Swimming against the tide: lessons from a viral video

This thought came to me after watching a video on YouTube. I must admit that I laughed a lot, but then I realised that it raised an interesting situation to reflect on.

swimming against the tide

Gaspar González Jurado-Gutiérrez

Reading time: 5 min

I was surprised to see a lady trying to go up an escalator upside down. Suddenly, I realised that she was going against the tide, acting differently, and in the end she achieved her goal by being unique and different.

Then I realised that we tend to do the same old thing, what is expected, what is well seen. Acting differently makes us feel weird or strange, and even leads us to question whether we are doing the right thing or whether we should follow the same path as others.

The struggle for authenticity in a conformist world

Society imposes its rules and expectations on us, dictating the path we should follow. Those who follow it are admired and made into role models. But are these role models really ours, or are they simply an imitation that is alien to our authenticity? Living according to social expectations often leads to frustration and dissatisfaction, without us realising it.

From childhood, we act spontaneously and authentically, but as we grow up, we are taught to conform to established norms. Society tells us that success and security are to be found by following a predefined path. However, any deviation from this path is considered a bad decision.

It is difficult to be different, as it is associated with being wrong or rebellious. We all want to be accepted, and often sacrifice our authenticity to fit into the established mould. But we must be aware that this makes us vulnerable, as our happiness depends on the recognition of others.

If we stop for a moment our frenetic pace of life and reflect on the role society plays in shaping our identity and behaviour, we will realise that we are constantly influenced by the norms and expectations around us. From birth, we are immersed in a social environment that teaches us how to behave, what values to adopt and what goals to pursue. These social norms act as invisible guides that shape our decisions and determine our actions.

Society presents us with a set of behavioural models that are considered as ideals to follow. Those who conform to these models are generally admired and applauded, while those who deviate from them are often marginalised or criticised. This social pressure to conform to established expectations can have a significant impact on our self-esteem and personal satisfaction.

It is interesting to note how, from an early age, we are taught to suppress our natural impulses and conform to social norms. Children, who are the epitome of spontaneity and authenticity, quickly learn to conform to adult expectations and behave in “acceptable” ways according to social standards. This process of socialisation leads us to internalise societal norms and values, and to conform to the “prescribed path” that is presented to us as the only way to success and happiness.

However, this conformity to societal norms can lead to a sense of inner emptiness and lack of authenticity. We often find ourselves sacrificing our own needs and desires in order to fit into the mould society has created for us. This disconnect between who we really are and what society expects of us can lead to feelings of alienation, frustration and dissatisfaction.

It is essential to recognise that the pursuit of happiness and success should not be dictated by societal norms, but by our own authenticity and genuineness. Those who have achieved true happiness and success are those who have had the courage to defy social expectations and follow their own path, even when it meant swimming against the tide. These people have cultivated their inner self, spent time on personal growth and learned to value their uniqueness and authenticity.

The path to your true purpose

Scientific evidence supports the idea that defying the current at certain times is essential to strengthening our happiness and achieving personal fulfilment. In a world where the majority of people, approximately 90%, experience some degree of dissatisfaction with their lives, only a small percentage, around 10%, consider themselves to be fully happy and successful. This contrast reveals the importance of exploring alternative paths, even contrary to the mainstream, to find true happiness.

What is the secret behind this small percentage of satisfied individuals? Many of them have discovered that going against the grain is a fundamental part of their journey to happiness and success. They have had the courage to defy societal expectations and established norms, choosing to follow their own path and develop their inner self. Instead of conforming to what is expected of them, they have actively sought their unique purpose and have dedicated time and effort to their personal growth.

However, the path of going against the grain is not without its challenges. Those who choose this path must face criticism, doubts and obstacles along the way. From the scepticism of others to internal uncertainty, every step forward can seem like a battle. But it is precisely these battles that strengthen their resolve and allow them to grow as individuals.

Finding authentic success and happiness therefore involves more than simply following society’s beaten path. It requires courage, authenticity and a willingness to challenge established norms. By swimming against the tide, we are embracing our uniqueness and forging our own destiny. It is in this act of defiance that we find true freedom and personal fulfilment.


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