Welcome to the YouTopian Journey. Each week I will be sharing unique wisdom as well as a more in-depth overview of the artwork that is featured on the Instagram @youtopianjourney. This week we discuss why normalcy is mediocrity.
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BEING NORMAL ISN’T NORMAL
“If you’re always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.”-Maya Angelou
You have heard it before.
You probably have thought it before.
“I just want to be normal.”
“What you are doing isn’t normal.”
“I just want a normal life. A normal job. A normal family.”
And why not? Normalcy seems attractive. It seems stable. It offers order and stability in the face of a random and chaotic world that makes less sense by the day. Normal is a safe harbor in the face of the storm of life that will destroy any intrepid explorers. After all, it is much better to remain anchored in place and on dry land.
But this normality comes with a price that isn’t realized until it is too late. It is an exchange of growth for safety. Not true safety, but the safety of the mediocre majority. This safety will sap you of your potential. It will instill doubts and give power to your hesitations, making them titanic mountains while in reality, they are ant hills.
Eventually, that safe harbor will become a prison and you will lack the will and the strength to make your escape.
Why is this the case?
Because being normal means refraining from taking risks. It means exchanging the ability to act with the ability to be safe. Normal means the termination of grand thoughts and lofty ideals because they go against what society deems acceptable. Being normal means walking a comfortable and well-trodden path that the multitude has paved for you. It means acceptance from everyone except the person that is the most important…yourself.
“Normality is a paved road: It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.”-Vincent Van Gogh
But the true cost of normalcy? The death of the dreams and the grand ideas that you know to be true and that you are more than capable of achieving.
Because being normal means looking down at your feet, not to the stars above. Being normal means following the path of others even though you dream of charting your own course to unknown lands. Being normal means dousing the burning spark within because you deem the possibility of an inferno to be too farfetched and even impossible.
This is foolish thinking. You are more than this. Just by reading these words each and every week places you further ahead than you realize. Avoid the trap of normality and focus on what you truly want. I promise you that the results will be far better than the feelings offered by a normal life.
“To be “normal” is the ideal aim for the unsuccessful, for all those who are still below the general level of adaptation. But for people of more than average ability...the moral compulsion to be nothing but normal signifies the bed of Procrustes-deadly and insupportable boredom, a hell of sterility and hopelessness.”-Carl Jung, Practice of Psychotherapy
“Some people do not like to think. If one thinks, one must reach conclusions; and conclusions are not always pleasant.”-Helen Keller
One of the most famous slogans of Apple in the late 1990s and early 2000s was think different.
I loved that slogan then and I love it even more now.
Because if you can think different, you can become different.
If you can think different, you can act in ways that the multitude cannot see..
If you can think different, unseen paths will be open to you. Walls will transform from journey ending obstacles into steppingstones.
This slogan applies now more than ever, as we silo into ways of thinking that are comfortable and pleasant to us. We bury facts and truth with memes and laughter. We close ourselves off to what may even be our salvation in a time of crisis. We flee from the possibility of anything that may be upsetting or unpleasant. We cannot fall into this trap. We must be capable of thinking different, regardless of the discomfort that it may cause.
“The path that leads to truth is littered with the bodies of the ignorant.”-Miyamoto Musashi
Thinking different is required for the intrepid dreamers to make their goals a reality. It is the antithesis of being normal. Whereas being normal means fitting into your lane, thinking different means you aren’t even on the same road.
And this is very important.
Because if you follow where everyone else is going, think what everyone else is thinking, and act how everyone else is acting, you will find yourself in a destination that is not of your choosing. You won’t even realize it until it is too late.
Many never come to this realization at all.
Others are so happy living within their fragile bubble to even attempt to think differently.
Yet if thinking different is so important, why do so few fail to follow such practical but important advice?
Thinking different makes you a target.
“To think otherwise than our contemporaries think is somehow illegitimate and disturbing; it is even indecent, morbid or blasphemous, and therefore socially dangerous for the individual. He is stupidly swimming against the social current.”-Carl Jung, Modern Man in Search of a Soul
People do not wish to be targeted but accepted. But it is only by thinking different that you can be in a position to effect positive change, not only on yourself but the world.
The greatest innovations, inventions, and discoveries were made by those who thought differently and went against the common beliefs of their times. They were targeted by their contemporaries, educational and religious institutions, and the common people. Had they not had the courage to pursue their course, had they not had the ability to think differently from the masses, humanity would have suffered.
It was normal to think the Earth was flat.
It was normal to think the Earth was the center of the universe, with everything revolving around us.
It was normal to think that human flight was impossible.
It was normal to think that leaving the confines of our atmosphere for the stars was nothing more than a fantasy.
Don’t aim to be normal. Aim to think different and achieve different!
“What is now proved was once only imagined.”-William Blake
ACCEPT THE PAIN OF BEING BURNED
“Be the sun and all will see you.”-Fyodor Dostoevsky
By aiming to be something more than normal, you will be targeted. You will be criticized, laughed at, slandered, and even ignored. You will face these pains and you must face them with grit, determination, and bravery. This is in essence the spirit of a true YouTopian.
“What is to give light must endure burning.”-Victor Frankl
Realize that like the character in The YouTopian Journey, you are on an odyssey as well. You are not on some simple trip the mall, but on a personal journey of self-improvement and self-empowerment. This is no small feat and is no easy task.
The pull of the normal life will gnaw at you at every turn. The darkness of the negativity and opinions of your peers will attempt to envelope you.
But you must keep moving and above all, keep shining.
If you wish to be the sun and brighten the lives of not only those around you, but society itself, you have to endure the pain of being burned. You must continue to move forward, each and every day, never letting the multitude dim your colors.
You must continue to shine in spite of the difficulties. Your light is enough to guide not only your own path out of normalcy but acts as a beacon for many others.
How do I know this?
Because I have seen it practice.
Each week I receive thank you emails and wonderful messages from subscribers, who are using this knowledge to chart their own course and make their goals a reality.
That alone is all the proof that I need.
“The best way to lift one’s self up is to help someone else.”-Booker T. Washington, The Story of My Life & Work
Keep shining. Be the light for not only yourself, but for others.
Aim to be more than normal and I promise you that you will!
“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, And the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”-Buddha
CRAMP YOUR CRANIUM
I truly believe that the best advantage one can have in this world is to be armed with knowledge. I recently discovered The Slice, a newsletter that covers resources, good reads, and emerging SaaS resources at the intersection of entrepreneurship, technology, and productivity. Check it out by clicking here.
ONE LAST THING
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I’m Shaun Gold and if you are reading this, you are already on your journey. Catch you next week.