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  • Kashish Jumani

The Comfort of Conformity

The pressure to conform, to be liked, to be included is very hard to resist. It is ingrained in the nature of our being. Ranging back to the stone age where men went hunting to be in the likeness of their peers to today where we give into the hammering burden of feeling "alike". When we were young, our parents mostly chose our peers. But as we grew more independent and hopefully more mature, peers came to play the role in our life - We never thought they would. Today, more than ever, the feeling of being included has been given a rather heavy propulsion by social media’s instant gratification. Peer pressure mostly stems from the comfort of belonging, which is a part of our innate humanity.

I distinctly remember a time when I gave into this influence. In a competitive world like the one we live in, giving your best is not enough unless it is synonymous with the best. That is motivation, undeniable, but most of the time we do not realise the cost at which it comes. All my peers around working terribly hard, giving nearly fourteen hours a day to their goals. They made me believe they slept for four hours a day and practically fit every aspect from academics to extra-curricular activities in their routine. I too, like the imbecile felt dispirited and crestfallen because I was not working as hard as they were. This is mostly converse to the convention of instances we hear of peer pressure. I started emulating their patterns. Slept for four hours a day, tried to fit in almost everything in a single day without giving my brain, body or peace of mind a break. By the fourth day of following the so- called "hustle" which in reality is punishment in the name of self-discipline, my body gave up, felt delirious, tired, unconscious, almost like I was not retaining anything I read. That made me furious. It made me question my willpower and self-control. Did I not have it in me? Were my peers’ better achievers than I could ever be? The more I tortured myself with the lifestyle which was not made for me, the more unrealistic my expectations of myself became.

This brought me to the realisation that most people view peer pressure as a poor reflection on themselves. If we see someone wake up at 6am, eat a healthy breakfast, workout, work terribly hard to achieve what they want- we instantly think there is some insatiable inner demon driving them. What we do not realise is that they truly enjoy it. While it is perfectly fair that you might NOT. Do not let the feeling or comfort of being included exclude you from realising your own capabilities. As Bruce Lee said, “I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you are not in this world to live up to mine”- embrace your uniqueness, because it is what makes you, you.

~Kashish Jumani, Batch of 2019-20

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