Conform, Not a Dirty Word | In-Between the Pages

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We Are All the Same Underneath, Human (Image: Shawn Ward)

Conformity is a necessary part of our social culture. I’m not saying blindly follow and not test the social edges of what you see or hear. But, if we didn’t have some sort of conformity traffic would be tied up, people would be running stop lights and signs killing people, production quotas would be missed, and literally our society would shred itself apart.

Conformity is a part of the price we pay for the benefits of our social reality and yes, comes at the price of even some of our own individuality. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of habits you move through in which our behavior must conform to the people around us. Everything from how we pronounce words so that we effectively communicate to driving on the proper side of the street to assure smooth traffic flow.

If you choose not to conform you run a high risk of throwing a monkey wrench in the the gears of society. At times, yes society needs a reboot and choosing not to conform can be a great way of shocking the system to do just that. However, rebooting your social environment to get a new idea adopted is not a great way to work. You’ll end up rebooting it a lot.

If you have ever wanted to get a new idea out there it’s important to keep the guardrails of conformity in mind. If you are way to far out there with your idea and it’s not even close to the conventional conformity of your social environment you implementing it in, it might have very little chance of getting adopted.

Some filters you can use to test the waters before implementing that idea:

  • To what standards should you be conforming? You want an audience to adopt your new idea, you’re going to have to baseline to make the connection possible. You need a first follower.
  • In what ways does your idea need to “fit in”? Purpose and intentionality with your idea can accelerate it towards adoption. Solve a problem with it that’s been hanging out there no one has solved. You’re still playing on the same field as your team, not another field. Help you’re team out by ensuring your idea solves a vexing problem they’ve had.
  • How does the adage “the best way to get along is to go along” apply to your situation? Build your base of followers by moving along with them. Learn from them. Learn where you idea can make the most sense to the group.

As St. Augustine once said:

“When in Rome, do as the Romans.” – St. Augustine

At times, it’s a great strategy for implementing an idea you’ve been wanting to share. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Shawn

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