All throughout nature we can see that one of the most basic survival instincts of many creatures is to conform to the world around them. This trait is
so important that some animals have evolved to blend into the very environments in which they live, such as the chameleon.
Unlike the chameleon, human beings are unable to change their skin tone – but for good reason. Human beings are among the world’s top most
predators. Despite adversities such as racism, skin tone has very little to do with our survival.
Our survival has more to do with conformity into social environments than anything else. Our greatest threat doesn’t come from the world, but from
each other. However, in order for our species to stay at the top of the food chain, we must stay banded together. For societies to stay melded
together there must be some degree of similarity.
In ages past human beings would kill one another for being socially different – this includes dress, religion, (admittedly) race, even language.
Over the course of thousands of years people have learned to adapt to their social climate, and those that couldn’t or refused…. Well, they were
To a degree this can still be seen today.
Look at the schools you attend. In many of them the most popular children are the “jocks” and the “Cheerleaders”. Why? Is it because they are
more physically dominating? I argue that the answer to this is no. They are more popular because they group together. They dress similar. They act
similar. Like a school of fish they seem larger than they truly are. They have socially conformed, and are rewarded by favor from teachers and peers
In today’s sociological climate it is highly important to understand how clever conformity can equal higher chances of survival – or at the very
minimum, a higher quality of life.
People on a mass scale desire to feel unique. In today’s age being unique is more acceptable than any other time in history – in which being
unique was often analogous with death, or being an outcast. But even in today’s society being “unique” can cause strife in social situations. I
do not think it is necessary to point out examples, as this should be fairly obvious to anyone with a set of eyes and a hint of common sense.
Some people are born with a higher sense of survival, and how it blends with conformity. Others have to learn this fact; sometimes painfully.
Is it possible to conform to society and still retain a sense of self? Yes.
Think about my analogy of the “Jocks” and “Cheerleaders” above. Even though they appear similar in appearance, they are drastically different
in their own realm – home, car, hobbies, etc. With this knowledge we can deduce that they do indeed see the superficiality of conformity, but know
its value from a survival perspective – which is synonymous with social acceptance.
Think about the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. They were trying to reach the heart of corporate America, who is typically politicians and business
men and women. They were never taken seriously by those they were trying to reach, because they didn’t approach them in a way they related to.
Instead of wearing masks, and screaming through megaphones – their odd of any reformation would have been greatly increased if they would have worn
suits and setup meetings with administrators, and lawmakers. Their refusal to conform saw the end of their movement.
Consider psychopaths. Often times they will adjust their appearance, and conform to any social situation in which they are currently in. This is the
skill that makes them so dangerous and increases their survivability. They can climb social ladders that many cannot, because they can play the social
game so well.
Application of Conformity
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Dress for success”? This phrase has a lot of truth to it. Look at the average store manager of a McDonald’s. He
or she dresses different than their underlings. Their garb denotes a status the rest of the minions do not have.
Look at a typical office setting. The managers often wear nicer clothes than their underlings as well.
Observe your supervisors, and their supervisors. Take note of the way they dress. As an experiment, one day dress as identical to them as you can.
Make it a point to pass by your superior – and I would be willing to bet that you will be noticed. Why? Because it is human instinct to conform to
society, and management is like a society unto itself.
Pay attention to the way people talk, including body language. Adapt to the situation.
Notice people’s energy levels. Reflect the same amount of energy back at the person – this is typically done through tone of speech, and bodily
Dress, language, and energy adaption are the keys to increased survival, which is to say – better quality of life.
I have heard people say before, “I don’t want to change, or shouldn’t have to change, who I am for anyone.”
This is a misconception that people cannot seem to get around. You will never change who “you” are. No one can ever change “you”.
Conformity is simply a mask… you will always exist below the mask, which can be removed at any time.
It must be understood that social conformity has nothing to do with changing who you are, or “selling out”. It has more to do with changing a
temporary outward appearance, so your personal lifestyle can be more peaceful.
Social conformity is a tool. And like any tool, when properly wielded, it can accomplish great things.
edit on 25-8-2014 by MentorsRiddle
because: (no reason given)