How to Be Immune to Peer Pressure
HOW TO BE IMMUNE TO PEER PRESSURE
If you look at a list of the top regrets that people have on their deathbed, the number one regret is that they wish they had lived life the way they wanted to, rather than living the life that others expected them to. And even a lot of the other regrets that people have at the end of their life (like wishing they hadn't worked so hard) could probably be linked to peer pressure.
Most of the e-mails I get are about diet, and the majority of these e-mails are asking if I have advice for how to follow a diet during social situations when everyone around them isn't on a diet.
So I wanted to devote a chapter to "peer pressure" and how to become immune to it...
1. PEER PRESSURE TO HAVE MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES
Some people end up going through life with "multiple personalities" and will act different around different people.
An example of this would be a man who has a very "family friendly" vocabulary and sense of humor when he is at home with his wife and kids, but when he goes to work and is with his male co-workers virtually everything that he says and does would be completely unacceptable behavior when he is at home.
The two personalities that he displays are so radically different that it makes you wonder which one is the real one, or if neither of them are genuine and he simply behaves however he feels will get him accepted.
Do you have an authentic personality that is the same no matter who you are with? Start catching yourself whenever you feel the need to act differently around different people and remind yourself of quotes like the ones below...
"The reward for conformity is that everyone likes you, except you."
- Rita Mae Brown
"We forfeit three-fourths of ourselves in order to be like other people."
- Arthur Schopenhauer
"If you desire to make a difference in the world, you must be different from the world."
- Elaine S. Dalton
"Care about what other people think, and you will always be their prisoner."
- Lao Tzu
"Be yourself and you can be anything."
- Katy Perry
"If you genuinely like yourself, you'll never feel alone."
"Stay true to yourself. An original is worth more than a copy. "
- Suzy Kassem
"Being the best is great, because you're number one. But being unique is greater, because you're the only one."
2. PEER PRESSURE TO ATTEND SOCIAL EVENTS
When people get invitations to go to a someone's wedding, graduation, or baby shower, these "invitations" are actually "obligations" for a lot of people, because they would be too afraid to say "No".
If social events make sticking to a diet or staying sober problematic for you (or if you're an "introvert" and you really just don't want to go to these kinds of things) you're not alone, and you have the right not to go to them.
If you are too uncomfortable to simply say, "No thank you." to people's invitations, I would encourage you to tell them that you have to work that day. (And keep in mind that it's not a lie to say that you will be working that day if you are an artist and you are going to be working on a creative project that day, or if you are on a personal health journey and you are going to be working-out or doing any other self-work that day.)
Even if you aren't getting a paycheck to do yoga or work on your art, that doesn't make it any less important than the work that you would be doing if you were working at regular a 9-5 job somewhere. (And if it is your dream to someday be getting a paycheck for doing what you love, then you should take what you love seriously enough that you show up for it consistently.)
If you have a favorite musician, actor, or athlete, try to imagine all of the sacrifices that they probably had to make over the years. (Including missing countless social events that they were invited to because of how devoted they are to their craft.)
And if it seems "selfish" to want to work on yourself, consider the following...
3. PEER PRESSURE TO FOLLOW TRADITIONS
Although some of the holidays that people celebrate may have started off as well meaning concepts, over the years they have almost all evolved into nothing more than a time when everyone is encouraged to over-eat and over-spend. (And some of the holidays have degenerated into nothing more than an excuse for everyone to get drunk.)
Holidays can be very destructive, and if you don't believe me please consider the following...
- There are more heart attacks on "Thanksgiving" than any other day of the year.
- There are more drunk driving fatalities on "New Year's Day" than any other day of the year.
- There are more cases of depression during the "Holiday Season" than at any other time of the year.
If you don't vibe with certain holidays, or if you find that it is difficult to stay healthy and happy because of them, let them go of these traditions, and be proud to be the one in your circle of peers who finally breaks them...
4. PEER PRESSURE TO SMOKE, DRINK, AND DO DRUGS
If you are on this website, it is probably because you are interested in health, and nobody who genuinely wants to be healthy would purposely fill their body with massive amounts of toxins in an attempt to become "intoxicated".
The average child is warned over 10,000 times about the dangers of cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs, but due to "peer pressure" few kids make it to adulthood without trying them anyways.
The first time someone tries these things their body will immediately reject them through coughing, vomiting, and sickness to let them know that it simply can't handle these things, but because of "peer pressure" they decide to try these things again and again until they eventually build up a tolerance (and an addiction) to them.
I was fortunate to have met a lot of people at a very young age who's main goal in life was to simply stop smoking, stop drinking, or stop taking the drugs that had destroyed their life, so I never did any of these things, and for anyone out who is feeling pressured to do these things, I would just like to remind you that your body is the only possession you have that you are guaranteed to own for the rest of your life, so please take good care of it.
5. PEER PRESSURE TO GET MARRIED
In some parts of the world "arranged marriages" are still practiced, and although the idea of letting your parents decide who you will marry might sound crazy to most of us, the truth is that "arranged marriages" are still happening everywhere, but they are mostly happening through "peer pressure"...
If a couple gets married just because they are afraid of how their parents would react if they were living together or had children together and weren't married first, or if they are afraid to get married because of how their parents would react to them marrying a certain person, then they are no better off than couples who are in "arranged marriages".
Couples also feel pressured to spend a lot of money on their weddings these days.
In the past weddings cost virtually nothing, but in recent years they have become yet another example of how people have found a way to charge money for one of life's most basic experiences (falling in love) and they have done this by convincing everyone that the ultimate "symbol of love" is having an expensive wedding.
When I hear people talking about weddings these days, the price of the wedding is "somehow" public knowledge, and the price tends the focal point. (People will be discussing the $80,000 wedding their co-worker recently had or the $12,000,000 wedding that a famous celebrity is about to have, and the fact that the number one cause of divorce these days is "financial difficulties" should make new couples stop and think before following this trend.)
6. PEER PRESSURE TO HAVE A CERTAIN JOB
If you ask 100 children right before their very first day of school what they want to be when they grow up, you will probably get a lot of answers such as, "An Astronaut", "The President", or even "A Superhero". But if you asked these same kids on the day they graduated High School what they wanted to do with their life, you would likely find that most of them no longer have the enthusiasm they once had, and that many of them now have no idea what they want to do with their life, due to all of the limiting beliefs that they were taught in school.
Up until around age 5 a child's mind is like a sponge that will absorb any new and interesting information that it gets exposed to, and children will literally ask hundreds of questions a day because of how curious they are about the world around them. But then they are forced to start going to school, and once this happens their incredible love for learning starts to dissolve, and after 12 years of this many of them will be left uninspired.
College can be beneficial for those who genuinely want to be there, but a lot of people feel pressured to go to college just because their parents have been saving for their college education ever since they were children, or because they want to have a certain job that they think will impress people. (And sadly, a lot of people who go to college do so through the help of "student loans" which results in so much financial debt that they regret ever going.)
I am not encouraging you to not get an education. Far from it. I am encouraging you to appreciate the fact that we are living in a time when ANYONE can learn about ANYTHING they want to thanks to the internet. But you MUST regain a child-like curiosity and love for learning, because without it there are simply too many mindless distractions on the internet that will limit your learning.
And of course, it is important to remember what most important job in the world to have really is...
A SHORT SCENE FROM THE MOVIE "PEACEFUL WARRIOR"