We’ve touched on social conditioning and how it affects our business decisions and identity before.
Social conditioning affects all areas of life on all levels. There’s actually evidence that suggests that people grow old and die because of social conditioning.
Teachers like Deepak Chopra in his book Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, describe a situation in which people are taught to grow old and die.
It all comes to down how society teaches people to age. It’s a learned behavior.
We Learn To Be Old
As a physical process, aging seems universal and inevitable.
A car doesn’t wear down and breakdown because it sees other cars doing the same. The only conditioning that affects any machine is simple wear and tear; certain parts get worn down faster than others because they absorb the most impact or friction.
Our bodies behave in a similar way, but our bodies are not machines.
Indian sage, Shankara, declared, “People grow old and die because they see others grow old and die.”
There have been many studies conducted where groups of elderly people are moved into elderly people’s homes with a difference – these are homes where they are not treated like old people. Once at the door, the socially conditioned roles are immediately reversed.
The elderly people are made to carry their own bags, rather than being helped with them. They are instructed to find and do things for themselves and encouraged to be as active as possible.
To take things a step further, only music from the 1940s (when they were young people) is played and all the TVs show programs from the 50s and 60s.
The elderly people are transported back to a time when they were younger, fitter and far more active. They are surrounded by this environment and they begin to embrace it.
The findings are remarkable. People in their eighties with serious mobility issues started walking without the aid of canes, zimmer-frames and other aids. Those with sight or hearing impediments greatly improved. Even the IQs of the participants improved when tested before and after the experiment.
When the elderly people were taught not to act like elderly people, suddenly their physical and mental conditions vastly improved. Who knows how far the people in those experiments might have regressed if the experiment was conducted long-term.
How to help someone who’s fallen into the traps of social conditioning?
You need to live your life by example. Offer value and advice where you can, but don’t push your agenda. No one likes someone knocking on their door and trying to sell them something.
You can never force yourself or your beliefs (however new founded!) on somebody else. The best you can do is understand them so well that they’re willing to understand you.
The media instructs act out vague fantasies and is full of broken promises and hazy accusations.
Newspapers whip up a storm, build up celebrities, only to tear them down with even more force.
TV reality shows portray a lifestyle that’s unobtainable and downright damaging.
People are taught that drama is a standard part of life, that they should act like their favorite characters on soap operas if they want attention.
Advertizing constantly throws images at us and cruelly prays on inadequacies and insecurities in order to sell products.
People develop personality disorders, eating disorders and coolness disorders because they become too caught up in TV and magazines and the phony, glitzy world they present.
All of the above is clearly messed up.
I don’t mean to sound so jaded and, don’t worry, I’m not going to be asking you to join a cult or anything. But these issues raise some important questions that we need to answer as successful business-person.
And, no, this isn’t a moral, religious or political rant. I’m not trying to make a point about any of those – except maybe a moral issue.
Instead, I’m pointing out the issues inherent in media, whether it be advertizing, news or entertainment, so that you are aware of them. When yore aware of them, you’re in a better place to separate yourself from them.
And, let’s be sure about this – if you want to be a successful business-person in this modern-day world we live it – you need to be aware of the power media has and how you can manipulate it.
More on that in a bit.
So where does it end? How can you separate yourself from this ever-grinding, destructive machine?
The way to separate yourself is to not become involved. Be above it all.
What exactly do I mean by that? Here are just a few examples:
- Don’t be dragged into religious discussions on social media.
- Don’t take in the daily news as if it’s a tasty meal.
- Separate yourself from the message of an advert. Look at its construction and marvel at that. A good business-person is aware of how ads are made – they don’t become enamoured by the message of the ad itself.
- You don’t need stuff. Stuff is cool and it’s good to have – I’m certainly not endorsing becoming a monk and living in a mountain monastery away from anyone else (although that is an option) – but you don’t need stuff in order to be successful and an awesome person.
How To Avoid Social Conditioning
Here are my tips for avoiding a socially conditioned brain washing from popular culture:
1. Throw Away Your TV – Liberate yourself from the talking box. Don’t throw it out just yet. Film is the answer to your entertainment needs. Keep a DVD player rigged up to your TV and watch films when you want an entertainment fix. (More advanced than an old-school DVD player – Netflix and others are your friend.)
This way, you can choose films that will enhance your life, rather than being victim to whatever rubbish the networks want to throw at you. You choose what you watch and remain in control of your environment.
2. Don’t Read Newspapers – You’ve been fed a lie. Newspapers aren’t as genuine as your parents told you. Newspapers are there to be sold, to make money, not merely spread the news. Papers sell on negativity, especially the tabloids.
Why else would they thrust constant bad news down our throats? Sadly, bad news sells.
Why force feed yourself negativity? As well as being bastions of negativity, newspapers also sell an agenda. Show me an unbiased newspaper (that isn’t named after a vegetable) and I’ll show you an honest politician.
I know that one is going to be difficult for people, as nearly everyone has their own favorite newspaper that they swear by.
I rarely read newspapers anymore – even online editions – and it’s done me a wonder of good. I’m no longer beholden to wrapped up in a certain newspapers thoughts and stereotypical biases. Free yourself.
3. Avoid People That Talk Constantly About Soap Operas – I’m obviously being a little tongue in check with these. Your mileage may vary.
Sure, it’s not too bad if someone mentions soap operas here and there, but if all they ever talk about are other people’s fake lives, then run!
4. Don’t Eat Fast Food – Alright, this isn’t a big time no-no, but just avoid it as much as possible.
Sure, we all end up in situations from time to time where fast food might be the only real option whilst we’re dashing from one train and about to hop on the next on our way to a lunch time meeting, but it’s important to set a good standard.
Eating fast food regularly is like telling your body it’s okay to follow the Magic Pill culture. You should avoid the quick fix, Magic Pill ideals as much as possible, and avoiding McDonalds and Burger King is a good way of telling yourself that you’ll not settle for a quick fix.
5. Don’t Encourage Negative People – Anyone who goes around saying things like, “You can’t do that” or “That doesn’t work because…” shouldn’t be listened to.
They’re already trapped in social conditioning. They’re a victim of it. Don’t join them in their self-perpetuating trap.
Avoid negative people where possible. Everyone’s got an uncle who’s always the naysayer at family gatherings – instructing people not to invest in a business plan, or not to try something new, or why everyone should avoid…just about anything.
These people are nearly always people who didn’t try. They’re failures only because they didn’t try. They’ll be full of pessimism and warnings about why something’s wrong or bad or “not how it’s done,” but really they’re just upset that people might try something they never had the balls to try.
Don’t get involved in the negativity and try to argue with these people. Instead, prove them wrong by doing it. Don’t say you’re going to do something. Do it and tell them, “Look, I’m doing it!”
Avoid the above and you’ll be well on the road to freeing yourself from the constraints of social conditioning.
Has this helped you? Drop me a comment below and thanks for reading!