant and resistant to norms, somehow, you will be labeled weird. All these keep us in a virtual prison of cultural conditioning, which sometimes we don’t know we exist in.
On the flip side of the “herd mentality”, we can use it to keep our wants and unreasonable desires under check. After all, freedom loses its novelty to risky behavior.
Knowledge advances not by repeating known things but by refuting false dogmas. ~ Karl Popper, Austrian philosopher
Check Your Assumptions:
This is the thing about assumptions. Assumptions or presumptions about people or situations never serve us well. We must avoid making them in the first place. Assumptions stop us from taking responsibility of our own circumstances. They allow us to hide behind our narratives and not the facts.
We usually adopt assumptions about things we have never tried before. And precisely for this reason, they stunt our growth and development. When we make assumptions, we put limits on our imagination and actions and continue staying in our comfort zones. Assumptions are also dangerous sometimes because they come from a place of avoiding risk and failure and they foster a negative mindset.
This assumption response also guides our fears. Most of our fears are not legitimate and are just adaptive primal responses that have evolved out of our survival instincts. We worry wounds to our ego when we fear rejection, and we worry failure when all they are simple setbacks to our momentum.
And in same way, even external fears are manufactured, manipulative, and exploitive. When we come under its influence, we risk becoming a threat to our selves, to others, and to the web of life that gives us life.
The Idea Of Free Will:
John Stuart Mill was really big on individual choice, for example, he says that a person’s “own mode of laying out his existence is best, not because it is best in itself; but because it is his own mode.”
In the same vein, he emphasizes the importance of freedom and self-actualization, not letting yourself be cowed into conformity by what he calls the “despotism of custom” or browbeaten into accepting orthodoxy by what he calls “the tyranny of the prevailing opinion.”
Works Cited: This section is an excerpt from: https://www.philosophytalk.org/blog/js-mill-and-good-life
The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. ~ Alvin Toffler
The Art Of Non-Conformity:
Free will is making free choices instead of tying its counter argument to past outcomes. Our free will leads to new choices, which in turn leads to new outcomes.
Of course, free will comes with acute moral responsibility. Read more HERE. https://iep.utm.edu/freewill/
Rethink Your Vocation:
In the book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Cal Newport asks us to challenge ourselves to adopt the craftsman mindset. He asks us to think of the value that we can produce, what is the one thing we can offer the world as our contribution? What are your rare and valuable skills that make up your unique career capital.
He asks us to understand the three disqualifying criteria for not staying with your current place of work and to chase something you’re passionate about.
1. Your job offers few opportunities to be different.
2. The job focuses on something useless or something that we think is harmful.
3. Your daily work involves working with people you hate.
Actions Of A Free Man:
We can train as much and as long as we want, but unless we test it in real life, we are not turning our learning into action. When our training and testing coincide, we’re living our truth.
Our truth now is our truth for now, not our past or our future. There’s something inherently breathtaking to watch someone who’s living their truth. In standing up for what they believe in even if it’s not the popular thing to do.
When our thoughts, words and our actions align, we bring about peace around us and begin to live in a “No conflict” zone.
Read more HERE.
Unlearning In Action:
By subtracting all the inherent beliefs we have been moving along with in our lives, we begin to initiate a more authentic version of ourselves. We understand what norms have been holding us back unnecessarily. We discard other people’s ideas of fun and success and start creating a path of our own. That will in turn help us determine our true purpose in life.
At the core of it, we must constantly question ourselves to be authentic in our thoughts and actions. We’ve all been an opportunity to be ourselves, to be different, then, why do we try so hard to fit in?
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About The Article Author:
I see myself as an advocate for bringing social, emotional and character development to families, schools and communities. I never want to let this idea out of my sight – Our children are not just GPAs. I’m a Writer and a Certified Master Coach in NLP and CBT. Until 2017, I was also a Big Data Scientist. In December of 2044, I hope to win the Nobel. Namasté.
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