Take a little gander around your world. Just pause for a moment and notice if the people you interact with look like you, move like you do, post like you do, use the same words as you, agree on all the same things, disagree with all the same things. If that is the case, odds are that you might be moving in the wrong direction with the herd rather than supported by a tribe.
I have often been known to take the odd path, the crooked journey even though bumpy, confusing, and at times painful. During those seasons I did not necessarily gain support or even a “pat on the back”. Rather I found that as I veered off the “herd’s” path – I was often ridiculed for not aligning and conforming with what the herd wanted me to be like, look like or say. But for some reason I felt that the herd mentality was not my best road. It is true that I lost friends and even some family members but as I gained confidence I also saw my children gain confidence and my marriage survive challenges that might have tanked us had we not chosen to seek our own path. I began to realize that what I was after was a tribe. One that might look similar to the herd but with stark differences.
What creates the herd mentality? Fear. Wiki describes herd mentality as the “way people can be influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors on a largely emotional, rather than rational, basis. When individuals are affected by herd mentality, they may make different decisions than they would have individually.” In other words it is an abdication of your true self. You might just be handing the keys to your soul to others for the sake of peace rather than facing the fear inside. Yikes!
“Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.” ― Bertrand Russell
So what are some areas where we find ourselves in the herd? Some are super simple and some are more complex.
- Social Groups
- Black Friday
- What you wear and what you eat
Challenge yourself with a few key questions…
1. If you were the only one on earth. Who would you be and what would you believe?
2. How much time do you spend alone? Why or why not?
3. Do you avoid conflict even when you deeply believe in something to stay “in the herd”?
4. How do you spend your free time? Who do you spend it with?
If you find yourself on this strange but solo road, might I encourage you to stay the course and find your tribe. A tribe, is a community that supports you regardless of your differences. You feel loved, encouraged, and even praised for your quirks. A tribe is not fearful of you or your beliefs……..and you are not fearful of theirs. The big difference is that the herd demands conformity while a tribe celebrates your unique differences.
As you choose a tribe rather than following the herd, your trials along the road might be greater but it will be your road. It does not matter if you are 18 years old or 80 years old I have watched people begin to choose this new road at all stages and release fire of joy, peace, and freedom of thought. Find your tribe!