When too many people think alike

By kschilling

The Advocacy Network


"In speculation, as in most other things, one individual derives confidence from another. Such a one purchases or sells, not because he has had any really accurate information, but because someone else has done so before him." — J.R. McCulloch, 1830

There is a very high price to pay for conformity. The autonomy of group think is the most risky position in existence. In the midst of so-called conformity, one loses the ability to think counter-intuitively. Without freedom to think, we will make decisions without the proper input and research.

When too many people think alike, the value of critical thinking is discounted to zero. The essence of risk and gain are locked into the ability to analyze critically and ultimately think for oneself. Following the crowd rarely produces anything but losses. Standing above the crowd is where the rarified air is. Climbing that mountain to success is an activity that relies upon personal conviction, belief, desire, commitment and persistence. The crowd doesn’t create this value proposition; only the individual can do so. Of course, there is a need for strong mentors, leadership and teachers, yet they should stand outside those politically correct, misguided individuals who chase the collective of conformity.

Below is a story that can expose the folly of a conformity-driven mindset:

"It was autumn, and the American Indians on the remote reservation asked their new chief if the winter was going to be cold or mild.

Since he was a chief in a modern society, he had never been taught the old secrets, and when he looked at the sky, he couldn't tell what the weather was going to be.

Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, he told his tribe that the winter was indeed going to be cold and that the members of the village should collect wood to be prepared. But being a practical leader, after several days, he got an idea.

He went to the phone booth, called the National Weather Service and asked, "Is the coming winter going to be cold?"

"It looks like this winter is going to be quite cold indeed," the meteorologist at the weather service responded.

So, the chief went back to his people and told them to collect even more wood in order to be prepared. A week later, he called the National Weather Service again.

"Is it going to be a very cold winter?"

"Yes," the man at National Weather Service again replied, "It's definitely going to be a very cold winter."

The Chief again went back to his people and ordered them to collect every scrap of wood they could find.

Two weeks later, he called the National Weather Service again.

"Are you absolutely sure that the winter is going to be very cold?"

"Absolutely," the man replied. "It's going to be one of the coldest winters ever."

"How can you be so sure?" the chief asked.

The weatherman replied, "The American Indians are collecting wood like crazy."

Are you making a difference every day or just chopping wood?