In my 31 years of life, I have only been bombarded by the concept that social intelligence and social networks are crucial to accomplish any and everything in life, and that man/woman is a social animal. I think, we are overdoing this notion, and we are underselling individuality.
Yes, we need friends, family and kindred spirits. We need a companion or companions. We need people who can inspire us, who can help us grow, who challenge us to improve, who love us, who critique our work, and who pull us up when we are down and out. We need people - more than anything - to share our legacy of life - our laughter, our problems and sorrows, our philosophy, and our pettiness. All that is understandable. But sometimes, we take our people neediness to a whole new level. Sometimes, we feel the need to please people, to fit in with people and to seek their approval and accolades. Sometimes our whole course of action or series of actions are based on this notion that we are obligated to the people in our life to be and do what they need and want us to be and do; that they are entitled to a part of you or whole of you just because they are a part of your life.
We live in a world with billions of people. That is a huge number. What astounds me is that our notions of success and failure are so universal and unified, and that we are so reluctant to branch out and explore for ourselves what the meaning of life and our existence is. We think and act - more or less - the same way. We dress the same, we chase after the same degrees and we die trying to fulfill the way of life prescribed by society. Why? How is it possible that on a planet with so many people, we are all so morbidly and scarily alike? Dont you see it? Its a problem when people feel like they have to be just like each other. That way of thinking breeds so much of intolerance, and ostracizing those that are different. Gay, lesbians, atheists and anyone who dares to express their individuality and eccentricity and personality are condemned to such brutal and harsh behavior that we should be ashamed of our goddamn need to be so alike and average and mundane.
Success does not need you to be a social animal. Success needs you to a real person, owe up to the truth of your existence, and to be brave and determined, and to work your brains, sweat and heart off, to sacrifice what is easy for what is right, and to work on your goal and dream for all of eternity. Do not forsake your freedom, and your intelligence just to be like everyone else and to belong where you don't fit in. The tunnel of conforming mindlessly does not have a light at its end, but the subtle truth that you have wasted your life.
Individuality is what gets you started on the path to your highest self. We live in a world, and are part of institutions and clubs where nobody talks about dreams and calling, spirituality and truth, honesty and peace of mind. What we have here is a factory that’s churning identical products with as identical specifications as possible, and any deviation is treated as a bad product with no future. All products that conform will sell and the ones that don't will not sell. You have to turn off the constant stream of input from the world, and go on a journey by yourself to explore the potential of your consciousness and to develop the habits and to seek experiences that will get you closer to being who you truly are, and to live your dream. The journey to growth and achieving your dreams is a lonely road, and if you are lucky, you might attract kindred spirits who share your vision. But you cannot go backwards - cling to people and their notions, society and its expectations, and achieve anything of value that your core and inner voice will be proud of.
Being an individual means honoring your consciousness, your eccentricity and your originality. For its individuals that change the world, and that rise above a mediocre legacy that society is perpetuating. I have come across many people who have commented on my inability to produce as many words as is the average rate prescribed by the society. I have been told I am weirdly shy - again a trait that society doesn't approve of. But not one person has ever acknowledged my thoughtfulness, my independence, my individuality. It took me all of last two decades to switch off their voice and to turn on my inner voice. I am not looking for understanding or acceptance from anyone. I have come to the conclusion that the world does not honor individuality, and that certain labels like extrovert, confident are more powerful than introvert and shy.
Its a sad legacy we have spawned - not only do we make it harder for someone to be their own unique, individual person, but we also condemn, mock and alienate them for their way of being. From my experience, I can say that the way to your calling and inner peace and the truth of your existence is to be an individual with your own ideas, eccentricity and inner voice, and to blaze your own crazy, weird trail to success and a meaningful life.