Do Your Own Thing (1998)
Going through old stuff as I often do around year-end, I unearthed something I wrote 23 years ago. It tends to pop up every few years seemingly by chance. Baffling to believe that this came through the 17-year old version of me, although admittedly I read lots of self-development books at the time…
Do you recall your most recent excuse for doing something absolutely absurd? You probably told your mother that everyone else did it and as expected, she replied with a well-rehearsed, “If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you?” As unbelievable as it may seem she has a valid point. Following the crowd can be hazardous and extremely restricting. If you are not convinced, please proceed.
If Einstein took the time to concentrate on his appearance as the norms of society requires, would the essential equation of E=MC2 be in existence? If the Wright brothers had unimaginatively followed the earthly majority who doubted the possibility of heavenly travel, would we ever have been able to experience the pleasure and freedom of aviation? If Madonna wore her lingerie as foundation garments (as originally intended), would we even care that she existed? I think not!
Originality and the presentation of fresh ideas takes divine courage but once mastered, bears unlimited fruits of respect and praise. We tend to journey on commonly travelled roads since we are presented with a false sense of security. If only more of us were aware that being different can be an adventure. To err is human but the experience we gain is unequalled by merely taking the word of others.
At birth, we are all dressed the same, fed the same and treated the same. As infants we are already stereotyped into a specific behaviour pattern. At school this continues. We are regimented into uniformed armies of little people and once we leave we enter a new type of conformity. In T.S. Elliot’s words, we become nothing more than “short, square fingers” who through hard work contribute to the state’s economy. We suffer the loss of our individuality and humanity.
If you persist in allowing the clever persuasions of the sophists of modern society to lead you, your true identity will remain jaded. Your true potential will never be realised. Who you think you are, will not be who you really are and in old age you will be bitter.
Life is meant to be a gamble – controlled by fate and not merely a remnant of conventional thinking. Why not discard this? The time has come to break free from the mould of conformity – stretch your lethargic wings and bravely view the world from an original angle.
No one can provide for your happiness and security, nor can they be given to you. People can contribute, stimulate, encourage, increase your happiness and security...but you are their ultimate reality. You were born the king of your inner world. You can fulfill your needs by understanding that you are in control of your future.
If you ever wondered what your purpose in life is, remember, there will always be one thing at which only you can excel and which only you genuinely know how to do. That is...being you. No one can be better at being you than you.
You have a unique contribution to make and if you conform to that which the faceless crowd dictates, the world will truly suffer a great loss.