Complacent Conformity

Many people spend their entire professional life focusing on the prevention of failure. It is almost natural to prevent failing at all costs. As a member of society we are conditioned that failure is the opposite of success. For example, when we “fail” a test, when we “fail” at relationships, when a team “fails” to perform during competition, these are all viewed as the polar opposite of being a success. However, I would argue that failure is not the opposite of success. Failure and success are very closely related. To a certain extent, you cannot fully appreciate success without your share of failures.  If one has learned through failure, than that experience is transformed in to an intellectual success.

The true assassin of a success is Complacent Conformity.  According to Harvard psychologist Herbert Kelman, there are two types of conformity. The first is informational conformity; Informational social influence transpires when one turns to the participants of one's group to acquire accurate information.  The second type of conformity is normative conformity. Normative conformity happens when one conforms to be adored or accepted by the participants of the group. Economists have suggested that whims and movements in culture forms as the consequence of individuals making lucid choices based on evidence received from others. These informational waterfalls form rapidly as individuals choose to discount their inner signals and go along with what other people are doing. For example, the housing bubble:  when everyone was convinced the way to secure wealth was through real estate.

Consider the most successful people in America today. Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, refused to conform to social standards and disrupted an entire market. Tony Shea, CEO of Zappos (the largest online shoe store), took selling a tangible product that everyone thought was impossible to sell in an online environment and made a 1.2 billion dollar company. Look at the successful people in your life and you will soon discover that they are non-conformists. Maybe that person lies deep within you.

Conformity happens often in the workplace. For example, a person that does not want to work too hard because they are scared they might work themselves out of a job. Another example would be a person who does not want to develop their professional skills and education because their colleagues lack the drive of pursuit. Even if you are successful in your current position, what got you there is not going to keep you there! Develop your skills, education and experience.  Do not be complacent! Strive for more. The clock is ticking and we are only blessed with a set amount of time in this life, MAKE THE BEST OF IT! Do more, want more, SUCCEED! Thomas Edison said it best “We shall have no better conditions in the future if we are satisfied with all those which we have at present.”

Dave Saben
Vice President, Sales