Blend In

I was discussing with a friend of mine my last blog post ‘Are You Judged By Your Dimensions?’ when she told me about a lady that once appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show. That lady is naturally brunette but for years she had dyed her hair blonde. When she was asked why, she simply said: “because I want to get noticed.” Then a man asked her a very smart question: “How will you get noticed when 10000 women look like you?”

Hearing what that woman said, I actually think her main reason to dying her hair is opposite to what she consciously believes. I think the main reason why she and hundreds of thousands of other women dye their hair is the exact opposite to getting noticed: it’s to fit in.

She so desperately wants to fit in with what society has told her is noticeable that she ended up becoming a part of a uniformed looking herd thus creating the exact opposite of what she desires. What I also think is that on an unconscious level, she does this because she actually wants to be UNNOTICED.

Think about it this way. In the jungle, if an animal is different, it gets outcast at birth and left to die on its own. The only chance this animal has to survival is if it looks like the rest of the pack. Unfortunately, human societies can very much be jungle like.

Meet a Goth

If the human jungle says blonde is the now noticeable norm, we all sleep walk to hair salons and get our hair dyed blonde so we can fit in with the rest of the pack. We don’t do this to get noticed. We unconsciously do this to look like everyone else.

Even the subculture of Goth do it.

Goths rebel against societal norms and pride themselves of being nonconformists. However indirectly they are conforming to the subculture of nonconformists. In other words, by nonconforming, they create a subcultural group of nonconformists with its members conforming to the culture of a nonconformist group… phew!

(Side Note: If you’ve never met a Goth make the effort to go out of your way and meet one. If you’re in London go to Camden tow, you might find a goth or two : ). Some of them are incredible people. A Goth friend had taught me some valuable lessons in life… especially about not judging others by appearance)

Elephants and Peacocks

That’s not to say that conforming or being part of the pack is a bad thing. On the contrary, it’s mostly a very good thing. It gives us a sense of belonging, safety and sometimes direction. It’s a human need that’s wired in us.

That’s why you don’t see young men leaving everything behind and going to live alone in the jungle like teenage elephants do. And even if they do, which is very unlikely, like teenage elephants at one point in time they will return to their pack when they mature. And those who don’t… well… they die, unheard of.

Still, at the same time, like peacocks we like standing out and being unique, because that too is a need wired in us.

So Now What?!

If we’re wired to be part of a pack but are also wired to want to stand out at the same time, what are we supposed to do?

That very much depends on what you want and why you want it. Because that dictates how much precedence you can give looking unique over other things.

If for example you want to become a great leader, loved and followed by your people, know that the best and most inspirational leaders of the world who their followers had literally sacrificed their lives for them looked as normal as everyone else. And with that normalcy came great humbleness that elevated them in the hearts and minds of their followers.

If on the other hand you want to look different and unique just for the sake of it, or for whatever reason, you can do that too.

I’m going to tell you exactly how you do it in the next post. But be warned there are consequences. You probably won’t like it, but I’ll tell you anyway. So if you truly want to look unique, stay tuned for my next post.

Until next time,

Tarek

Copyright (c) 2010 www.TarekCoaching.com – Life coach London, life coaching London, RESULTS Coach, Performance Consultant, Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), NLP training

Facebook comments:

  1. Vince
    Vince07-19-2010

    Great article but I feel like you somewhat missed the point of the subculture of goth which could’ve tied in much more clearly with the conclusions you came too.

    You hit it on the head with “If we’re wired to be part of a pack but are also wired to want to stand out at the same time, what are we supposed to do?”

    I think the subculture of Goth or any other artistic subculture exists purely due to this wiring.
    The longing in these people is stronger to be unique, free from the pack and push towards the brink of something ‘new’ and ‘experimental’. In most people the desire is strongest to just ‘belong’ – this leads to the compromised norm. Subcultures are the much smaller splintering offs from this norm. If their main desire was to belong they’d still be part of the norm. These people have the main desire to separate from the norm but they still have a very strong, real and natural hard wired desire to belong. So they find that others share this desire and group together on their commonalities from there.

    From this angle conforming to non-conformism really means understanding the norms of the majority but choosing your own norms to live by whilst still being a part of society as a whole.

    Stephen Fry once commented that it’s this ability to be a part of society whilst at the same time being apart from society that really makes great art and I can certainly see his point on that!

    You have to be a part of society otherwise no-one can relate to the work but you must be just apart from society enough so that the work is sufficiently original to be considered great.

    Which is probably why my favorite pieces of music or literature are always the ones that made me think “it’s kind of like what I thought of only better”

    Hope that made sense.

  2. Tarek
    Tarek07-19-2010

    Vince! Good to hear from you my man 🙂 Hope all is well in Cambs.

    The point of talking bout goth is just to illustrate that we deeply crave belonging even when we think we want unconformity. The conclusion is in the blog entry that followed 😉

    What you said makes perfect sense from the point of view of arts. Any art work needs to be original and at the same time still serve a “societal belonging” feel. No argument there.

    When it comes to humans, my personal belief is that no matter how unique we think we want to be, we’re still like that great art work.. original but conforming. Truly unique individuals are incredibly rare. They would probably die unheard of because they are never part of a culture or a subculture. Then a few decades down the line, they might be discovered as geniuses or they might not. Still, I think in their life time, these truly unique individual craved belonging.

    As far as normally functioning and “conforming” individuals that are part of society like you and I, the only way to look unique is what I believe I talked about in my conclusion in the next post. Which perfectly fits with your description of a great art work. Great quote from Stephen Fry.

    I hope this makes sense. And thanks for a great contribution. Keep em coming 🙂

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