Photo by Artem Nadyozhin.

Some of us live with the fear of failure and that causes us to not go for it. For others, it may be fear of rejection or worrying about what others may think of us. Just think for a minute of all the things you would have done, places you would have gone if you hadn’t let fear, anxiety or worst of all – society take over.  There are 7 billion people on earth and every single one of us has different tastes and preferences. Some dream of marriage and children, some dream of career heights, some dream of changing the world. Some dream of making a mark in history books.

Social norms are the unwritten rules of beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that are considered acceptable in a particular social group or culture. Norms provide us with an expected idea of how to behave, and function to provide order and predictability in society. Norms provide order in society. It is difficult to see how human society could operate without social norms. Human beings need norms to guide and direct their behavior, to provide order and predictability in social relationships and to make sense of and understanding of each other’s actions. These are some of the reasons why most people, most of the time, conform to social norms. But need I remind you that well behaved people seldom make history?

While those that have limited dreams are just fine falling in line with what society deems respectable and appropriate, those of us that dream of changing the world and leaving a lasting legacy are unafraid of being the “pariah” of society.

What feels safe is often risky, and what feels risky is often safe. This statement contradicts just about every evolutionary instinct we possess. We tend to seek out safety and avoid risk whenever possible. A classic example has to be the instinct that (still) tells us we are safer staying with the group. A herd to camouflage us. Something similar happens with spending money. We look around, see what everyone else is buying, and confuse the herd with safety. For example, simply because everyone else is buying into the idea of an American Dream doesn’t mean that it’s your dream too. But we start to tell ourselves the story that because everyone else is doing it, it must be what has to be done. The herd also rules the Houses of Marriage, Cohabitation and Procreation. The herd says that you must marry and live with your partner. That you must bear children. But there are more and more evidence every day that point to cohabitation killing romance and any affection a couple has felt for one another. Same goes for progenies. Not all of us are meant to marry, live with someone or have children. For us (the social pariahs) those societal constrains are akin to jails, to cutting off our limbs and tongues. Leaving us without oxygen. Suffocating what we were put on this earth to do – stand out and make our own rules and leave the world behind us slightly altered for better or worse.

Story by Cassandra Harris.