No matter what phase of life you’re in, you’ve definitely dealt with this.
Following the herd or herd mentality is something everyone deals with. During school, college, jobs – you always have to fight as an individual to not get influenced. If you’re not aware, herd mentality describes how humans tend to follow their peers, regardless of whether they like it or not. It’s almost like peer pressure but it’s a little more subtle and we pressure ourselves into it rather than anyone else forcing us.
As a third-year college student, this is something I go through every day. While deciding the future course post-college, I go down this rabbit hole of what everyone else is doing. Placements versus higher studies versus gap year and whatnot. None of these options is bad or anything, but without genuine interest, they truly seem annoying.
After a few mental breakdowns, I realized that I truly don’t want any of these and I was plainly following them because of my peers (I still am). I realized that there are other opportunities and it’s not the end of the world. I just need the courage to know what I want. Similarly, if you’re a person struggling with understanding your calling, don’t be afraid of introspection. It’ll always help you in the end.
Here are five ways you can go about avoiding the herd mentality:
Know Your Reasons
Whatever decision you make regarding your current scenario, it’s crucial that you know the reasons behind it. The right reason to do anything is never that everyone else is doing it. It’s because you’ve done your research and you know what you’re getting into. Stop and think. Ask yourself questions and understand why you’re doing what you’re doing. If you find that you’re following the herd, don’t be afraid to admit it. Take a step back and evaluate your options. There are always more opportunities than you think. Whatever you choose, know your reason.
Have and Know Your Opinions
Apropo of the previous point, do your research. Understand the information regarding all the options and form your own opinion. That’s how you learn. Don’t jump on the bandwagon because it seems easy and fun. Take your time- there’s no hurry for anything. Talk to people around you in a positive way to learn and build your knowledge. Make a decision irrespective of everyone else. It can be as unique or as generic as you want it to be. Just, make it yourself and for yourself.
Be Willing To Stand Out
I think probably the most common reason for following the herd is fear. We are afraid of failure and taking risks. And while we do want to stand out and do something extraordinary, we are afraid of everything that comes along with that. This fear is not worth it. Don’t stop because you’re afraid. Sometimes, you might be afraid of not being socially accepted. Trust me, social acceptance is a never-ending ride. If you do everything according to “what will people say”, you won’t be able to live your life. Be willing to stand out and be confident in your decision.
No One Knows What They’re Doing
Ah, this is imperative to understand. We tend to think that everyone except us has their life figure out. They know what they want to do and they know what they’re doing. Trust me, no one knows what they’re doing. It might seem like they do – especially online – but everyone in your group and beyond feels the same restlessness and fear that you do. Just that some people overcome it and some people succumb to it- forming the difference. So, if you feel inferior because others are more “put-together”, there is no basis for that. It’s all in your head and all a facade.
Stand Your Ground
The arduous aspect of not following the herd is to maintain your position. There will be plenty of times when you’ll want to succumb to what everyone’s doing because it seems easy. Well, the grass is greener on the other side. If you know your reasons and the big picture, stick to it. Stand your ground and don’t you dare change it because someone gave their opinion to you. Support yourself and be confident. Never waiver for the wrong reasons.
I hope this post helps you in changing your perspective – even if it’s merely one percent. After all, perspective is everything.
Thank you for reading till the end! I hope you make the right decisions for yourself.
Keep the individualistic vibes flowing,