• Tom Marshall

Being yourself in a world that wants you to be somebody else

I've conquered one of my biggest fears: not belonging. I literally broke through it, with those words written on a wooden plank that I split during a Tony Robbins event last October.


Overcoming this fear enabled me to place myself in a position that contradicted social norms, heavily: sitting cross-legged in the middle of a pedestrian crossing, facing oncoming traffic – part of a peaceful, disruptive protest. Social norms are the unwritten "rules that prescribe what people should and should not do given their social surroundings." They subconsciously influence our values, feelings and behaviour. Our entire being.


When you break a social norm, the group excludes you.

Sitting on that road, angry drivers verbally abused me and hooted at me. Mainstream media brands climate activists as “crazy hippies.”


But going against social norms is sometimes the cost of living a meaningful life. If I lived like most other university-educated white guys, I'd be working a "passable" job, trapped by debt, working 50 hours a week to earn money to buy things I don’t need to impress people I don’t like. Now, who's the crazy one?


Ironically, I feel like I belong more than ever. Not within the larger society, but as part of my new tribe. My activist community shares my beliefs and values, normalising them. They celebrated my arrest and congratulated me as I left the police station. Like me, your friends and family can define new social norms, operating outside society and creating a group where you belong.


Who's your tribe? Who are the people that share your beliefs and values? If you don’t know them, seek them out. As my first life principle states: “you are more than enough, be yourself. Show your authentic self to attract what you desire.”

I like to think that as a reader of my blog, you're also part of my community. Let's break through the social norms holding us back from living a meaningful life. Let's create a new normal together.