What is it about not wanting to stand out from the crowd?
Most people are very content and happy to be like everyone else, being part of a group, the same as everyone else seems to be a safe, accepted way of living. But my question is ” does it make you happy?”
Let’s look at this more closely. Where does this way of thinking come from and does it serve us?
Most of us grow up with a mindset that is often installed in us by our parents and others around us that it is ok to follow other people’s behavior. In fact it is the right thing to do and sticking your head up to be different is considered to be cocky and wanting to show off.
I remember my mother telling me numerous times while I was a child that I was nothing special, not as smart as other people and that it was safer for me to keep my head down and do what everyone else was doing so I wouldn’t be disappointed when I was failing.
Thank god I was a rebellious child and didn’t always listen to my parents.
Fear of failure seems to have a lot to do with that philosophy of following others. If we do what everyone else does we can’t fail or if we do it is not so obvious. Following someone who we perceive to be smarter can also get us into a lot of trouble and we just need to look through history to find plenty of proof for that.
The other big fear seems to be what other people think of us. Again being like everyone else around us and doing what everyone else does is a much safer option because there is less judgement.
But does it make you happy? Does it allow you to become an individual and develop your potential?
What we see in our equestrian sport is trends come and go. New ways of how to school our horses, how to improve their movement for dressage and how to get them jumping better. Gadgets come and go and there is an instructor who is flavour of the month and everyone goes to them.
One person says do this and the other one do that; we run around in circles trying to do the best by everyone and end up with nothing other then a frustrated horse and rider.
This might seem a bit gloomy but I think you get the point I am making.
So what is the answer?
Let’s start by getting really comfortable with who you are. Look at yourself with everything that makes you so special because it is different to everyone else, your talents and your individuality. I know this can be a bit challenging so a good exercise to do is to write out a list of all your talents and achievements and I promise you will be amazed how many you come up with.
When it comes to riding listen to what others tell you but then be brave enough to make your own decisons, taking on some of the advice and leaving aside what doesn’t fit. Remember no one knows you and your horse as well as you do.
Now that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t listen to anyone it means that you have to trust your own judgement and to surround yourself with people who nurture and encourage you.
The best way to grow is to mak plenty of mistakes and learn from them, playing it safe doesn’t get you anywhere. Be prepared to be different and if you fail your first attempt it doesn’t mean you are not good enough, it just means you need to tweak a thing or two.
When it comes to riding, form solid foundations instead of the quick fixes which seem to be the trend at the moment. Sometimes taking longer to get there also means you stay there for longer.
You can still be humble while trusting your own judgement and sometimes going against the stream.
Greatness is never achieved by following others and doing what everyone else does, this approach at best lets you achieve mediocrity.
So instead of being part of the herd stick your head up, look for the nearby hill and make your way there. Sometimes it might seem to be lonely but the view is so much better up there and you’ll be amazed how many others will come and join you.