“Success, recognition, and conformity are the bywords of the modern world where everyone seems to crave the anesthetizing security of being identified with the majority.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Is that true with you? I had to ask myself if that was true with me, too. I have to fight daily against jumping onto the assembly line of pop culture’s mass production of our modern society. I am constantly resisting the imperceptible waves of expectations that inaudibly crash through my mind; directing me to “fit into the mold” and be this person I am surmised to be.
Our society places unstated expectations on people as soon as they are identified within a certain “class” or “social group” based upon what they have, who they are, or where they live. Some people live within those expectations for so long, they actually forget who they started out to be, or the person God created them to be.
While we can all agree that it is much easier to conform to the expectations of the society and social support group around us, it was not God’s intention to mass produce large quantities an indistinguishable empire; thus the creation of the term “individual.”
The word Individual means: “a single human being as being distinct from a group, class, or family.” With the media dictating what we listen to; the fashion industry dictating our dress; social media instructing us how to market; and our past influencing our attitudes of achievement, the challenge to break out “of the mold” to individuality can be likened to that of mountain climbing with toothpicks.
That is why it is so important that we remain Intentional in our quest for Individuality. We have already determined that Individuality is not an easy goal to achieve. So, how do we “break out” of the “mold of conformity?” IS there a formula for Intentional Individuality? How do we break out of the conventional protocols of relaying our message of individuality? These are just a few ideas I jotted down:
- Engage with a new audience or community. Go to a new community and present your content to people who don’t know who you are and see if it resonates with them. So often we can become stagnant by repeating our message to the same group of people.
- Educate yourself on other media platforms. Don’t be afraid to try something new just because you aren’t knowledgeable with that arena. The platform that worked for you yesterday is obsolete today and the platform that you are using today will be outdated tomorrow. However, your message, if impactful, will remain strong through the changes of technology and innovation, if you choose to remain open to the idea of change.
- Consult with the experts outside of your circle of influence. In order to break out of the “mold of conformity” you must step out of your comfort zone. Read blogposts, news articles and books from experts outside of your social sphere. Stay educated and be open to new ideas.
- Be prepared to face criticism and mockery. All of the History Greats who had a lasting impact were constantly badgered with criticism and disapproval. Society has never been one to give approval to those who dare to venture outside of the boundaries of conformity and mediocrity.
- Don’t let the “Fear of Rejection” prevent you from stepping out. Human nature wants to be liked and recoils away from rejection. If you always speak the message of tradition, you will never step beyond the limitations of repetition. The art of Intentional Individuality does not seek the approval of mankind but intrepidly seeks to do the will that God has established for him to do.
- Be driven by passion and not fame. If you are seeking fame and fortune, then your message will only live until the next major news event hits the scene. If you are truly passionate about who you are and what you believe, your message will live beyond the newsstands.
- Search the Word of God for Inspiration and Creativity. I have a blogpost “Knowing the Mastermind of Innovation” that directly speaks of this. The best source of creativity and identity is found within the Bible. It is the one book that has stood the test of time and has been passed down through the ages as the greatest textbook of all time. If you truly want to be Intentional in your Individuality, search out the pages of the infallible Word of God. Your Creator won’t steer you wrong. God tells us in 1 Kings 11:38: “Then it shall be, if you heed all that I command you, walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did, then I will be with you and build for you an enduring house, as I built for David, and will give Israel to you.”
- Pray. Ask the Lord for your direction. God is always right there waiting for you, and He will show you what to do.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had it right. He knew what he was talking about. He broke out of the bounds of conformity and ideologies of society to bring forth a message of hope to a generation in need of change. Through his boldness to speak the truth, he became a leader that greatly impacted not only the present day America but also the future generations to come. If we have the boldness to step out of our comfort zone into the unknown, we, too might be able to bring a message of hope to a world in need. The world wants to hear what we have to say. Are we willing to say it?