Break Free From Social Norms & Achieve Your True Potential

Jul 4, 2017

We prevent ourselves from achieving our true potential by conforming to what we believe society expects from us. Break free from this and you will live to your true potential.


In 1951, psychologist Solomon Asch asked a group of 7 persons to do a very simple task – to match the length drawn on a card. A simple enough task, except 6 of the 7 were actors asked to draw the length wrongly.


What do you think happened next? Well, in over 30% of the trials, the last person who drew (the non-actor), drew the length wrongly, in order to conform with the group!


This form of mimicry, goes beyond our logic and reaches our emotions as well. For example when a person smiles at you, you instinctively smile back – due to “mirror neurons” in our brains.


Psychologists have offered 2 reasons for this effect – it saves us relearning, and adopting opinions of those around us enables us to form cohesive societies – both required for survival in days of old.


Conformity prevents us from living to our true potential


The effect of these limits on our individual thinking, naturally also limits our ability to pull away from society, and achieve our true potential.


Many of us, including me, were conditioned to go to school, get a good job, buy a house, etc. And so we do that. The moment you get on that hamster wheel, you can’t get off. Being successful often just means that that hamster wheel is spinning that much faster than everyone else’s.


But we keep going, because in our minds, that’s what we should be doing. Not because we actually believe it, but because everyone around us believes that’s what we should be doing. It’s what’s we’ve been told since we were young, by authority figures such as our parents and teachers. People we are even more likely to conform to!


What we fail to realize is that deep within us, that’s NOT what we believe we should be doing. Most of us have this desire to live out our true potential.  But we fight that urge to “do more with our lives” (or live out true potential), because we’ve be taught that that’s NOT what we’re supposed to be doing.


How I conformed for 20 years and failed to live my true potential


In my case, coming from a family of lawyers, good kids become lawyers and stay lawyers. Good husbands are lawyers who bring home a good wage. So, I stayed a lawyer for 20 years. I was successful, doing what my conformed mind told me I should be doing. But I was frustrated, and simply could not understand why.


I knew I wasn’t living to my true potential, but having been a lawyer for that long, what else could I do, how else could I grow in my career?


Find your voice and live your true potential


But the moment I broke free and found my voice, and my calling, it didn’t’ take long at all for me to start getting successful doing something less conventional. In fact I fully replaced my income within 6 months doing something I had never done before in my life.


Working with others to realize their true potential has become a passion. And when you’re living your passion, aligned with your purpose, that frustration goes away. Work is pleasurable.


To live your true potential, you first need to know your purpose –  not someone else’s – so that you can live your purpose, and realize your true potential.



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