The priest at my church yesterday told a funny story from his life prior to entering religious life. He started out his sermon by relating that he loved animals but that the dumbest of them are sheep, as they just graze and walk and not care about where they are going; sheep need someone to lead them. His story was from his life before entering the priesthood where he worked at Disney World; a long line had formed, with people waiting 45 minutes, not really knowing what they were in line for – turns out the line was for the bathroom!
We are a nation of followers, or sheeple, just doing what others do just because. Some call it the ‘herd effect,’ ‘crowd psychology,’ or ‘conforming’ all of which means that one goes along with a crowd, irregardless of the reason. The concept of group-think also comes into play, where one may not want to go against the thoughts of the group they are in out of some fear of reprisal; the Challenger shuttle disaster was the result of group-think.
Why is that people are so willing to go along with the crowd and not stand out on their own beliefs? It comes down to a fear of some kind – not wanting to be the ‘odd man out;’ not wanting to make someone mad; not wanting to let others see how vulnerable we are; not wanting to look weak or less than; wanting to (overly) please someone else for their love or something they will give (such as money).
There can be a myriad of reasons why someone will follow the crowd but it does not lead to their happiness – only frustration and, sometimes, steep consequences. Knowing your value and beliefs, and sticking to them – even if it goes against what others think – is scary but is truly the way to inner peace. As scary as it sounds, being a ‘disruptor’ (I love this word) will truly put you out front of the pack and can lead to a life-fulfilled.
Think of many people who went against the crowd and the advances they made, such as: Walt Disney, the Wright Brothers, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and even Mother Teresa, to name a few. These individuals had dreams and were brave enough to step away from what others were doing, even though they were laughed at, ostracized or shunned. They weren’t willing to be a ‘sheeple’ – they disrupted the status quo and to make their dreams a reality, which we now are reaping the rewards of flying on airplanes, all of the technological devices we use to make our work and life easier, and to visit the happiest place on earth.
So what will you do to not be a crowd-follower? You must follow your own path and believe in yourself in following your heart. It will be scary and can tap into some insecurities you’ve been carrying around. You can be the leader of your own path, being firm in what you know; it’s also about taking risks. You can either go along with the crowd or not; but wouldn’t you want to be a pioneer and start a movement, living in your own path versus doing what everyone else is doing?
If you’re tired of following others, and not living in your path, let’s talk – contact us today at http://www.cyscoaching.com.