Make it Happen Monday: Create Your Own Culture 2.0

In last week’s Make it Happen Monday post, I talked about one of my life hero’s, Morrie Schwartz, and his quote about Creating Your Own Culture.  As a follow-up to that post, I wanted to dive a little deeper into this topic and talk a little more about following your own star.

Consider the following scenarios:

Scenario #1:  A man walks into a doctor’s office and as he looks up he notices that everyone is in their underwear.  There are people reading magazines, people drinking coffee, and people talking to each other, all in their underwear.  He finds this very strange, but then figures that there must be something to it, so he too takes off his pants and sits down in his underwear.

Scenario #2:  A woman is waiting for an elevator in an office building.  As the elevator arrives and opens she walks in and notices that everyone in it is standing facing the back of the elevator.  This is different then what she is used to, but as she walks in, she also faces the back of the elevator as the rest of the people are.

Now you may think I am making up some pretty obvious examples to prove the point that people in society will go along with what others are doing, no matter how crazy it may appear.  The truth of the matter is that these were both actual scenarios from Allen Funt’s 1960’s TV show Candid Camera…a show all about putting people in strange situations and watching how they’d react.

When I was a kid and wanted to do something that my friends were doing, but wasn’t approved by my Mom, she would often say “If your friends all wanted to jump off a bridge, would you want to jump too?”  Well, after hearing about these examples from Candid Camera and the crazy things people will do in order to fit in, I finally see where she was coming from.  She was telling me to be an individual.  I realize now how great that advice really was.

People like to associate with people who are like them.  This same theory applies to society.  When people chose to deviate from this path, they may appear to be outcasts and looked upon as a little strange.  But when these people are able to be strong and remain focused, they are looked upon and often envied by the rest of society.  I think the life of Steve Jobs is a perfect example of just this concept.

When it comes to personal characteristics, that’s something that should remain a little more commonplace.  Things like compassion, honesty, love, caring, peace, and other such qualities is something that we should all have as a part of us.  But what we chose to do with these traits should really be up to us without the influence of our culture.

Last week’s quote by Morrie Schwartz can also be looked at as meaning we have more control then we may think when it comes to creating our own lifestyle.  The media, movies, fashion, books, and the rest of society, all make up the culture that we live in.  This standard culture varies depending on what part of the Planet you reside in.  North American culture is very different from Asian culture, just as the Aussie culture is different from that of the Caribbean.  Each one of these cultures is made up of a variety of sub-cultures, such as youth, business, and retirement cultures.  People should also be comfortable creating their own personal culture within this as well.  But it is usually conformity that stops us from doing so.

What exactly is a personal culture made up of?  Four basic principles make up our personal cultures:

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