People with a herd mentality tend to adopt other people’s beliefs, opinions, and behaviors rather than being unique.
But successful people stand out from the crowd rather than fade into it. They walk their own path and don’t allow others to lead the way.
It only takes 5% of the group to act like they know something the others don’t to create a herd mentality. The other 95% ignore common sense for the belief that the crowd knows what it’s doing. Even though following along might oppose their values.
Going along with the crowd is human nature. It’s a habit from long ago when we needed the group to protect us from predators. However, things have changed a lot since then. Today we can choose what we want.
Most people with a herd mentality won’t realize it.
So it’s easy to think that a vast crowd of people must know what’s right. Surely they know what they’re doing! Although, this is quite often not the case.
But if you make every choice by what everyone else is doing, you end up living your life for others and ignoring your calling. Then you’ll have regrets when you’re old.
But groups aren’t all bad; some are for positive change. However, the other larger groups can prove to be quite detrimental.
Instances of herd mentality:
- Waiting in ultra-long lines and even camping there.
- Brand name clothes and trends in general
- People stocking up on toilet paper during a pandemic
- Going through life blindfolded from reality
Furthermore, it’s much easier to get swept away in a mob mentality when you’re under a ton of stress—for example, in the year 2020. I’m sure if you look back, you can see how society was consumed with this mindset.
Why you should break free from the herd mentality
If you remain stuck in this mindset, you’ll lose your ability to make choices on your own. You’ll always look to others to decide for you, even if it’s not beneficial for you.
You’re much more intelligent than you give yourself credit for, don’t put others’ opinions on a pedestal. When you break free from this, you unveil your eyes to see the truth.
How you can avoid the herd mentality?
Cut out the herd mentality online
The internet and social media are exploding with herd mentality. You can spot the propaganda with any meme or post that spreads hate and has no links to proof. Never any evidence because they are all lies.
Wanting something to be true doesn’t make it so.
If it’s something you believe in, take a few minutes to Google it and read from several different sites.
Beware of the infamous confirmation bias
Confirmation bias is a cognitive distortion. It’s the tendency to seek out and consume information that confirms what you already believe. People will immediately reject anything that goes against their opinions. This skews their perception of reality.
So, if you didn’t like this guy “Bob,” then you’d Google negative stories about men named Bob. You’d ignore and forget the articles about good people with that name. You get the point.
Choose to stand outside of the herd in all your brilliance. You deserve more than following a crowd of robots. Choose what you actually like, even if they hate it. Do it with confidence because you don’t need their approval. Do what you want and buy what you like.
If you don’t have your own opinions, you’ll fade into the background.
Do some detective work (research)
Many “news” stations will say whatever they want because they know their viewers won’t fact-check them. Sometimes they’ll mix actual news with their opinions. When they’re confronted about lying, they say that their audience should know that they’re an entertainment show, not a factual show. Yet, most of their viewers believe they are really watching what’s going on in the world.
Kinds of herd mentality to look out for:
- Outlandish statements in the form of questions
- The words “might,” “may,” “could,” and “probably.”
- Segments fueled by fear or hate
- Disclaimers stating it’s for entertainment purposes only
- Pretending to speak the truth but never providing evidence
Be alert and aware of the above and you’ll avoid getting fooled.
Check out the opposition
You need to experience all sides in order to make an informed decision. It can be eye-opening to see what’s on the other side.
You won’t learn much about the world if you stay closed off from people who have the same opinions. Educate yourself about what other people think. Of course, you don’t have to believe what they say, but at least you’ll gain some wisdom.
The more you break out of the comfort zone of your pack, the more you grow as a person. You become well-rounded and interesting when you can speak from first-hand experience rather than assumptions.
Ask yourself first
Don’t accept others’ thoughts by default. Ask yourself what you think about it, then decide. Besides, it is the things that you want and prefer that will make you happy. Not what anyone else thinks you should like.
- Why did I choose my job, cell phone, clothes, car, political stance, or lifestyle? Was it my choice, or did someone influence my decision?
- What would I pick if I had to choose something else for all the above categories?
- What are the facts about these things? Can I find proof of it? Remember that if someone you respect says something you like that isn’t proof.
- Am I behaving emotionally or rationally?
Facebook pumps out a lot of mob mentality invoking posts. Before you share something on social media, ask yourself:
- Is this positive or negative?
- Do I have a strong opinion on this that is based on evidence?
Those who make a lasting mark on the world typically don’t follow the crowd. We’ve got to ask ourselves these things to be aware of what’s happening.
Be aware of your surroundings
Ask the following questions if you want to know if your group has been taken over by the herd mentality.
- Does everyone accept everything the “leader” tells them as a fact without question?
- Do they ever ask for proof? Or think critically about what they’re told?
- If asked, does the leader provide evidence, or do they expect the crowd to believe everything they say?
- How does the leader react to those who oppose or question them?
- Does the leader speak truthfully when things aren’t going well, or do they gloss over it?
- Are members of the group curious and explore alternate routes or ideas? Is this forbidden?
Don’t be afraid of making waves
If you feel like something isn’t right, speak up about it. The act of stepping outside of the group will shake things up and awaken others. You’ll prove that it’s okay to think for yourself. Who knows who you could inspire?
In short, the herd mentality can take over anyone if they aren’t paying attention. It can make you do, say, and think awful things. So, be on high alert when you watch the news or go on social media.
Even if you want these things to be true, take the time to find the facts. It’ll be worth your time. Make it a point to talk to people outside of your group to gain a more well-rounded perspective.
You can’t live an authentic, meaningful life by making decisions by others’ preferences. Only you know what will make you happy, and other people can get over it because it’s not their life. This isn’t mean or rude. It’s confidence. You don’t have to be society’s puppet.
You can consider others’ opinions, but yours should prevail.
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