I am so grateful that I have lived and experienced lives of different societies where people exhibit completely different ways of perceiving, thinking and living their lives. Through it all, I came up with completely different and contraditing ideas from one place to the next. Those ideas pertain to how people perceive life, success, failures, cooperation, and ways towards achieving our ultimate success in life.
My final realization was, all these people were shaped in one way or the other to conform to their societies via a constant conditioning, perhaps since childhood. This makes some people measure their lives and define the limits of what they can do or achieve according to the reality around them, which isn’t necessarily the truth. Others look at the truth of their dreams and desires, which doesn’t not necessarily align with the current reality before their very eyes. The difference between the two is huge and when it comes to attaining goals in life, it spells big differences between prosperity and poverty. It also tells the difference between open minded and closed minded people, and in turn, it gives a whole new meaning to how life must unfold to each group in these two categories.
This article analyses the subject of social conditioning – the process through which we unknowingly acquire habits, patterns, and norms that may set limits and rules towards our capabilities and potentials we possess towards reaching our ultimate goals. In turn, that may, in one way or the other, deter us from achieving our precious dreams in life. The article highlights the causes, negative side of social conditioning and ways to look at the problems. In the end, the article highlights ways to avoid social conditioning and awaken your potential necessary to achieving your goals in life.
Social Conditioning == Brain Washing
After seeing how societies differ through living and sharing values from one society to another, I came to a realization that: people differ, and the like causes of these differences, however subtle, are the prevailing values deeply embedded in their respective societies. Indeed, societies play a major role in our lives, which can lead to empowering us to achieve the best or limit us to succumb to failures and endless poverty. In the end, what matters isn’t what the society believes, but what you choose to focus on as an individual.
As human beings, we possess innate potentials to thrive through life. These potentials and capabilities are indispensable to make us do all sorts of things, both good and bad. With the idea of social conditioning, you might feel powerless to embark and achieve your precious goals because of the falsehood that surround you.
Social conditioning is the way that a society brainwashes you and make you conform to the norms, rules and regulations, because that is how you become a part of a society and can well be suited to share and contribute fully to it. Though this may not be done intentionally, it may lead to both positive and negative effects.
Society Is Indispensable Towards Your Success
We all live in societies and we belong to our societies. In fact, to lead a happy life, we must belong and feel being a part of a bigger community – and that’s more human-like. Societies and relationships play a bigger role in shaping our life. We are all dependent on one another, no matterhow insignificant you may see yourself or others.
It’s a fact that we are destined for a very good and wonderful life, but a society can and does influence your choices every day. It is true that your level of success is not so much dependent on your society, background, or anything physical, but the society you belong to may at large play a role to impose limits to deter you from achieving your highest potentials.
I firmly believe in the idea that we become what we always surround ourselves with. That is to say, if you surround yourself with very ambitious and focused people, you’ll be induced to think the same – even if it’s by osmosis. A famous Swahili saying that goes, “If you stay closer to a rose, you’ll smell like one.”
Society Nurtures Your Thinking Patterns
Societies play a bigger role in how we perceive, think, and do things towards reaching our goals. However, that statement may spell success to one and disaster to another depending on what the society believes in.
As we need to belong to a society, we must acquire principles and norms pertaining to that particular society. That makes us best fit with others. To maintain harmonious relationships, we must conform to the rules abided by all people. That can be either family, tribe members, community groups, or colleagues. In turn, what we acquire and believe in dictate our ways of life by shaping our thinking.
There’s nothing wrong with that if those ways of life lead your life in a good direction and especially towards the life you dream of. The problem arises when you are led astray from your dreams. In this case, you need to do a lot more than finding yourself, you need to purge all the falsehood that has been embedded in you so that you can recreate your new path towards your desired life.
Societies Are Not The Same
Societies are never the same, and hence their rules, habits, beliefs, and ideologies differ. What might be true and believed in one society can be false and unacceptable in another. What can be essential and rule in one, can be unimportant in another. For that case, nothing is really fixed in the world, but it’s what people define important that define where their lives go.
In all cases, the same element reappears – that is people. People are the crucial element in a society. People accommodate changes to fit in to a particular society. That entails, people are key to bringing changes to their own societies. To say the least, figure out what is your society telling you? Are you conditioned to fear or face challenges? Are you empowered to be independent or dependent? Are collective values of people towards life and success open to discussion or only a few can decide on what others can?
In the end, you don’t need to change the society, that’s too much for one person. Start changing yourself towards these ideals. Do the best you think you can. Do what can lead to impacts to you and others in a long run. If you have positive impacts, they will be felt by others and they will embrace them, but changes start within you and nowhere else.
Negative sides of Social Conditioning
Social conditioning isn’t inherently a bad thing, but it depends on what you are conditioned to accept in your daily life. If the ideas are empowering then it’s a good thing, otherwise it’s detrimental. Certainly, there are so many ways that you are negatively impacted with the social conditioning, here is to name a few.
1. Subscribing To Fear
Does your society makes you feel fearful or fearless? Do you feel empowered or crushed by the values of your society?
Fear is bad, it limits your options. It limits your horizon on what you can do. It limits your capabilities and deprive you of your imagination. Everything you want to dwell upon brings fear. Every big goal you want to achieve instill sense of fear and that makes you back down. Is it really worth it? Can you afford to lose everything because of your fears?
Fear can be used as a tool by others to crash competition. Most people may try to intimitate others from engaging into life changing processes. They may say all the bad things that induce fear but none that empowers people when they face the challenges. That keeps people in constant check. But for those who are less attached to fear of rejections and social conformity, are less likely to fall prey for this trick.
Know that, our Inherent fears aren’t doing anything good to us. They are hurting us instead. What is feared the most must finally be faced, then there’s no need to worry about anything.
2. Attaching To Falsehood
Do you believe everything that is said to you in your society? Do you believe in all the TV and Radio ads? Are you raising your awareness that allows you to distinguish right from wrong?
If there is anything that let you subscribe to falsehood and let you give up on your goals towards success, then that’s unacceptable. If you are conditioned that you are powerless and can’t achieve any goal, refute that. If you are told you are too much of a dreamer and it won’t come to life, deny it. If they say you are too poor to be successful, prove them wrong.
If there’s any form of falsehood around you, make sure you dismiss it. Falsehood creates a rich soil for all negativities, that is why there are always pessimists in the societies. They subscribe to unproven falsehood, lack of the initiatives to prove them wrong make them spead these falsehood like wild fire. In turn, most people fall victims. Beware of such ideas, focus on what you want.
3. Acquiring addictions
Social conditioning is done via different channels. It can be orally imparted to you via casual talks. It can be via TV commercials. It can be via Radio ads. It can be via social media, internet and many others. Whichever the means, these ways have proven strong so far and people are falling victims to a lot of addictions.
You are always bombarded with rules and norms to conform with the modern societies – whether it’s local or global. You are told how to behave, what to buy, what to possess, how to value people, how to denigrate those who aren’t like you and so many more.
Likewise, you are also convinced to buy what you don’t need. You are told to eat what is not healthy or adds nothing to your life. That is the result of social conditioning. If you are more prudent, you’ll see that around you every single day.
Social conditioning is an attachment
The idea of social conditioning is to make you attach to ideas and norms pertaining to that particular society. With the idea of a world as a global village, people tend to acquire ideas from other societies and quickly translate them in their own ways of life – worse enough, most of these ideas are worthless and even harmful.
However, if you have a chance to physically live in different societies, you enrich your mind with different ways of life other people exhibit. This may help to break free from social conditioning, and make your mind more susceptible to accepting changes towards your better self.
The experience of belonging to different societies with different values make you shift your paradigm and become free to engage in anything that can bring about changes.
Effective Ways To Avoid Negative Social Conditioning
What is positive or negative is relative from one society to another, and from person to another. Depending on what you want to achieve, you can always choose what to subscribe and what to detach from. In order to cut through to the core of the subject, here are the most effective ways that will allow you detach with what you don’t want and, in turn, have more time to focus on what you want.
1. Give your life a purpose
Every life has a purpose. We are all destined for greatness but most people don’t bother to connect their pieces and find what really resonates with them. Now, giving your life a purpose is the beginning of the entering the realm of the truth. This is the stage when you’ll start to detach from the falsehood and attach to what is true to you. It’s the moment when life starts to have a much bigger meaning and makes more sense.
“Poverty needs no plan. It needs no one to aid it, because it is bold and ruthless. Riches are shy and timid. They have to be ‘attracted’.” – Napoleon Hill
This process helps you to:
- Be certain for your goals, which in turns helps you channel your focus on achieving what you focus on.
- Create plan to lead your life. The plan serves to direct you on daily basis on what is important. Without a plan, it is easy to succumb to distractions and lose track of what is important in life. Plan gives a way to persist because you can see how you advance towards your goals and how far you are from achieving them.
- Gain a higher level of awareness that is crucial to make you take major decision in life.
2. Practice detachment
Detachment is key. You must detach from what doesn’t serve you. You must detach from addiction. You must detach from all the negativities. You must purge all bad and addictive habits that can easily lead to a bad pattern.
When the world on the outside is too heavy and distracting, take some time, move inside and see what transpires there. It is not until you have a clear picture of what you want that you can adhere to your best principles. If you merely accept things without looking at what your core beliefs are then you might lead yourself to problems you never expected in the first place.
Taking breaks and looking in the inside is a good way to insulate from distracting noises we come across every day in our lives. It’s a necessary process to maintain sanity in our minds. It’s a crucial thing to see how we move towards our goals. It’s indispensable procedure to lead a life with a meaning.
Detachment is about being patient, taking time to yourself and studying situations from a far. You get to see how your inner self can engage with the outside world for your best. This is about caring for yourself, nurturing a habit that allows you to detach from the unnecessary distractions, be it physical or emotional.
3. Focus on what is Important
Is your mind a tool that improves or destroys your life? Do you use it efficiently or let it feed on anything that comes to you?
Everything you do or don’t do matters. Your life is a sum of your choices, both the one you choose to do and leave. Your success depends on what you choose to focus on. Your failures teach you on what you should change and give more attention in your life.
In all these cases, you are the only one who’s responsible for your life. Whether there’ll be success or failure in your life, you are the one who’s accountable to make it happen. Nobody else can do it for you.
Build the mindset that nothing worth having can be freely handed to you. You must find it. You must work for it. Train your mind to focus on what you want and stay alert to all the negativities around you.
4. Choose Your Company Well
People are part of social conditioning, I should say, the most crucial element in social conditioning. Ironically, it’s the ones around you that have the biggest impact of them all. That being said, choose to associate with people who know their own ways in life. They are people who have already discovered their paths in life. They have empowering ideas. They are free from attachments. These people will surely help you find your way. Avoid forming alliances with pessimists, they will steal every single dream you have. For pessimists, life is nothing but a physical form of a negative energy as they see negativities in everything.
You have now an idea of social conditioning, the ways in which you can be affected by what transpires in the society, however casual it might be. Now, after a presentation of the ideas, here is what you can gain if you have a better understanding of yourself and avoid social conditioning:
- Freeing your mind from the limiting habits
- Acquiring power to decide on what you want out of life and go for it
- Bridge between your dreams and reality worlds
- Mastering your fears and use them to your own advantages
- Detachment from falsehood
- Helping others find their own way like you did
- Gaining self-awareness that allows you purge and avoid negative social conditioning.
- Leading a meaningful and happier life that has much more to live for.
In my opinion, the truth is always there, staring at you. The truth may not always be the same as the reality, but it’s there. You have to change your view of how you look at it to recognize it. There are those who subscribe to falsehood because they are too rigid to change their views, but those who are likely to see things from a far, and detach themselves, can always have fun by seeing the truth before others. As yourself, what do I really want?
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