We here it time and time again; ‘be yourself’, ‘don’t follow the crowd’, and ‘think outside of the box’. While this is all well and good, sometimes it can be hard figuring out who our authentic selves really are, from a lifetime of learning to conform to certain behaviours and activities. We go through school in a regimented fashion, each having to learn the same things in the same way, and sit the same exams, even though numerous studies have shown we all learn in different ways. Some people can grasp something from pure theory alone, some need to engage in the practise time and time again to get the hang of it. Some people prefer group learning and team activities, while some people cope better with minimal engagement and more quiet time. We’re told to express ourselves and be original, but at the same time we’re expected to follow societal norms and fit in. No wonder it’s confusing and most of us are completely lost as to our true callings in life!
As someone who has recently resigned from working in a large international company, where regimented procedures and red tape was a constant barrier to creativity, I know first hand how frustrating this can be. How can we come up with unique and exciting ideas when they have to pass through various tiers of management to get approved, and then need to be dulled down so as not to appear ‘risky’ or offend people? Sure there are some benefits to working in a huge company, but in my mind the downfalls greatly outweigh the positives. Small companies have much more freedom when it comes to being creative, acting on sporadic ideas, and being flexible. Yes, they may not have the funds or backing to get them from A to B in a hurry, but I think I’d much prefer having creative input into a position than having to follow guidelines and protocol.
As the great Albert Einstein once said, ‘I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking’, I think we all need to take a leaf out of his book and stop following the crowd. Don’t worry about people judging you – 9 times out of 10 they’re just wishing they had the guts to act on their own dreams. ‘Speak your truth even if your voice shakes’, is another one I like to use because it’s so true. Yes, it’s scary putting yourself out there. You might get criticised, you might make mistakes, you might fail. BUT at least you’re doing something! It’s all trial and error on this journey and we only have the one lifetime to feed our curiosity and most importantly, be our authentic selves 🙂
Photo credits – mimibaileyny & georgiestclair