In Western culture there is a message that we should strive to be like everyone else. That it is normal to fit in and being different is a situation to be avoided. This message is fed by advertising and media that glorifies the joys of having the same products and services. If you are different in any way either physically or socially they have a fix for that too. There are plenty of businesses that will help you fit in by masking your flaws or excentricities. There is safety in staying with the herd. Few want to be singled out for being unaware of social trends, fashion, or even thinking differently.
Although being mainstream is comfortable and safe, does it have a cost? Is there a sacrifice to be paid for running with the pack? I say YES in a big way. Statistics have shown that 95% of us stay in our comfort zone and achieve an average life. The other 5% get out of their comfort zone by being different and taking risks. These people achieve far more than most. They have wealth, fame, and adventures. They stop caring what others think of them and start caring about what they think of themselves. They refuse to accept their limitations. They accept themselves for who they are with all the flaws. They know that some things cannot be changed. Then, they change what they can control.
In fact I think most people are not even living for themselves. They are living the life that others wanted for them. The life their parents, friends, teachers, or the media said would be good for them. They are constantly exposing themselves to outside, often negative, influences that guide them to a place they did not choose. How many of us have taken the time to really figure out what we want? How many of us have then taken action to get it? Or, are we just like a ship without a rudder being pushed around the ocean by the influences of TV, social media, the news, and “friends” who mean well. How many of us have ever taken steps to control our influences and affect the sailing direction of our lives?
I contend that that the price of being normal is mediocrity. Being normal in Western culture means spending most of your time being exposed to the negative influences of TV news, radio, and social networks. It means that you are living in an environment that does not support success, free thinking, and positive ideas. Basically the card deck is stacked against you. The media figured out a long time ago that we could be manipulated easily. We could be easily distracted into buying stuff, and watching shocking shows, and people behaving badly on TV and the Internet. And this could be done in a way that we wouldn’t even notice how we had lost our individuality. That we had lost our ability to think freely and rise above the crowd. There is a myth that watching violence is not harmful..
If this is true, and I believe it is, then what can you do about it? First, recognize that distraction in your life is the enemy. It will rob you of your time, resources, and goals. Most media is just a distraction and a negative one too. For example, how do you feel after watching the TV news? Did it raise your spirit and give you hope for a better life? For me it never does and this goes for most media. Sometimes it makes me sick to my stomach. It may be exciting but being informed of all the problems in the world will not benefit your outlook on life.
What we need is a way to take control over our media environment. Take it back from the broadcast manipulation of fear, violence, greed, and sex. Start exposing ourselves to what is right in the world instead of what’s wrong with it. I decided to do this for myself a couple of years ago. I virtually stopped watching network TV, decided to only read the news headlines, and began to expose myself to positive messages and music on a regular basis. I built a library of inspiring speakers, comedy shows, and uplifting music that I could play in my car, on my phone, and my computer. In this serene environment I am focused on my goals, feeling good, building relationships, taking action and risks, and living my dreams. I am subconsciously programming my life for success.
I have built a streaming Internet radio station called Program Your Life Radio – PYL Radio. It allows me to control my influences and literally program myself for success and happiness. The station is free and anyone can listen to it. It’s not the only way to change your life but it works for me. I say, if you want to know what wrong with the world then listen to the network news. If you want to know what is right in the world then listen to PYL Radio.
So stop being normal because normal “sucks”. Do something today to take back control over your life and end the negative distractions that are robbing you of success and happiness. One small change can make a huge difference if your life.
By Joe Parker