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photo credit: Chuttersnap @chuttersnap – unsplash
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” Mark Twain
Crowd thinking is nothing more than pressure to fit in or conform. When you think differently than most people, when you choose to go a different path, it is not easy. Society, in the form of media, schools, peer groups all seem to protest status quo thinking and embrace what is current or trendy, without considering whether or not is good, right or the best for us. When we go against the grain of collective thought, we feel somehow different (even if people still like us and accept who we are). We feel somehow isolated because we can no longer think like everyone else.
Choosing to go against the grain, to evaluate information, and measure up what we are taught against what is true may not be popular, but it can make the difference between living our life authentically, true to ourselves and living for others. It can mean the difference between living just to live for each day and living a life of meaning and purpose. The following information was taken from and inspired by the book: How Successful People Think, by International leadership expert, John Maxwell. I hope that this post will inspire you to be more, live a life true to your calling and authentic in every way.
Crowd Thinking Often Means Not Thinking
Crowd thinking is easy and safe, so we believe. It is easier to just go along with the way things are, with the way people are doing things. Why rock the boat and be different? Thinking like the crowd means going along with the current trends and general (collective) thought. It does not require any work, reflection or questioning. It means putting our brain on the shelf and letting it rest while we just accept what everyone else thinks. The trouble is, most of the time, the crowd is wrong.
Crowd Thinking Often Gives False Hope
Crowd thinking often fails to see the big picture because of the fact that it focuses on the now. It is a short term way of thinking that can not offer any hope since it does not have vision and wisdom. What has short term thinking done? Well, for one, it has produced the buy now-pay later mindset and has led millions into personal debt. It is a shallow way of thinking and does little to help us prepare or equip ourselves for the future.
Crowd Thinking Is Slow to Adopt Change
Status quo is the safety zone of crowd thinking. If it works, why change anything? The collective thought is generally very resistant to change and close-minded to innovation or new ways of doing things. And crowd thinking offers the same worn out excuses:: “It can’t be done”, “We tried that before”, Why change what works?”, “That would take too much (time, money)”, “Let’s just stick with the program”.
Crowd Thinking Is Average Thinking
Above average thinking is not found in collective thought. The crowd way of thinking has to limiting beliefs of can be done or of what is possible; it sets the bar low. Action follows thought and when the way of thinking is limited, clearly, any action will remain limited as well. Great thinkers, innovators and do not think like most people; they question and evaluate. they ask the question; “Why not?”
How the Crowd Thinks
- Follow the rules
- Don’t ask questions
- Don’t be different
- Think of your image
- Don’t be foolish
- It can’t be done / It’s never been done
- It will be too hard / too complicated
- We don’t have time
- Stay inside the lines
- Yes, but….
- We tried that before
“Chances are, if you are following the crowd, you’re following the wrong path.” Bob Proctor
How to March to a Different Drummer
The proverbial marching to a different drummer has some merit. Sometimes people explain odd (or nonconformist) behavior in someone with the flippant “oh, he (or she) just walks to the beat of a different drummer. It is our way of explaining away what we don’t understand or don’t really want to accept in another person. But how many people in the world have walked to this different drum beat? I can think of a few: Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Elon Musk, Winston Churchill, Crazy Horse, Socrates.. and the list can go on
Before Joining the Bandwagon, Think
Every day or week it seems that there is something new to believe, to do, or to buy. The information circulates and builds momentum until it becomes popular. sometimes people jump on the bandwagon without reflection. Do you remember the ice bucket challenge? There is an example of everyone following without really understanding or at least asking themselves why they were participating in something like that. Those who do not follow the crowd, choose to do what is best, not what is popular at the moment.
Learn New Ways of Thinking
Expose yourself to other people, cultures, or segments of society to see through their eyes. Be open to new ideas and viewpoints. You do not have to agree or change your own, but you can be open-minded enough to learn from them. Expose yourself to other people’snew backgrounds, experiences, and interests. It is very hard to evaluate our own way of thinking if it is not measured up against different ways of thinking and new ideas.
Re-evaluate Your Own Thinking Regularly
If we fail to re-evaluate how we think and why we think this way, if we fail to measure our way of seeing things with new information, ideas, and perspectives, then we are just choosing to remain in a rut. We are, in fact choosing to remain close-minded. Maybe what we thought last month needs to be changed. Maybe we were wrong. But how will we know unless we hold it up against outside information? If we are right and our way of thinking is good, it will stand the test.
Do New Things in New Ways
We can’t just stay on the proverbial sofa and expect to grow. Growth requires risk-taking. It requires gathering up the courage to leave what is comfortable and try new things. Maybe it will require doing the same things we have always done but in new ways. Maybe it will mean asking new questions about old problems. Perhaps it will mean using our own brain cells and creativity to challenge what we have thought to be true and right.
Be more. Do more. Think more. Act more. Action preceded by a thought. When we change the way we think, when we begin to understand why we think certain ways and consider where our thoughts come from or what the influence is, we can begin to get free from other people”s thinking and expectations and start living the life we were meant to live.
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Diana Lynne’s passions are family, travel, self-improvement, pursuing a debt-free/financially free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life. You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca