Following the Herd: And Being Eaten by the Wolf!

I wish that I could honestly tell you that I am really tough and a “Critical & Independent Thinker” but at times throughout my life, I have made the mistake of following the herd.

Now, just to be clear – please don’t think I am doing what a lot of books and “Positive Motivational Speakers” do and slam the entire population and tell you how bad our society is and that you must be a rebel and sign up to their $10,000 course or anything like that.

When I am using the term “Herd”, I don’t mean to label anyone else.  I am actually using it as a metaphor for when I personally put my own opinions aside, forget about the concept of leadership and just “Blindly Follow” someone.

Throughout my life, I have had the “Painful Lesson” of not being Critical & Independent enough and have followed other people (often to my own detriment).  That is, I have made the mistake of:

– Political Agenda’s – Allowing people to use me as a “Pawn” or either trample me in their power quests in Corporations.

– Accepting some bad idea’s as fact – Instead of really standing back and critically evaluating what I am hearing, sometimes I have settled in with the “Wrong” people and have subconsciously accepted some really poor views as facts. This can be that of opinions of others to that of over-eating or over-drinking.

– Compromising my own personal goals for someone else – The big mistake of cutting my own goals to “Keep someone else Happy”. This would then result in me being more unhappy and then “Rebelling” against the own negative situation I created for myself.

– And Many More!

Now although I am being quite hard on myself here, I have some great examples of when I really have been Critical & Independent and made mistakes – but also in having some fantastic wins.

In one of my early jobs (when I was only in my early 20’s) I was actually told that I was to be kept in a job because “I was doing a good job and they couldn’t replace me”.  This was very frustrating in that colleagues who didn’t have as much responsibility (or put in my equivalent hours) were getting Promoted, Paid More and far more recognition than me.

I then realized that this company is “Taking the Mickey Out of Me” and did what most people do – look around for a better job.  After a year or two – I got this fantastic Marketing Manager job that ended up being the best and it really changed my life for the better.

When I resigned to take this job, they all “Put it Down” and tried to talk me out of it! It was very unethical in the sense but it confirmed my original thinking of them.  I suspected these guys were taking advantage of me, but I wasn’t sure.  However, when they weren’t getting what they want, their “True Colours Came Out!”

They didn’t care about my own goals at all, but they just wanted to “Shonk Me” as long as possible to stay in that job.

I sometimes think, “What if I listened to them?”.  This really scares me in that if I did, I can tell you my life wouldn’t be what it is today and the big break I took would never have lead to another big break and so on. Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting you should take the extreme of being a “F$&#*$G Know it All” and just ignoring common sense (as I have made some big mistakes too by ignoring others). I am just pointing out how dangerous it can be substituting your own common sense with advice from others who are in it for themselves. If you are in a situation where you don’t feel like your are living your own life or “Others are calling the shots” – I really encourage you to:

– Sit back and make sure you watch what’s going on.

– Make sure “The Wolf” isn’t going to visit you at 2AM in the morning.

– Think carefully about what you want.

– And Go for it!

At least when you make your own decision and take responsibility for it – you are living your own life!

* Many thanks to “manitou2121” from Flickr for the Poor Sheep & Wolf Pic.