"Time for breakfast!"
"You should go play outside, you are spending too much time on the tablet!"
"Have you done your homework?"
"You should exercise more often".
"Watching too much television creates a sedentary lifestyle".
"Having a glass of water before your day starts will bring you health benefits".
"Hey, its already dinnertime!"
From the time we were born, we were conditioned to behave in a certain way in our daily lives. We are expected to react in a certain way according to the circumstances we are in. Many different forms of social conditioning that we go through are meant to benefit us, they might arise from the natural reaction to survive as in the case of having meals at stipulated times, keeping ourselves clean to prevent bacterial infection, keeping, not getting too close to people you are not familiar with.
However, social conditioning, as its name suggests, are conditioning of behaviours and mental processes by the society, based on a set of perceived moral authority and values, some can be empirically proven in terms of its benefits, like going to bed early on a regular basis, some cannot.
I am sure you would have heard of Pavlov’s dogs; where every time a bell is rang, food would be provided for a couple of dogs in a scientific experiment. Then there was a period of time where the bell would be rang and no food would be provided and since the dogs have been conditioned to ‘know’ that food would be provided every time the bell is rang, they start to salivate even when food was not provided at all.
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The same effect may exist among us. We have been conditioned to think and react in a certain way by the society, by the media, by popular entertainment.
The challenges arise when social conditioning becomes all encompassing. We might not be effectively conditioned by the larger society or the popular culture that surrounds us but the people that is within our periphery, our family, our neighbours, our colleagues, our acquaintances and our friends. It is impossible to free ourselves completely from social conditioning, it requires tremendous effort which can literally zap our energy dry, the culture that you come from will have a great impact on the minds of the people that surrounds you and if the culture does not influence you, the people around you will. Social conditioning only becomes damning when we accept their roles in our lives without questioning their existence.
Harness our intellectual capacity and our set of talents by continuous self development, reading , listening to podcasts. Continue to grow to fulfil your fullest potential. Harness your hidden talents. Your level of success will eventually be limited by your level of personal growth.
Until then, as long as we accept the conditioning that the society imposes on us, our achievements will be limited by how progressive our the immediate society that surrounds us are . How much we will grow will be limited or enhanced by the framework of thinking and practices that surrounds us.
Written by Abraham A.L on 19th Feb 2016
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