Conformity. What does that mean to you? A great man once said, “Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” That man was John F. Kennedy, and he couldn’t be more right. Conformity causes us to suffocate our ideas and holds us back from making strides. Most people conform to society without even realizing they’re doing it. Since birth, it has been drilled into our heads that there’s a “right” and “normal” way to do just about everything. If everyone continues to continuously do what is “right” and normal”, then we will never move forward. Contrary to popular belief, conformity isn’t really about what clothing you wear and things like that; it’s about the way you do things and how you conduct yourself.

To define conformity, you must define nonconformity. Refusing to act a certain way, and having a mind of your own are elements of nonconformity. On the contrary, conformists usually have a “one size fits all” mindset, and do things the way that everyone else has done them before. How is it possible for the same methods to work for everybody? It’s not possible, but we try to make ourselves believe that it is, for fear of being labeled “different.” That’s like trying to get everyone in the world to wear the same shoe size, when it’s obvious that there is a broad range of sizes out there. You can’t expect people to fit right into the mold, because we are all different.

Society doesn’t accept those who don’t want what everybody else wants, don’t do what everybody else does. Conformity is constantly reminding us that “the majority is always right.” This is how we forget how to think for ourselves, and lose ourselves among the ideas, actions, and opinions of everybody else. It’s scary to think about how many people would swim with the current of the majority, even when it’s obvious that the majority has been wrong before and jumping on the bandwagon only makes you a number. If you have ten-thousand people saying that there is such things as aliens, but you believe there isn’t, are you going to contradict them, or would you begin to question your own self? Conformity causes us to abandon our beliefs in exchange for the approval of others. It seems preposterous, but every day, peoples’ beliefs are being swayed without them realizing it. Their actions are pre-planned, and their decisions are being made for them. For example, just about every kid knows that someday, they will grow up and have a house and a family, like most of the population. This is not to say that a loving family isn’t a wonderful thing to have, but who decided that everyone must someday become a parent? If someone preferred to just be on their own, people would wonder about them, and would probably not accept the fact that they are living their life the way they chose. This is just one example of many that shows how people succumb to conformity without realization.

Conformity means living with eyes closed, subconsciously letting society mold you, make decisions for you, and limit your horizons. It’s an inhibition that many people can’t seem to let go of, an excuse to not take the dive. It creates a world that embraces sameness, instead of savoring the refreshment of originality. With the words of Doug Floyd, “you don’t get harmony when everybody sings the same note.”

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