Humans are social beings, requiring social engagement to maintain their mental health and wellbeing. To be a part of a social group, family or tribe requires nothing more than living by within the code of what each member ordinarily does. An ordinary child in a class where being average is acceptable ensures that another ordinary being nearby will not be threatened by them. They know what reactions and actions to expect, because that is what ordinary peers expect and believe will occur.
If you think this paragraph assumes too much, it holds true across cultures worldwide. Why can we make this statement? Because without this premise, there would be no relationships between like-minded individuals who seek the ease of their comfort zone. Young ‘rebels’ who buck parental or societal norms and rules challenge this status quo, become either very successful in their own right or in trouble with the law of the land. Where there is a mis-match between the desired pathway to being extraordinary and a failure to achieve the same, mental illness or social exclusion often occurs.
“I don’t work at being ordinary.”
The primal fear of standing out from the crowd, of being alone or doing things that no one else is doing paralyses many into inaction. Although leaders are frustrated by members of their teams and business owners fall into a pattern of copying a competitor, the fear they fight of standing alone is for many a daily battle. Why can this be labelled a ‘primal fear’?
When we conform we are acceptable for reproduction. We may have characteristics which make us a better choice (hence Darwin’s, “survival of those best able to adapt to change
”) in a changing environment or society; yet the ancient reptilian part of our brain always directs our actions to areas which it does not fear or ‘comfort zones’.Although there are enormous risks associated with being the ‘first’ the only, the founder, the rewards create leaders history reveres.
Sadly, humans tend always to focus on the negative world changers, the leaders of revolutions, the creators of dynasties or monarchies, the barbaric conquerors. There are of course just as many change makers who, complete with their own demons, led millions into a different understanding or pathway to greatness.
Being at the forefront takes its toll on the individual. Often excesses in personal habits accompany these people. Debauched leaders of armies or nations. Blood stained national or regional histories. Crushing individual personalities in multinational corporations. Environmental carnage by individuals, corporations or governments that can never be restored. Technologies that destroy the health and well being of factory workers and the towns and villages they live in.
Although these principles are well documented and known by many, few stand up for balance. That place of harmony between man and beast, plant and soil, land and water, water and the skies above it. It requires a shift away from being ordinary and accepting the status quo, a shift only the individual can make. Moving from the position of judge, dictator, leader or employee in a rat-race, to that of being truly extraordinary.
A place of balance must first exist in your own mind. The standpoint of an observer, one who sees but is not involved. One who hears but does not shout or protest, argue or cry out. The one who is aware but not aroused.
This is not a position a young person easily understands; those who try to find it early slip in and out of balance. Like a child learning to walk, stumbling but seeing gradual process. The person of balance anchors those who drift; yet do not strive to lead or push them into a mould. They observe and stand beside; allow the individual to fulfil their potential.