“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” – George S. Patton
Picture yourself standing around with a group of people chatting about whatever. As you’re talking, you see somebody walk by that’s different. Maybe they’re overweight. Maybe they’re dressed differently. Maybe you’ve recently heard a negative rumor about them. Somebody in the group notices this person, and they start talking about them.
What’s your move?
Hop in and pile on? Much easier, right? After the initial comment, another person chimes in and says something negative, and others laugh. The next person says their part, more laughter. You don’t necessarily feel good about what’s going on, but in the moment you feel like this is okay. The person in question can’t hear what’s going on, right? Why not drop your two cents in and add to the fun?
So, what happens if you go against the grain? Maybe you decide to step in and mention that you don’t agree with the group and that they couldn’t possibly understand the depths of this person. I can tell you exactly what happens in this scenario. You turn the attention away from the target and put that target squarely on yourself. I’m not sure why, but jumping in like this turns people against you, and you’re put in a position where you have to deflect and defend. It’s pretty uncomfortable. So, most will go with the flow or, at most, just not say anything.
Think about the quote. “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” Every one of us has been in a situation like I mentioned, and most of us aren’t proud of it or our actions therein. I’ll admit to that. Now, put yourself back in those shoes. Where was your head? Were you too scared to speak up? Can you truly admit that you were thinking logically and compassionately? I’d venture to say that once that herd mentality kicked in, no one was thinking.
As we’ve done numerous times in this blog, I want to issue a challenge. The next time you’re part of a group of folks needlessly piling on an unsuspecting victim (or even suspecting victim, as the case may be), stop and think about what you’re doing and how you feel in that moment. Evaluate how you’d feel being on the other end. Determine if the emotional reward in standing up for someone will outweigh the negativity presented by going against the herd mentality.
If everyone around you is thinking alike, be the person that’s thinking.
Have an awesome Tuesday,