Since a very young age we are told what to do. Parents dictate or in the best case share their life values and views with their children. The schoolteachers tell about what’s “right” and what’s “wrong”. The society, in its turn imposes its own mentality. You were told what to think and how to live.
While you are still young, you don’t really care. You don’t pay attention to the fact that what you are taught stays deep in your subconscious and influences most of your decisions and actions.
At some point in our lives some of you start realizing that. Starting from that point you spend years to un-learn most of the things you were taught. Maybe those things were valid ages ago, but not anymore. Now they only stand between your success and you, between your dreams and you and sometimes even between your real self and you.
Let’s look at some examples below. I recalled the things I’ve been told many times. So many that I even believed them…
But not anymore… Now I know that the ones who told me that are the disillusioned ones, not me.
1. You have to study well to get a good job
I presume that the statement is based on the assumption that studying well and being smart is the same thing; which is NOT. Besides that, let’s think of our ex bosses. How many are smarter than you? How many are smart at all? Yup…
2. You have to be modest
Maybe western countries were different, but in the ex Soviet Union everyone was supposed to be modest. You were supposed to wait until others told good things about you. The times have changed. In these days of shameless self-promotion and fierce competition by being modest you risk being invisible altogether.
3. You have to seek stability
Stability is mainly a positive thing according to many. Stable marriage, stable career, stable income… Changes are bad… changes are risky… changes bring difficulties. Well maybe if you want to live the same day for many years of your life then yes… But what about new experiences? What about the unexpected amazing things that might come your way? What about impulsive actions? Stability and progress are not compatible, are they?
4. You are not a child anymore so you have to be serious
After 25 one is supposed to be mature and serious. You have to start building respect. You are not a child anymore… Really? Wouldn’t you wish keeping the best childish qualities with you forever? Wouldn’t you wish being as creative as they are? Wouldn’t you like being as honest as they are? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could feel happy from every small thing that happened to you?
I personally think that if we all kept that little child inside us our society would have been much kinder, happier and nicer.
5. You have to be realistic
How many realists have created something amazing? How many realists have come up with innovative solutions? How many realists are source of inspiration? Please let me know when you find one.
6. You have to avoid risk
Sometimes your life comes to a stage, when you can’t do anything but believe, close your eyes and jump.
Avoiding the risk is a very high risk itself most of the time. You risk staying mediocre all your life. You risk not reaching your full potential. And you risk fooling yourself that you are living a risk-free life.
I have to disappoint you here – even if you do not take any single risk, if you eat healthy, if you don’t smoke, if you never do drugs, if you never fly by plane, if you never drive drunk or fast… even then… there are countless risks for you.
Life itself is a risk. There is nothing to be gained by sticking to your comfort zone. As Neale Donald Walsch famously said: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone“.
I think we should all go back and re-evaluate the things we’ve been taught. There will be some things we will need to recall and there will be some like the ones above, which we better forget soon. We and only we know what’s best for us and we are the ones who decide what to and how to live. Don’t let anyone teach you what’s “wrong” and what’s “right”.
What about you? What were you taught that you realized was not good for you? Which are the things you would add to my list?