Marley for breakfast: How our culture shapes our lives and us?

While watching the trailer of Bob Marley: One Love in the dark of the cinema, I suddenly remembered a story that made me ask deep questions about the relationship between our roots and our identity.

How profoundly does where we are born and the environment that surrounds us affect our lives?

Does it really define who we are, or do we have the power to take control into our own hands?

I was in the cinema the other day and they were showing a trailer for Bob Marley: One Love , and I remembered a good story. This story is about a man who spent his childhood in Jamaica.

He told me that every morning at school the class would sing Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” to start the day. So from the morning, the children were given a basic mood, belief, direction and feeling that defined their whole day. I have to say that this man was not the worried type when he grew up. He took obstacles in his stride, he was determined, but he didn’t push the process. At least not apparently.

This memory inspired me to examine: does our culture really define us or do we have an influence on it?

I believe that the culture we are born into undoubtedly has a profound influence on who we are. Our language, values, behaviours and ways of thinking are shaped in large part by the environment and society in which we grow up.

The example of a childhood in Jamaica illustrates perfectly for me how culture can shape our identity, as singing in the morning not only marked the start of the day, but also conveyed a sense of community and a certain worldview. Children could relate to this (instead of, say, “be quiet and sit down” ).

However, as we grow up and experience more of the world, we have the opportunity to influence the extent to which we allow our culture to shape our lives. The conscious choices we make throughout our lives – whether it’s about career, friendships, lifestyle or even personal beliefs – allow us to shape our own identity. This does not mean that we completely break away from our roots, but we have the opportunity to add new elements that reflect our individual choices and experiences. We may have been born into a certain environment, where there are habits, patterns of behaviour, but we cannot identify with them. Just because we are part of a system every day does not mean we want to be part of that system in the future.

In the age of globalisation and the internet , the boundaries between cultures are increasingly blurred, allowing us to see the world from a wider perspective. And it’s wonderful! It is a challenging process, but also an opportunity to learn from and be inspired by other cultures, and perhaps even incorporate some of their elements into our own lives.

After all, while our culture is a powerful force that shapes our personality and worldview, we are also shapers of who we are through our personal choices and experiences.

The extent to which we allow our culture to influence our lives, or choose to transcend it and explore new paths, is ultimately a matter of individual choice. Right? Just like the morning songs in Jamaica, our own choices set the direction and determine the life we live.

Because it is the free man who has a choice, and I wish with all my heart that everyone has one!

But maybe it’s not that simple and balsamic…

I usually try to think and contemplate in a less polarised way, but this time I’m going to stick to the old black and white line. Because everything is so simple with extremes 🙂

Some were born into difficult circumstances, others grew up in a golden cage. This diversity further complicates the question of whether our culture really defines us or whether we are influenced by it. Different starting points and life paths show that individual experiences have a profound impact on how we relate to and shape our own culture.

People growing up in difficult circumstances often face obstacles that others cannot imagine. These obstacles are challenges, but they also give them the opportunity to grow stronger and become the heroes of their own story. Going through struggles and hardships often develops traits and values that become the defining characteristics of their personalities. These people often become messengers of change, able to transform not only their own lives (destiny) but also their community or even society (you know, there is that certain selfmade..) 😉

On the other hand, those who have grown up in a gold cage also face specific challenges. Although their opportunities and resources may be (and are) greater, they often feel pressured by expectations and predestination. (Your dad is a lawyer, you should be one too, we need that in the family and that “dr”). For them, influencing culture often means questioning and reassessing the environment and values into which they were born. For those growing up in a golden cage, finding their own path and identity often means stepping outside their comfort zone and facing who they are, regardless of external expectations.

For both groups, the challenges and opportunities in their life paths show that while our culture provides important foundations, we have the power to influence how much we allow these circumstances to define us.

What I see is that the choices we make in our lives, facing our struggles (the “I’m in”) and finding our own way, all contribute to becoming active participants in shaping our own culture and therefore the direction of our own lives, because we make the choices.

Aletta Nagy-Kozma

Aletta Focus Marketing