Reflections

Making a Counter-Cultural decision

If you are an independent thinker, you may find yourself doing something that is against the grain.  As Mark Twain once said, "if you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to stop and reflect."  I have often found myself intrigued by new ideas, and new ways of being and behaving.  I intensely admire people who are bold in doing something that requires moral courage,  rigorous training, smart thinking, deep feeling, or bravery.  And while thinking and brainstorming in groups can be quite effective,  there is also the process of "groupthink," which is defined as 

"the practice of thinking or making decisions as a group in a way that discourages creativity or individual responsibility."

 

At the same time of being drawn to the unique, I have also found myself on occasion doing what "everyone else" seemed to be doing.  There are times when that has worked for me, and also times that it has not.   Being a somewhat philosophically minded person who spends an inordinate of time contemplating at times, I will find myself questioning ways of doing things quite often.  This being said, I have also learned that sometimes there are reasons why "most" people are doing things a certain way...those ways are time-tested, and work!

 

But, there have been some of my own unchallenged beliefs and limitations that I've allowed to get in my own way.  Here are a few examples:

 

I'm slow and not athletic, an active life it's just not my thing 

I have now  run two marathons, two half marathons, and done two long obstance course races (among many many other races)

What this involved was persistence and dedication!  and at times a good training schedule.  

 

I have a sweet tooth.  I could never give up sugar!

Did a 21 day sugar detox,  and I'm still here!  ha!  I read books about it, learned other people's stories, saw successes, and challenged myself.  Turns out it wasn't that hard.  What sometimes makes things harder, is saying "this is sooooo hard!"  

 

These are just a couple thoughts of my own I have challenged and proved wrong through out the years.  Many of my clients have their own inspirational stories of things they never thought they could do, or society told them they couldn't do, and then there they were DOING it.   It ranges from small challenges to major life changes.   It could be:  staying home with your children as a mom when everyone you know works, because it makes sense for you and your family.    It could be sharing aspects of your life more openly.  If you are a timid person, it could be challenging yourself and becoming more expansive.  If you are very outgoing, it could be challenging yourself to find some inner peace and quiet every morning.  There are things that not only we CAN do, but I believe MUST do, if we are to become more well-rounded, less fearful, people.  

 

Here are a just a couple things I have picked up from society that I have challenged:

 

Being in massive debt from student loans or a brand new car is fine and a necessary part of life,  I'll just pay them off slowly (normally at obnoxious interest rates!)

We made a few big sacrifices to pay off our debt early, and this is working to our advantage!

 

Be "nice."

This is good advice if you are naturally abrasive and bold and speak your mind.  You may need to tone it down a notch.  If you are more of a people-pleasing introvert by nature, maybe more like myself, being "nice" can lead to being a pushover,  and is really more about your own fear of speaking up and having an opinion of your own!  I prefer kind, which implies that you treat others with respect but that you know you are deserving of respect from others as well.  I think it's a braver "nice."  

 

So, I challenge you, discover for yourself, what is YOUR thing that you keep saying over and over to yourself that may not be true?  What are the things you hear over and over from others that just aren't YOUR truth for your life?  Here are some examples....

 

Yearly fancy vacations are a must

My worth is based on how many people like me

Debt is a must

Healthy food is too expensive!

__________ diet plan is the best

Working 60 hours a week at the expense of my health and family is necessary

I couldn't get that promotion, I'm not good/smart enough

I need to drink, I  have so much stress to deal with, there's no other way

I will feel happier when you own that (insert status symbol)

I need to be busy all the time

College is a necessity

_____________ is a bad career choice because ___________

Having children is a necessity

I need a bigger house

I couldn't possibly do _________ I have no time!

And when you make an independent choice that may be against the grain,  just expect that some will get it, and some will not.  And, some will be affected and then be thinking about their own choices, even if they do not tell you this!  So don't be afraid to live boldly, make choices, make mistakes, and try again, maybe with a new way,  if you have to!

 

 

Laura Novak