When I was much younger I use to be somewhat influenced by peer pressure and by what was in-style at the moment. In comparison to today, the pressures I faced were slight. Todays young people are facing more pressure then ever before through the vast media blitz that impacts them constantly. I’ve seen good kids do stupid things because it seemed like the thing to do or seemed to provided them a way to conform to a marketed false coolness.
If there’s one rule I’ve learned it’s that you have to know your own mind and you have to do and say what you believe is right, your core values, even if it’s not the popular thing at that moment. People who compromise on what they believe in order to take advantage of current fads most often lose out in the long run. They also are not being true to themselves, and there’s a real personal cost to that as well.
This fast paced, interconnected world we live in today has changed many of the rules regarding marketing, business processes, and personal interactions, but it hasn’t changed this rule. A little off the topic, but Seth Godin expressed a similar statement in a recent post concerning a story about marketing:
Letting your customers set your standards is a dangerous game, because the race to the bottom is pretty easy to win. Setting your own standards–and living up to them–is a better way to profit. Not to mention a better way to make your day worth all the effort you put into it.
All those you interact with on a daily basis are your “customers”. This includes your coworkers, you friends, and your family. Now this doesn’t mean that in those areas where there is room you shouldn’t compromise for your “customers” sake. Of course you should do that. But there needs to be core values or standards that you stay true to. For me, keeping my own standards is all about how I feel about myself at the end of the day.