Have you ever stopped and wondered, “Why do some people go through their entire life working aimlessly like robots?” Is this their personal choice or are they conditioned to be this way? Well, you could make a pretty good argument that both of these reasons are a contributing factor. Obviously, no one wants to be considered a robot. However, people do not realize that our society is slowly training you to be one, at a very early age.
When you were a child, you were conditioned to wait for a sound or a voice to tell you when to move, start, and finish.
“Don’t touch that.”
“Wait until I tell you to start.”
“Don’t express your opinion, even if you believe you’re right.”
When you were in school, the sound of a bell controlled your actions. The first bell was designed to tell you when to start. As soon as you heard the bell, you were conditioned to get serious and focus on your work. [“Pay attention.”]
The bells after that, indicated it was time to transition to the next class. Once you arrived there, once again–you were required to get serious and focus on the next subject. Your school day would end at the sound of the final bell. [“You can leave, now.”] This was always an indication you could finally relax. That is, until you arrived home or at practice (sport, etc.) We have been using the bell system since the 19th century. For more detailed information about it, visit: http://americanhistory.si.edu/blog/-school-bells
Make no mistake, I’m not saying anything negative about the education system. I am simply pointing out the fact that from a very early age, our lives are structured. We are told when to do things, how to do them, how long we can do them, and when to stop doing them.
Your Adult Life
The same concepts apply in the workplace. You rely on a time clock to dertimine when you get serious and when you’re allowed to relax. Even if you dont use a time clock, things called “deadlines” or “suspenses” have the same impact on you.
Although you can’t necessarily change or influence the way your employer or organization operates, you can change the way you operate. At some point, you must understand that change starts with you. Going through life like a robot does not serve you or anyone in your circle of influence.
My recommendation: make a schedule or write down your daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly goals. By taking the initiative to write these things down, you will place yourself back in the driver seat of your life. You establish what your day will look like so you can have the day you want, instead of settling for what the day gives you. When you operate like a robot, you’re in the passenger seat or sometimes in the back seat. Meaning, you’re not in change of where you’re going in your life.
Making a schedule is not where it stops, though. You must learn to rediscover your voice. Remember, you were conditioned at a very early age not to speak your mind.
“Don’t say that. Just keep quiet.”
Instead of sitting back in the meeting listening to the wrong information being discussed, you have the courage and professionalism to say, “Mike, the packet actually consists of five documents and not three.” The robot mentality would have kept you quiet and allowed the major mistake to occur. “I’m not speaking up.”
This is called thinking outside of the box. The box is your comfort zone, aka where you were conditioned to stay so you can function like a robot. Thinking outside of the box is how you grow in both your personal and professional life. Therefore, it is incredibly important for you to take control of your life sooner than later. The older you get, the more habits you build. When you’re functioning like a robot, your habits are based on robot principles.
Thinking outside of the box will make you unique.
Something to consider: once you step out of your comfort zone, several things will change. Some people will misunderstand you, roll their eyes at you (negative body language), some may even avoid you, and overall dislike you. Why? Because you no longer function as a robot. Therefore, you’re a threat or an outsider because you’re not part of the norm.
When this happens, you must stay the course. The obstacle is the path. You’re are not a robot. You are a unique person that has value.
For more tips on breaking away from the norm: