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  • Writer's pictureSarah Egan

Dance To The Beat Of Your Own Drum

There is a profound freedom in following your own path – what resonates as true for you.  - Universe Konadu.

Why do some of us feel obliged to follow society?  

Realistically, Everyone is influenced by society. We can’t help it. We like to believe that we are free and autonomous individuals, but the truth is parents, teachers, bosses, politicians, and religious figures play a huge role in the decisions we make and how we choose to live our lives.

At an early age, we need guidance before we can learn how to live in the world on our own. Unfortunately, during this time we can get a lot of ideas stuck in our head that aren’t necessarily helpful or true.

It’s important to question what we learn from society and what society expects from us. Parents, teachers, bosses, politicians, and religious figures may have our best intentions at heart, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they know what is good for each one of us individually.

We need to learn how to say no. Say no to those things that are not making us feel alive, that are pushing us back and not adding any value to our lives. We the people have our own power, and that power is much more when we are not following others. 

“You HAVE to go to University.”

For some jobs you need to go to University and get a degree, but a lot of jobs don’t actually require a degree at all. In fact, a lot of jobs that people get these days are based on who you know or past job experience. Employers care more about the skills you have and if you can get the job done rather than a degree or a Master´s in something that isn´t even relevant to the job you´re passionate about .

University can be a great and valuable experience, especially if you are so sure about what you want to do and what career calls you, but some of us just don´t find out what we really want to dedicate or lives to straight away, just like I didn´t untill later years. 

Some of the most productive members of our society – like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Steve Jobs – were all University dropouts.

University may or may not be for you. Sometimes it’s better to just dive into the workforce and start getting real world experience, rather than spend another 4 years locked in a classroom, only to be left with a degree that is pointless and tens of thousands of euros of debt and no work experience.

“You HAVE to get married.”

Another expectation and societal pressure we can feel is that we have to get married. This is seen as the normal and typical lifestyle, and individuals who choose not to get married are seen by some as weird, or as if something is wrong with them.

We know today that almost 50% of marriages end in divorce. People feel pressured to settle down with a partner (especially within a certain age range), and this leads people to make premature decisions that they later regret.

Marriage isn’t necessary a lifestyle that fits everyone’s personality. It’s important that we don’t turn it into one of those things that we “need” to do to make others happy.

“You HAVE to have children.”

Similar to marriage, it is expected that we one day settle down and start a family. Many people see procreation as one of the sole purposes of life, but it isn’t necessarily something that everyone has a desire for.

Much of adult life is centered around raising kids, so it’s hard not to feel the pressure to conform to this lifestyle. Sometimes it’s difficult to imagine how someone would even live their life without being married or having kids, but there are other alternatives available – if we so choose.

If you want to have kids, then have them. If you don’t, then don’t. But just be sure you are making these important decisions for yourself and not just following what everyone else is doing.

“You HAVE to have to settle for any job that pays well.”

A lot of people think that they choose a career out of University and then they are stuck with that job for the rest of their lives. This doesn’t have to be the case.

In our changing economic world, it’s actually better to be open to multiple types of jobs, rather than just limit ourselves to what we’ve always known.

The truth is people can successfully change their career if they are adaptable and willing to learn new skills. So if we aren’t happy with the direction of our professional lives, it’s possible to try a different path, with small steps in the direction you wish to go.

“You HAVE to own your own house and have the best of the best to be happy.”

Our society can be very materialistic. Many people have the impression that if they want to be happy they must own a lot of expensive things like big screen TVs, a nice house, a top-of-the-range smartphone, or a new car.

However, recent research in psychology is clear that money cannot buy happiness. Individuals who are wealthy are just as likely to suffer from depression and anxiety as anyone else.

As it turns out, there are other values in the world than just material wealth, like self-esteem and relationships. Therefore people who only focus on their possessions are going to have a hard time finding authentic happiness, despite what society may have taught them.

“You HAVE follow some religion to be a good person.”

One belief among a lot of people in our society is that you must be religious to be a good person. In other words, if you don’t go to have faith in some sort of religion – then you must have no values or morals in life.

While it’s true that a lot of people learn good behavior through religion, it’s not necessary to be a good person.

Many secular humanists hold the same values as religious people: kindness, compassion, and altruism. They just don’t feel the need to follow an organized religion or believe in God to practice these values.

Find yourself – follow your own heart and mind.

The point of this whole article is that we need to find ourselves. Follow your own heart and mind, don’t conform to anything just because that’s what society expects from you.

Do your own unique thing.

Do it unapologetically.

Don´t be discouraged by criticism.

Pay no mind to failure, it´s far more valuable than success.

Take ownership.

Take chances.

Have fun.

Never stop doing your thing.

-Your Life Drive.

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