Social Influence is the phenomenon of changing your behavior or thoughts based on how you think you are perceived by society or people in general. Within social influence are three sub phenomenons, conformity, compliance, and obedience. Conformity is the notion of changing your behavior in order to be more like those around you. Compliance is the notion of doing what others tell you to do not necessarily because you want to, but because of the social reward or punishment that could come as a result. Lastly, obedience is the notion of doing what someone tells you to do because you see that particular person as an authority figure and feel that you have no other choice.
Sorry to take you all back to school, but Social Influence, which I learned way back in my Intro to Psychology class was the first thing I thought of when I chose the topic for today’s blog post. Most of you have fallen victim to social influence many times in your life- we all have at some point. To be honest, most of you fall victim to it every day.You all want to fit in, gain approval from those around you, and be accepted by society. Whether it’s in regards to the clothes you wear, the music you listen to, or the school you choose to go to, there has always been someone else influencing what you do, how you think, and how you live your life. In fact, most of you believe it’s inevitable .
Not when it comes to your dreams.
If you look at them from society’s perspective, most of your dreams are going to seem unrealistic and unattainable. If you look at them from your friends’ and family’s perspectives, most of your dreams are still going to seem unrealistic. Unfortunately, the people you’re around and see everyday are going to be the main ones telling tell you that you’re crazy or risky for chasing your dreams. Why is that?
Leaving the safety of societal norms and expectations can be scary for a lot of people. So when someone (such as you) decides to step out of society’s safety zone and pursue their dreams, people are going to have a negative, non-supportive opinion of it. This is not because you are doing something wrong, but because you are doing something they aren’t. You’re courageous. You’re stepping out of society’s norms, are doing things that family and friends may be against, and you’re not afraid to do it. As a result, people ridicule you because they wish they could do what you’re doing and know deep down inside that they should be doing it. However, because they are afraid of being rejected or being different, they don’t. So, really, when they are negative and skeptical about what you’re doing, they’re only reflecting the negative feelings they have about themselves onto you and your dream.
Don’t let someone else’s opinion of you become your reality.” -Les Brown
Even if your friends and family don’t see your dreams as normal, or rational, they’re still your dreams. You can’t give up on them because someone else doesn’t think they makes sense.That’s their opinion. Not everyone is going to see your vision. Not everyone is going to understand your passion and desire, but that’s not a reason to stop pursuing; that’s not a reason to stop striving; that’s not a reason to stop believing. You can’t continue to comply, conform, and be obedient every day of your life just to please somebody else, be accepted by somebody else, and be like somebody else. Your dream is yours, but as long as you continue to let the opinions of others hinder you from pursuing it, you might as well be living their dream. Don’t stop being brave. Go get your dream. Dare to be different, dare to be the first, dare to be a diamond. Eventually, everyone else will follow your lead.
See you on Friday with my next blog post, “There’s Power in Passion.”
Remember, you don’t have to be average, you can be extraordinary. You don’t have to be a rock, you can be a diamond.