We often find ourselves doing things without asking ourselves why. Often times the reason for doing things is predicated by people doing them before us. Although, evolution of humans has typically been found by going outside of norms. We live in a time where information is accessible in seconds, communication is available at all times, yet strangely much of our technology is not used.
My father is someone I am proud to say has been very successful is his business avenues, yet he still uses excel 98, still leaves voicemail and signs off on his text messages. I am not trying to make fun of him, I am just using an example as a microcosm of a larger issue. As fast as our technology is moving, everything else is moving at a snail’s pace. It took years to have rules against driving and cell phone use, we still have to vote in person despite our everyday banking being done on mobile devices. The point is that I believe our species is hurting itself by to strictly adhering to norms.
Many companies still have huge overhead, roles that are redundant, dress codes and many things that have continued for years. Their continuation is based largely on the following of norms. Companies have the capabilities to reduce human capital and physical capital while decreasing expenses and increasing margins. Despite this companies fail to do so. Humans also fail to do so as well. This is largely due to our inherent fear of the unknown.
It takes years to get rid of norms. As humans we are creatures of habit, and it will be our downfall in the coming years. We need to start taking advantage of the information and assess how we can advance ourselves to the best of our abilities.
One of the largest norm issues is health. With America’s obesity rate at 36%, there is a health epidemic happening before our eyes! It hurts my heart when I see people make poor health choices but then I think to myself how did I learn about nutrition? It certainly wasn’t in school. In school, I was taught calories in and calories out, and the necessity of the grains in the diet.
I did the necessary research to find opposing research to these theories and continue to grow my knowledge on how to best fuel and nourish my body. Why this isn’t the case with the rest of the human race is beyond me. It seems that most people either don’t care how they treat their body or assume they are immortal.
I like to think of the body as a beaker. What you put in it never completely goes away. So the weekend bender filled with liquor, fatty foods, and sugary drinks stays with you for a lot longer than you think it does. I encourage readers to assess their relationship with norms and their diet. If your friends only like to hangout over drinks or at the club they’re probably not going to help you accomplish your goals.
It is important to constantly access oneself and make use of information available. Recently, I have moved to a vegetarian dominant diet in an effort to eliminate toxins and food production elements from my body. Eating an organic vegetable rich diet allows me to control what I put in my body and limit unpredicted negative reactions to food.
I believe social norms have a large influence on people’s diets. How often are you forced to forgo diets temporarily because of food options at social gatherings? These situations are awkward and force you to make a decision of whether to neglect proper nutrition or to possibly offend your peers. I am not advocating for rebel behavior but just an overall more informed decisions.
Norms can also affect your financial future.It is common to associate material belongings with success and financial accomplishment. Often job advancement and the accumulation of wealth is coupled with pressures to buy expensive things and to look and act a certain way. In the North American culture, being flashing is highly-valued and very prominent in pop culture. Although this behavior is often favored, it doesn’t necessarily put an individual in an advantageous situation. Many of the most successful entrepreneurs of the last couple decades held little value in flashy behavior.
Try to assess everyday decisions with the most information possible and evaluate situations where there is a lack of a logical reason for doing so. Just because other people are doing something definitely does not mean that it is right or you should do the same just because. Sometimes, going in the opposite direction of others is your best choice. Often, you will hear stories of the most successful people that you look up to and admire and how they chose to not follow the pack or the norms of others. Choose to be different, choose to be better than average. If you choose to just follow the norm how can you expect to be extraordinary?