Social programming is the process by which concepts and beliefs of the society in which we live are ingrained into our psyche. These ideas are often given to us by figures of authority such as our parents, teachers, spiritual leaders, and outside authorities such as politicians. The power of social programming is that it preserves knowledge across generations and teaches children the cultural trends that their society wants to perpetuate. Unfortunately, social programming can be just as restrictive as it can be beneficial. Compounding this problem is the issue that social programming is not an overt action. We do not attend school in order to be socially programmed. Rather, we learn these lessons through social interactions with our peers and adults, through consuming information and entertainment such as books, television, or listening to music on the radio. It is a subtle process that has a profound impact on our development as individuals and our eventual happiness as adults.
Parents have an especially significant impact on our social programming. This is why family generations can be largely grouped together by their successes or failures. We understand concepts such as professional or political families because these individuals grow up in a social circle that places value on their professional success. There are just as many families whose misfortune has been perpetuated from one generation to the other. And yet, we don’t always have to be a product of our social programming. In fact, recognizing the impact that social programming has on our lives is a crucial step in taking control of the individual we want to become and the life we want to lead.
Case in point, accomplished entrepreneur Dean Kosage wasn’t supported by a professionally-driven family. He was raised by his single mother on boats off the coast of Florida, barely making a living. This start in life is quite the contrast to Dean’s life now as one of the most respected entrepreneurs in the US. As he said in a recent interview with the Unmistakable Creative: “Anyone who has broken out of their social circle…you can tap into your inner authority. Maybe you’re outgrowing the culture of your church, mentor, etc., you have to sit back and think, is this creating dependency or creating wings to help me fly away?” For Dean, realizing that he needed to direct his own life’s course helped him break free from this social programming and become the industry leader that he is today.