Do you ever feel pressured to conform to everyone else’s standards? Do you ever feel like breaking free from the bonds and restrictions that tie you down? Or is it just easier for you to be like everyone else? When was the last time you did something that made you stand out from the crowd? I know. It isn’t always easy.

The fact is that we’re all expected to be just like the majority.

Being like everyone else makes it easier for us to blend in with the crowd and we’re more likely to be socially accepted by the people around us. Apparently, that’s good for our career prospects. Good for our relationships. Good for maintaining the status quo. But is it really good for us as individuals? Perhaps not.

Remarkable things happen when we dare to claim our strengths, own our dreams, and do what we’re meant to do. – Liz Strauss

There’s a great deal of social conditioning from early childhood onwards that rewards us for behaving according to precisely-set patterns of personal conduct. These patterns become the framework for our future behaviour and equip us to function more or less successfully within our local social environment. However, this constant pressure to conform isn’t always comfortable. There are many times when it feels restrictive, even oppressive, and that’s when we might become aware that our social conditioning might in fact be surprisingly restrictive and limiting.

Perhaps at this point we should ask ourselves why any of this is relevant. Fortunately, the answer’s very simple. The fact is that if we want to change our lives for the better and experience significant improvements in our circumstances – something’s got to change.

And when we behave, act, think and feel like everyone else, there’s a very high probability that our lives will follow the same patterns as everyone else’s. When you pause to think about that simple statement, the conclusion might come as an unexpected surprise. It suggests that your life is going to unfold according to the same pattern as the people around you. Unless, of course, something changes.

Strategy is about making choices, trade-offs; it’s about deliberately choosing to be different. – Michael Porter

Breaking free from these old, deeply-embedded, conditioned behaviours, can feel like waking up from a coma. It can also be very uncomfortable. That’s only to be expected. Change is rarely easy or pleasant. But it is essential – if you want your life to be different.

Part of the discomfort is linked to the feeling that you might’ve been playing a role for most of your life. This realisation can produce feelings of frustration and regret, as if you’ve wasted a valuable and irreplaceable part of your life pretending to be someone you are not. But it’s very important to banish all feelings of regret. Don’t waste a single second dwelling on the past. Put all of your energy and your focus on the future. Focus on the new you. It’s time to celebrate the discovery of being different. It’s time to celebrate the choices you can make about who you are and where your life is going to go from this point onwards.

The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before. – Albert Einstein

Expressing your individuality is not intended to cause discomfort or distress to anyone else. The underlying principle is to free yourself from the constraints of the old roles you’ve been

playing and shift your perspective away from the familiar and into new territory. This is where innovation and creativity find fertile ground to flourish. Expressing your individuality encourages you to challenge the way things are done. A different perspective can provide breakthroughs in efficiency, fresh design concepts, new product developments and a host of exciting changes that can pave the way to success and personal fulfillment.

Are those the kind of changes you’d love to experience in your life? If you feel a tingle of excitement at the prospect of setting yourself free and creating a new direction for yourself, this is the moment you’ve been waiting for. The secret is to step outside of the comfort of the roles you’ve been playing throughout your life. Up until now. It’s time to experience the possibility of a new life, a fresh perspective and a new you. That means you will open the possibility to become the kind of person who can achieve whatever your heart truly desires. But it also means that you have to dare to be different. Different from your old self. Different, perhaps, from the people around you.

I think being different, going against the grain of society is the greatest thing in the world. – Elijah Wood

Any changes you introduce into your behaviour, your attitude, your appearance or your perspective will usually generate some measure of resistance. You might encounter some opposition, for example, because the world would prefer you to remain the same. You might encounter disapproval. It’s society’s way of encouraging conformity. The real question here is to ask yourself whether the roles you’ve been playing up until now have delivered the results you were expecting. If the answer’s ‘No’, then something’s got to change. And, rather than changing your environment, it’s infinitely more effective to make the changes within yourself. Dare to be different. Be prepared to shine. Make a simple decision right now that it’s perfectly fine for you to stand out from the crowd. Let your talents and your determination distinguish you from the people around you. Learn to accept yourself. Learn to appreciate that being different is something to celebrate. We don’t all have to be the same. It’s the differences that make life so fascinating.

To be nobody but yourself in a world doing its best to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle any human can ever fight and never stop fighting. – E. E. Cummings

Are you ready right now for a completely fresh approach to life’s great adventure? Get in touch with us today for a free session to discover how the growing global movement for personal growth, success, change and empowerment can enhance your life!

Greg Parry created The Wellness Foundation and the Cognitive Empowerment Programs specifically to help people master their stress, overcome their limitations and explore the power of their true potential.

If you enjoy these blogs, you can imagine how much fun it is to have Greg in the room as an inspirational and highly perceptive speaker. If you’d like to invite Greg to talk to your company or organisation or event, feel free to get in touch.

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