7 billion people running loose on the planet shouldn’t have lasted very long. Surprisingly enough, we defy the odds every single day and here we are, living in relative peaceful harmony. The reason being man is a rational animal. We’ve worked out that it doesn’t make sense to decapitate each other over a tube of toothpaste or stab a cop over a parking ticket. Everyone from a Wall Street banker to an African farmer has some sort of system and lives within the confines of well-defined rules. It’s in our best interest to follow most of the rules of this system. But our brains are so good at automating logic that instead of evaluating each situation on face value, we adhere blindly to all rules whether they make sense or not. We assume all rules are correctly defined and should be followed. That’s not necessarily true because we haven’t developed these rules ourselves. Someone else has created these rules for us. Bosses demanding that employees wear neck-ties to meetings is a prime example of how we all follow useless rules for no apparent reason. Ugandans hanging homosexuals is another. Although our obedience applies to all rules (don’t walk on the grass), I’d like to focus on the unwritten set of rules that defines how your life must be lived. The seeds of these rules were planted the moment you, as an impressionable 4-year old, strapped on a school bag for the first time.
Education taught you that you needed to get more education, get a job, work for 30 years and then retire and enjoy life. While you’re busy with the previous tasks, you would have to love someone, get married, have kids, buy a house and wait for the grand-kids to arrive. Simultaneously you have to contribute to the community, take holidays, buy a second house and make enough money to afford a fancy watch that matches your car. And if you succeed in checking each and every item off on this list, that’s exactly what you would be – successful. So even though some of us might be chasing money and some power, in effect what we’re looking for is social acceptance defined as success. However, this success still hangs in the balance and a divorce, retrenchment, bankruptcy could result in this hard earned title being unceremoniously revoked. Somewhere along the way we stopped chasing our dreams and started chasing success.
If our education could be summed up into 4 words, it would be – think logically, act rationally. Thinking logically and acting rationally is good. But when everyone follows the same rules, they resemble a herd of cows heading to the same place. And with that many cows, there’s bound to be a lot of competition (and bullshit). On the flip side, there’s definitely a need for more than one cowboy.
What if you asked yourself what exactly you were looking for? Is it the possibility to surf at the beach every day or do you secretly want to be a singer? If this is the case, then why are you studying to be a tax accountant? (Hint: iPhone, BMW, Maldives). Putting your finger on what you want is the hardest thing to do and so evading the question is logical.
Once you’ve decided what you want, what if you allowed yourself, just once, to make an irrational decision? Irrational because it would be a bad decision by society’s rules and everyone will laugh at you for it. But this bad decision would make you special because now you wouldn’t be following the same rules that the rest of the clowns are following. You would be chartering a new path and you would be an outlier. Not all outliers become somebody but all cows don’t become somebody for sure.
It’s time to wake the revolutionary within and begin to question a few constants. From the smallest idea to the largest scam – why must you accept status quo? This is your life. You have the power to do anything with it. And you don’t have to live with other people’s rules. Quit your job. Orchestrate a revolution. Break free from the bullshit. Stop subscribing to society’s norms. Be strong. Be different. And be a cowboy!