2021: The Year of Conformity
Happy New Year!
To me, the turn of the year doesn’t carry much weight anymore. People are convinced by social media and the people around them that they need to put massive amounts of pressure on themselves. Drastic changes must be made because the calendar said so. It’s a good recipe for failure and stress and anxiety. If you are a goal oriented person you should have your goals sussed out long before a specific day of the year. If you are already on the road you don’t need to remark it every 365 days.
It is interesting though, how many of us fall prey to behaviours like this. We behave and think in certain ways because we believe we have to. Because everyone else is doing something, many of us feel that we have to do the same things. Well, I’m here to tell you that this is a load of bollix. In fact, if you are to be any sort of unique version of yourself your instinct should be not to do what everyone else is doing.
These behaviours are the types that become trends online. End of year summaries, new year resolutions, going to places to take pictures rather than be in the moment, posting negative antigen tests on stories – I could go on. There is nothing inherently wrong with any of it, but is clear that there is very little thought being put into anything. For the most part, these behaviours happen because we see other people doing similar things, and we long to be part of the pack. The reason I see an issue with this is that it suggests there is no thinking being done. We aren’t putting thought into why we are behaving the way we are. We are being passive, and following the crowd – and it is this that can become a problem.
Conformity can be bad for our brains because it means we are not thinking for ourselves. We’re running on autopilot and allowing the crowd to decide things for us. There is a quick trick to see whether you are a conformist or not:
Ask yourself whether you have any opinions which you would be reluctant to express in front of a group of your peers.
If the answer is No, then you may want to think on this. It would be a marvellous coincidence if everything you believe is something you are supposed to believe. So the odds are you are just thinking what you’ve been told to think.
Alternatively, you may have independently arrived at all of the exact same answers which are now considered acceptable by the masses. That seems unlikely. It’s far more likely that instead of thinking things through for yourself, you’ve copied and pasted the most popular answers because at the end of the day, we all just want to fit in.
Over the past few years I’ve noticed a heightened atmosphere of conformity. People get visceral about strangers who do not share their same beliefs. We’re slowly turning into a society of mandatory conformity. The ability to think for oneself is becoming rare. I think it’s important to consider this.
Resolutions are destined to fail. So in 2022 let’s set an intention instead. Let us intend to think for ourselves. Let us intend to show people with different opinions respect and understanding. Let’s intend to not be so certain that we are right in every situation.
Because the chances are that we’re wrong.