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To prosper, do not try to fit in

By Kevin Odongo | June 26th 2016

As we look back to our childhood days, we can’t help but remember with nostalgia how we wanted to fit in into different groups, and how we wanted to belong.

We are born with a desire to be approved. That is why when the teacher affirmed someone who behaved well, we conditioned ourselves to behave that way so that we could at least feed our desire to be accepted by the teacher.

However, as we grew up, we got tired of seeking approval all the time for certain obvious reasons mostly because of our experiences. Society conditions us in such a way that if we are not careful, we can always seek people’s approval to do what we know how to do even if they are wrong.

This is called the Approval Syndrome.

We are often surrounded by people we love. It is also true that for you to be successful, you have to have the right networks.

Fresh perspective

There is a delicate balance between asking for people’s opinion and seeking people’s approval all the time.

It is always good to ask for people’s opinion so that you can have a fresh perspective or a new way of looking at things. We have to guard against falling victims of the Approval Syndrome which always asks, “will people approve of my idea?” Henry Ford once said that if he had asked people what they wanted, they would have told him they wanted horse-driven cars. He went ahead and built a car that a common man could afford.

As human beings, we also carry a free will and an independent and creative mind. There are depths in your potential that you have never explored.

The late Dr Myles Munroe once said that potential is who you are that you haven’t yet been; potential is how far you can go that you haven’t yet gone, and potential is how much you can achieve that you haven’t yet achieved.

Your capacity

There is so much in us, but we have to cut through the mucky waters of trying to get approval all the time for what you are able to do.

It is good to always sit under a mentor, but the most important thing to note is that there are some things within your capacity that your mentor will not do for you.

The Approval Syndrome is an enemy of destiny and your dreams. The Approval Syndrome will make you want to do things just to fit in.

The Approval Syndrome will make you believe that if you don’t do it according to how it is wanted by some people, then you will be irrelevant.

Many are the times we have come across people who enrol for courses which they do not want but which their parents want, just to get the parents’ approval. Later, when they have broken through the Approval Syndrome, they finally get the guts to be themselves.

We have also heard of people who try to live a life they cannot afford so that their friends and relatives can feel that they are doing well, based on that biased definition of success.

The ability to follow your heart and be comfortable with who you are and what you feel is one of the greatest ways of gaining fulfilment.

The greatest fear every human being has is the fear of being themselves. People tend to seek approval so they can be accepted.

If you can find your own voice in this world of many voices, find your recipe in this world of many recipes, find your size in this world of many sizes, then you will enjoy freedom.

We have to break through every limitation of approval that the society might have placed on us.

We have to give ourselves permission to soar to heights that we have always imagined.

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