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sheepI am going to start this series off with one limitation we deal with almost every day of our lives, one that creates a great deal or drama, un-ease, worry, guilt and fear in our lives frequently. This article will be about something we call “Collective Norms.”

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We are born, we go to school, we graduate, we go to university or college, we get a “good” job, we get married, have kids, buy a house, work for 30 years, retire, do whatever, and check out… seems a little robotic? but that’s what’s normal right??

To quickly lay a foundation, when we come into this experience, not only are we handed down and taught things by our parents, but we are also greatly influenced by the collective matrix. Imagine it as a depository of thoughts and experiences that we are uploading and downloading to and from constantly. Being connected to it means we play into these “norms,” we feel them, we think they are real even when we are not sure where they come from or how they got there. A collective norm would simply be something we think is “normal” because a mass amount of people represent it or buy into it. The only real thing keeping any of these ideals in place is the fact that we are all invested into it because we fear that if we aren’t others will think poorly of us. As many of us begin to step out of accepting these collective norms, that experience is uploaded to the matrix, making the concrete norms flimsy, allowing others to step out.

“Norms” can be anything from thinking certain things are “good” or “bad” OR “right” or “wrong.” Things like; having a lot of money, equals success or having a university diploma, equals someone is intelligent. In either case, generally, both of these statements are accepted as “truth” collectively. Yet when we examine them, they mean absolutely nothing. We have all simply bought into the idea that those materials equal success or intelligence, and we don’t question it because we in some way are afraid to, we are comfortable with simply accepting it.

Let’s think for a minute how those two examples can create some very strict limitations. Let’s play with a scenario where we have someone who wishes to be an audio engineer. Audio engineers in most studios get paid  maybe 35,000 to 40,000 per year. At that wage they wouldn’t have what most call “a lot of money” and therefore would be deemed “mediocre” in terms of success. But the lawyer making 250,000 per year is much more successful right? But are they? Are they really any more successful? Where do we get off valuing how much jobs should be paid in the first place? Do we ever wonder why a mechanic gets paid so much less than a lawyer? Does it make any real sense? How about all of the emotional and self worth issues these accepted limitations create?

What about the kid who wanted to become that audio engineer? They did their research and learned full well that going to university for it wouldn’t be the best route, so instead learned on their own or apprenticed at a studio. Are they not intelligent? Would they get the same credit as a person with a university degree? I think we all know, at this point, that most of us give much more credit to the university grad. Why do we connect diploma’s to intelligence when there is no correlation? Who said we should be doing this?

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Have you ever heard these sorts of examples and asked yourself, “who says a university degree means intelligence?” “Why do we give this value?” “Why do we use money as a measure of success?” “Why do we envy those with a lot of money and strive to be them?” These sorts of questions begin to allow us to follow the path of our thought process back to why we think these things. At the root, we realize its nothing more than what WE ALL have bought into. Is there truth to things actually being like this? No, we simply think that’s how it is because we bought into and identify with it and are afraid to go elsewhere.

Examples can go on and on in terms of what we call “collective norms.” You can stumble upon many of them yourself simply by questioning the autopilot responses we give every day. When we do something because we feel others will judge us, ask why. When we do something because that’s what everyone else does, ask why. When we hear our parents or friends say things that we KNOW everyone else says, ask why. You will be shockingly surprised at how much of our lives are based on “norms” that we have bought into, that can stop RIGHT NOW. Limitations that can fall down RIGHT NOW. Guilt, fear, judgment, prejudice and worry that could all go away RIGHT NOW should we decide to become aware of how we are programmed and simply step out of it.

The world is full of complete potentiality, it’s only limited every time we set  up that limit, or in other words, buy into “this is the way it is, because that’s what everyone does.”

Love
Joe


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