Breaking Free From The Conformity Funnel

Dear Gaye,

Love your last post, with the definitions of the word “conformity”.  It’s a word that plays such a big part in so many lives.  I think all three definitions have equal effect on us, if we are not careful.  In the course and book that we’ll be bringing out later this month, I talk in some detail about the process by which we’re led into what I call The Conformity Funnel.  It’s a process most of us in the West go through.

As young children we start off with all the enthusiasm and passion for life that we are destined to bring into the world.  We have no limitations, no restricting thoughts that tell us we “should” or “shouldn’t” behave in a particular way.  Possibilities are endless, reaching out all around us into the world at large: a world we love being part of, a world we trust completely.

We carry this enthusiasm with us into our first forays of school-life.  At five we’re happy to volunteer answers.  If we get it “wrong” we don’t care.  We just come up with another answer until the adult in the room says “That’s right.”

My view is that every answer is the right answer: no matter what the current “social norm” dictates.  But that’s another story.

As we go through school, our lives become more and more proscribed.  We are taught to conform in all the ways that you mention: ways we are all familiar with.  This has a knock-on effect right the way through life, informing our judgments about our selves and others each and every day.

We become less and less willing to take risks, because the pressure to behave like “most people” grows on us.  We start doing things that we really don’t enjoy or agree with in order to be accepted by the “group”.  The hive mentality is foisted on us.

It’s an amazing transformation: moving from the unbounded enthusiasm of young childhood into the restricted self-consciousness of adult like.  And the world most of us occupy reinforces that transformation through the media, most especially the television, which is perhaps the greatest tool for keeping everyone inside the “box” that you talk of.

This is why what you are doing right now is so brave.  You are stepping outside the Conformity Funnel with all the joy and passion that you brought to your early years.  You are an example for us all and I’d like to salute your courage here and now.

One thing I would say as you take this leap: choose who you share your plans with well.  Many people who are stuck inside the Conformity Funnel want everyone else to stay there too and when they see someone stepping out of it with open arms, they can often say things to cast doubt on the wisdom of following the heart.

In these early stages of your new journey, it is important not to hear those who doubt or shake their heads and say such things as “Oooh, that sounds very risky” etc.  Ideas are like seeds.  You weed the ground, sow the seed and then water the shoots as they grow from “nothing” into the full plants that will one day bear fruit.  In the early stages of their development, negative comments can act like frost on those early shoots, nipping ideas in the bud.  So, surround yourself with those who support, love and encourage your endeavours.  That way, breaking free from the Conformity Funnel is much easier.

Follow the heart, Gaye.  Be as outside-the-box as you wish!  There are many examples from history that teach us this is the way to go: people like Copernicus, Galileo, Einstein and all those who were eccentric enough to have faith in the future rather than relying on old systems of belief.  We remember those who break the mold, rather than those who follow the herd.

If you like, my next blog can be based around beliefs, how they are formed, and why they really have no place in decision-making when it comes to bringing wealth to us in all its forms.

Until then, enjoy the journey!

Best wishes, Richard.

About Gaye Abbott

NATURAL PASSAGES CONSULTING Inspiring New Possibilities, Living From the Heart of Life While Co-creating Well Being of Body, Being, Heart and Planet….One Breath At A Time. Gaye Abbott, is a wild and free soul who just so happens to LOVE writing, playing with energy, ecstatic dance and free form movement, living and breathing in nature, her 3 sons and 3 grandchildren, communing with friends and global community, organic food and cooking, small and simple spaces to live within, a lack of material possessions....and laughter every single day! As a wise elder of 69 years she feels decades younger....and acts it too! Devoted to being of service to the Earth and all living beings Gaye seeks the peace of mind and openness of heart that provides the foundation for effective action in the world and her community. OTHER BLOGS BY GAYE ABBOTT: Give Us This Day Our Daily Breath Preview, Reviews and purchase links can be found here:

Posted on April 14, 2011, in Authentic Expression, Game of Life, Natural Wealth and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: