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Stuck because it’s the norm?

“Roberta, what are you going to do for your retirement?” the financial planner asked me.

“Retirement? Why would I ever retire if I have my health and love what I am doing?” I asked her.c420546_m

“Well everyone wants to retire and enjoy life. Everyone knows that retirement  is  what people expect to do after working hard for forty or so years.”

” But I’ve always enjoyed my life and I’ve done most of the things that retired people do. I enjoy my hobbies and I enjoy adventures and I enjoy helping people so retirement is not even an option I consider.”

“Yes but that is what is expected. People work all their life, save and invest so that they can reach retirement and have money to do what they enjoy.”  The financial planner was obviously exasperated and really could not understand why at retirement age, we wanted to look at new financial adventurers.

Doing what is expected has never been the norm for us.

Declaring the Death Knell for the NORM

If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you know that getting out of stuck means avoiding the moral imperatives, the shoulds and musts. To stay out of stuck takes staying in control of YOU.

When we live by “norms” or other people’s expectations or standards, then we risk not only getting stuck but also having our success stolen.

When you live as other’s expect, do the normal things, you can be happy and enjoy life but many people want more.

Research reports that people who take drugs, binge drink or leap of high bridges with an elastic around their legs do it to forget they are stuck or to get a high that takes them out of the normal. They want to get out of stuck and away from the monotony of their life.

Doing the norm, doing what is expected is a death sentence for many people so now is the time to ring the death knoll for the norm. It is time to stop looking at tick boxes and categorizing people into groups and boxes and telling them that they are failures, freaks and unnatural because they are unable to fit the norm.

Marketing and politics have done the human race a disservice. When people are thought of as target markets, sets of similar problems or a homogenous group that behaves in a certain way, then it is time to change the norm. Let’s kill the norm and find another way of treating people.

Are you the NORM?

Of course not!

There is no norm. You are unique. You are special. While marketers and sociologists, bankers and politicians, anthropologists and statisticians want to find norms so that they can sell us products and services or control our actions and reactions, we have a free will that allows us to say NO.

You can control your choices. Even the laws are unable to force you to behave in a certain way. You choose. Choose because it reduces complications. Choose because you have other things you want to do in your life. Man made constructs and conditions can be resisted.

You have the ability to choose your thoughts  your actions and your words. The next time someone tells you that you can’t or shouldn’t do something, thank them and then if it matters to you, find a way to do it anyway. No one can stop a determined person from doing something that matters to them.

Remember that determined, passionate, purposeful people change the conditions we live in.

Today commit to being ab-normal, outside the norm. Since no one really can define what the norm is, why would you want to be normal?

Share how you are ab-normal in the comments.

I know that I am ab-normal. I learned that being normal is a rut that truly relates to the coffin and feels like death. Being ab-normal is challenging but comes with great wins and lots of fun. Are you enjoying fun?

To your success.

Roberta Budvietas, Performance Optimiser,



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{ 11 comments… add one }

  • bonooobong April 30, 2013, 6:00 am

    The norm is only a line, the average, nobody is exactly normal, it means that there are as many people above this line as under it. So we cannot judge anybody who is above or under that imaginary line, which is defined by the society, by culture, traditions etc…
    bonooobong recently posted..Hírek a 3D nyomtatás világábólMy Profile

    • Roberta Budvietas April 30, 2013, 7:56 am

      We can only judge ourselves anyway but the challenge many people have is the experience around the norm and they feel they need to meet it. You are so right about it merely being a line with 50% above and 50% below so really quite meaningless

  • Gabi May 5, 2013, 9:17 pm

    If normal means good, everybody want to be normal. If normal is declared by the society it is the only acceptable behavior in social communities. But actually nobody is normal. But everybody pretends to be normal.
    Gabi recently posted..Schöne FrühlingswochenendenMy Profile

    • Roberta Budvietas May 6, 2013, 6:47 am

      And there is the challenge Gabi. Because we are all unique what is normal. And yet judgements seem to be made against an arbitrary standard. Thanks for commenting

  • Darius Mendez May 28, 2013, 2:47 am

    What are your thoughts? Are you willing to accept the new (ab)normal as the norm? I hope not.
    Darius Mendez recently posted..No last blog posts to return.My Profile

    • Roberta Budvietas May 28, 2013, 8:28 am

      Darius, I try very hard to set my own norms. It makes it a real challenge for many people who want me to live to their standards rather than my own.

  • Mac B. Mckenzie June 17, 2013, 7:04 am

    What are your thoughts? Are you willing to accept the new (ab)normal as the norm? I hope not.
    Mac B. Mckenzie recently posted..No last blog posts to return.My Profile

  • Kathryn G. Bruce June 19, 2013, 4:16 am

    What are your thoughts? Are you willing to accept the new (ab)normal as the norm? I hope not.
    Kathryn G. Bruce recently posted..No last blog posts to return.My Profile

    • Roberta Budvietas June 19, 2013, 8:28 am

      Kathryn, I have not now nor ever in the past been “normal” And I intend to keep pushing my limits and asking questions and seeking better answers. How about you?

  • Mike Huiwitz July 28, 2013, 7:40 pm

    Sometimes I don’t like what the norm dictates us to do. I say live and let live.
    Mike Huiwitz recently posted..get my ex backMy Profile

    • Roberta Budvietas August 1, 2013, 8:07 am

      There is the nub of the challenge Mike. Why allow the”norm” to dictate anything

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