In any kind of society, it will always be difficult to be different from the majority. A lot of social pressure mechanisms is usually put in place, to make us feel bad if we choose not to conform to the cultural norms around us.
However, once we realize this, and start asking ourselves what is most important to us – theirs or our own vision for our lives’ trajectory – we may be able to look passed these external expectations and think for ourselves.
As a concrete example, I can tell you about the immense social pressure me and my wife feel these days, to have kids, as we are currently in the perfect stage, according to the convention, to start our own family. We have no desire to do this at the moment, and whenever we aren’t bothered by family members, who can’t shut up about our “soon to arrive fictional kids”, we see the tremendous freedom and carelessness it wins us to go against the current.
Most of my friends are having kids these days, and I am not saying that they are making bad choices. I am just saying, that I am happy for me and my wife, that we are not making the same choice right now.
It is not always beneficial to do the opposite of the mainstream. But sometimes it is, and it is worth thinking about when this might be, so you can experience the life equivalent of a blue ocean strategy.
Think about this:
Most people move to the city.
And this influences housing prices. For a lot of people, it would pay them well to consider moving to the countryside, as the cost of living is usually 5 times lower there. It is mind boggling to think about, how the poor population of every society is usually concentrated where housing prices are highest – in the inner cities.
Most people eat meat with every meal.
I am not advocating veganism, I just want to point out how almost everyone I know, can’t imagine eating a single meal without meat included. This makes meat very expensive compared to other good sources of protein. Try mixing it up!
Most people watch TV every day.
And this makes the general public’s knowledge very homogenous. Everyone knows about the latest football match, scandal or terrorist attack. Let them be the experts on these subjects, and you can then learn about something completely different.
This will make your personal knowledge very much specialized and unique, whereas every averagely smart person you meet, will have a lot to teach you, in case you are curious to know what’s in the news these days.
Most people accumulate stuff.
Therefore, they have to work very hard, day after day, in order to afford and be able to store all of their stuff. Once you jump off this bandwagon, you can immediately stop yourself in your tracks, and ask what it is you really would like to do in life?
Most people are incredibly busy with their career.
In this category, I personally feel incredible social pressure from my peers, as everyone is constantly comparing themselves to each other. This makes it very important for everybody to compete on salary and status, and nobody can ever relax and enjoy anything. Busyness becomes endemic, and actually enjoying life gets postponed until retirement (if that ever comes).
My life has become ten times more relaxed, ever since I quit this race.
In some cases, going against the current may hurt you, whereas it might pay off in others if you can muster the courage.
It is up to you to decide, what is true for you in all of life’s larger decisions.