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Why Be Normal?

When you think about it, it’s pretty funny, the things that we’ll do to be what our society considers normal. Just look at any band of teenagers in a shopping mall or outside a high school, and you’ll see the lengths to which we humans will go to fit in with the group’s definition of normal. 

As adults, we continue relying on those conformity skills to fit in with our chosen crowd. Almost every group has its normal behaviors clearly defined: we can all identify computer geeks, soccer moms, aging hippies, golfers, and many other groups simply based on their behavioral attributes. I’m sure you belong to a number of groups whose characteristics you’ve adopted almost unconsciously.

Fitting in with a group is a good thing. It gives us a sense of belonging, identity, and security, and it establishes group-specific expectations of how each individual will act and respond to others in the group. In this way, it reduces misunderstandings and the social gyrations otherwise necessary to establish who you are and how you will behave. So members of a networking group have a mutual understanding that they will provide business opportunities to each other – and those in the group who violate this defined normal behavior will find themselves outcast or ostracized.

But at the same time, the pressure to be normal can be distressingly, painfully limiting due to our natural desire to retain that group identity, security, and safety. It squelches personal expression and creativity and smothers the urge to accomplish the extraordinary.

When was the last time you pointed to someone and said, “Wow, that person is so normal – I’d like to be just like that!” Instead, consider the heroes you admire and respect, whether they be political, religious, athletic, or in some other walk of life. Nelson Mandela; Mother Theresa; Gandhi; Tiger Woods – to name a very few – are these people normal!?

We all have the ability and opportunity to act in ways that are not normal, ways that expand our horizons and enhance our lives and the lives of others. It’s usually fear that stops us: fear of stepping outside the defined normal conduct of our group, of being thought “weird” or – well, yes, abnormal. But it’s by doing the unusual and the extraordinary that we can surprise ourselves by being more of who we are instead of less.

I invite you, therefore, to do something wonderfully not normal. Take a small step, even a baby step, outside your comfortable boundaries and explore the possibilities. Then think about how it felt, and how you plan to keep extending yourself into the abnormality of excellence.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain, 19th Century US author

About The Author
(c) Grace L. Judson
Helping professionals who feel trapped and want options.
Stuck in a “success plateau” and having a hard time figuring out reasons to get out of bed in the morning? For more information or to access my free resources (including my free newsletter and Stress Management classes), be sure to visit my website at http://www.svahaconcepts.com.

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