self-conformity

To stand on a mountain top overlooking the world you have to carry your weight climbing.

From my window seat on a flight to the UK, 2015

It’s easier to be carried, to just show up and follow guidelines set down for you. It’s easier to work a 9-5 with a steady salary and no ambiguities, than to go at it alone as self-employed. It’s easier to choose a career path that’d give you financial security, than to pursue your passions for which there is no security. It’s easier to stick with your current circle of friends because you grew up with them or got to know them through school, than it is to branch off and befriend people selectively, risking long interludes of loneliness. It’s easier to marry the first good person you meet, than it is to risk valuable years holding off marriage until you meet the one (for whom there is no guarantee).

Trying to recreate your dreams and follow your intuition fetches a very high price: that you let go of conventional wisdom and the support of the majority. Your dreams, especially in the beginning stages, are unique to you and therefore alien to most people. You can’t be validated for something that the majority don’t even recognize. Going your own path involves many a dark night of the soul, crippling doubt and hopelessness. However, these initial difficulties, if you persevere through them, prepare you for the journey of your life. It’s not easy to birth something unique and new. It’s not easy to introduce something to society that will ruffle some feathers. It’s not easy to challenge the status quo. So before you achieve your goals, you have to evolve into someone strong enough to be able to carry those goals. This is the reason why self-actualization remains a mysterious dream for most. Between pursuing what is guaranteed and what’s nominally recognized, and betting your all on a void outside your comfort zone, well. Establishments are based on convincing people to abdicate their self-agency by offering to “take care” of their needs, in exchange of their obedience. Any power structure depends on siphoning individuality off the masses. It’s presented as this shameful path taken by ne’er-do-wellers and because belonging is such a crucial human need, this is more than enough of a deterrent for people to stave off whatever inner desires pulls them towards a similar path.

What kills dreams, what clouds inspiration, what makes ideas seem outlandish isn’t the trends and norms. It’s you. Your doubts drain your self-belief. Your cynicism poisons the well of hope. When you pay heed to others projection of negativity and insecurity on you, you let yourself know that others bs is more believable than your dreams. Your inability to protect your hope and dreams is like a bird mother building the babies nest too close to the ground where they can be reached by rowdy kids or predators. You have to put your back into it! You get back what you’ve invested. If you do things half-assedly don’t be disappointed when the outcome reflects your efforts.

You have to remove the armors you built to protect yourself disappointment and ‘I told you so’s . You have to be raw and vulnerable with yourself. You have to know and believe that you’re worth the risk, you’re worth walking away from everything that stifles you, you’re worth the most outrageous dreams. You can’t both nurture yourself and protect your fears.

Like I mentioned in the beginning, going at it alone means a whole lot of moving bits and responsibility. But if you can come to terms with the tedious work and taking full responsibility of your life, this also means that there is no cap to how far you can go with your ambition. Since no one has your back, no one can hold you back. So go on, scale the mountains while people are content tumbling down hills.

Respond to self-conformity

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